The AP program was created to bridge the gap between Recreation Soccer (Rec) and Travel Soccer. Recreation Soccer is open to anyone and AP players are chosen based on Rec soccer game/practice evaluations or try-outs. Most kids in this age group (typically 7-9 years old) are not yet old enough for travel soccer, but would like a challenge to compete at a higher level surpassing Rec soccer.
AP coaches are chosen based on their soccer background. It is imperative they have played at a quality/high level because of demonstration requirements when teaching technique. AP coaches spend a significant amount of time and energy encouraging technical development while also educating the players on different aspects of the game. They are introduced to positions (forward, midfield, defender), dimensions of the field, soccer rules and tactical awareness.
Advanced Preparation is strongly encouraged prior to travel soccer because of its introductory elements. There is an increase of two practices (as compared to one practice for Rec), occasional travel to Newport News and Richmond to play other AP programs. This schedule begins to mirror travel soccer commitments.
Conversations usually begin between kids, parents, and coaches to discuss the best direction for their child’s soccer development. Typically, players participate in the AP program from 1-2 years depending on the age and overall progression.
The Tidewater Sharks put a great deal of emphasis on the AP program because it is a fundamental stepping stone for long-term development.