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Academy Game Schedules & Locations

For the latest version of the Spring 2024 Academy schedule, please click HERE.

1. How are the schedules constructed?

The SSA Academy Schedule Coordinator works with schedulers at other clubs to set up playing dates for the various SSA locations, taking into account factors such as number of teams and level of competitiveness. Home/away assignments will also be determined, typically by switching the arrangements in place for the previous season (e.g. boys at home/girls away in the fall, boys away/girls at home in the spring.)

Once dates are set, the Coordinator works on matching individual age group teams to opposing clubs' teams (U9 Boys teams A level vs A level, B level vs B level etc). In the event that SSA has more teams than the other club, the Coordinator will then look to find another club to help fill the entire SSA academy schedule.

Once match-ups are in place, the schedulers work on assigning fields and times to games.

2. Why do some teams/players have more games scheduled that other teams/players?

The objective of the Academy Schedule is to provide our Academy players with at least the same number of games as our Select players (9-10 over the course of the season, playing a minimum of 2/3rds in each game with the exception of U8 and U12 age groups that may have a 'hybrid' schedule of games and in-house scrimmages). Given the challenges associated with rescheduling rain-outs though (see below), we always try to schedule 11 or so games per player*, though this number may actually be lower in instances where teams decide to attend optional tournaments mid-season, since these optional tournament games will be counted as part of the regular season schedule, or in instances where Academy Directors set restrictions on how far a team is willing to travel or what day or time the games can be scheduled over a typical weekend.

With respect to individual teams, the match-ups listed on the schedule are suggested match-ups based on feedback from both clubs as to the level of competitiveness of their respective teams. These are merely recommendations from academy schedulers though, so academy directors are free to reassign teams/players to games based on the desire to try to balance out a season-long schedule. In other words, an academy director is free to reassign a game to a different team if one team has more games scheduled for the season than the other. Additionally, not every club can offer a particular SSA location an exact match across both genders and all age groups within a scheduled fixture. Some smaller clubs for example may not have a team in every age group, while other clubs may have more teams than the SSA location that they have been matched up with, requiring some SSA teams to play twice within a fixture so that all teams get to play on that date. As such, this may create an imbalance between age groups within a program, or across SSA programs, and mean that one age group may have more games than another age group within an SSA location, or that one SSA location may have more games scheduled across the season than another SSA location. 

*Given the pool nature of the Academy, the intention is to provide a certain number of games per player, not per team, and the calculation is determined based on a roster size of 10 for a 7v7 game or 12 for a 9v9 game, with each player playing a minimum of 2/3rds of each game attended. For example, if a 7v7 age group Academy program has 14 players, and declares this number of players as 2 teams at the start of the season, the club will look to schedule enough games to give those 14 players 13 games each. This objective therefore necessitates 182 roster spots across the entire season (13 games x 14 players), equaling a rounded total of 18 games for the two teams (allowing for 10 players per game roster), or 9 games per team across the entire season. When a team is assigned to participate in a tournament during the regular-season, this is counted as a two games for Academy schedule tracking, though the team will usually play a minimum of three games in a tournament weekend.

3. Why can't a fixture be rescheduled in the event of a rain-out?

Unlike Select (U13+) games that are team-vs-team fixtures, academy schedules are club-vs-club fixtures where up to 60 games are scheduled in one go. In the event that a fixture is rained out, the club will attempt to find a reschedule date. The factors involved are as follows:

A. Mutually-available date - Just because we have a particular date free, doesn't mean that our opponent does!  
B. Field space - The club may not have available space for 30 or so games on another date due to existing club events, Recreational program game schedules etc.
C. Existing schedule - Unlike Select, there is no obligation on either club's behalf to reschedule games. As such, some fixtures may not be rescheduled simply because our opponent doesn't want to reschedule! 

Please note however that rain-outs are typically taken into account by club academy schedulers when the scheduling process begins, in that season-long schedules are 'padded' with additional games with the expectation that some will be lost to rain-outs. It is the goal of the scheduling process to ensure that all our academy players play at least the same number of games (typically 11) across a season as their U13+ Select counterparts. Please also note that this applies to players, not teams, and that individual academy directors have the flexibility to move players between age group games to ensure that each player plays 9-10 games across a season, even if an individual team's schedule doesn't achieve this.

4. Why did my child's team win/lose by a lot of goals?

Matching club A's teams with club B's teams into a gameday fixture can be the most challenging part of constructing a schedule, and is often a function of educated guesswork more than anything else. As academy schedulers, we are often relying on information gathered before a ball is kicked, and one coach's perception of what constitutes an 'A' team can be very different to another's, especially given the 'pool' nature of academy and the fluidity of rosters. Additionally, since an academy fixture is a process of matching one club's entire academy program up with another's, it may not be possible to match up exactly like-for-like. If one club has an age group with four teams rated at A, B, C, and D levels for example, while the other has four teams rated at B, C, D, and E levels, schedulers have to decide whether to prioritize giving all the teams a game by matching A to B, B to C etc or by matching levels, going B vs B, C vs C etc leaving the A-level team at one club and the E-level team at the other club without a game! Overall, we try to match teams up in a manner that results in a game where the result is no more than 4 goal's difference. In other words, if your child's team wins 8-0 or loses 8-0, this should not suggest to you that your child's team is the best team in the state or the worst team in the state, but should rather reflect a mismatch on the schedules! Given how many games are scheduled across the course of the season, and the challenges with trying to find appropriately competitive games for all SSA's academy teams, it's bound to happen at some point unfortunately. As such, in instances where there is a significant mismatch, it is incumbent on the coaches to manage the game in such a way whereby the game still offers a productive developmental environment for the players on both teams. This can be achieved by adjusting the number of players on the field for example so that the higher level team plays a player down.

5. Why can't you separate these schedules by location/age group etc when posting to the website?

There are over 1,000 games on a typical season schedule, covering a total of almost 90 9U-12U Academy teams across the club as a whole, and, as mentioned above, schedules are always subject to change based on field issues, coaching conflicts, time change requests etc. As such, we need for there to be one (and only one) version of the schedules accessible by field schedulers, referee assignors, coaches and parents. If we were to produce different schedules for each SSA team for example, we would have almost 90 spreadsheets on the website! Theoretically, just a handful of changes to the master schedule would require revisions to be made to many of these 90 or so spreadsheets, which would not only be time-consuming, but would also open up the possibility of an error or omission being made when correcting individual spreadsheets. By maintaining a single spreadsheet, we can limit the chances of this happening and hopefully maintain greater accuracy across the schedule as a whole. To make the process a little more user-friendly, we've added a filter tool to the spreadsheet that will allow parents with a  basic knowledge of Excel to distill the whole schedule down to just the parts that they need themselves. If you are uncomfortable with using Excel, please contact your TM or academy director to request that a personalized schedule be created for you.

6. Why are academy schedules always 'subject to change'?

Oftentimes, academy coaches also have Select teams, so an alteration to one team's schedule can have an impact on the other. At most clubs, the Select team's needs are prioritized, since Academy games are considered 'friendlies', so if a coach has a change made to his/her Select schedule (especially if it involves a  league game ina location outside of the metro Atlanta area), there may be a need to alter Academy games schedules. While we also make a request to a club that they find alternate coaching coverage so the academy games can remain as scheduled, finding a replacement coach is not always possible, so in some instances games may end up being canceled unfortunately if there is no mutually-acceptable resolution available to both clubs.

Additionally, we always try to ensure that every SSA Academy player gets at least one game each weekend. In instances where a team has just one game, and that game is cancelled for whatever reason, we may look to adjust the schedule by taking a game from a team that has two games over the weekend and giving it to the former team so they still have a game to play.

7. The information I've received from the coach/team manager differs to the schedule posted on this page. Why is that? 

Given how commonplace it is for coaches/clubs to request changes to the schedule based on their needs or preferences, the version of the schedules posted on this page is typically out-of-date within minutes of being posted! Since the process to convert the raw data on the schedule into a form easily accessed and understood by parents is time-consuming, it isn't feasible to post a new version of the schedule to the website every time a change is made unfortunately. When changes to the schedule do occur though, this information is typically communicated to Academy Directors directly, allowing Academy Directors to communicate this information to the parents within minutes of the change being made. 

8. Can individual coaches and/or team managers request changes to a fixture to accommodate availability issues or coaching coverage issues for their particular team? 

Given that the SSA Academy program comprises of over 70 teams, and that larger academy fixtures in particular are often constructed using teams from a variety of locations where making a change to one game can cause issues for other SSA teams on the same schedule, we'd discourage staff from individual teams from reaching out to make specific requests related to their individual team. As such, the first step is to address the matter with the location's Academy Director, since he/she may be able to make adjustments to the schedule just by moving teams from his/her location around, or by arranging to club-pass other players or obtaining coaching coverage. If the issue can't be addressed, the Academy Director can then look to communicate with the SSA Academy Scheduler on behalf of the individual team to look at other possible options.

Academy Schedule Coordinator

Sean Chamberlain

[email protected]


SSA Blue (Marathon Park/Mud Creek):
Boys - Jack Coulton - [email protected]  (770-548-5862)
Girls - Sam Helliwell - [email protected]

SSA Black (Braly/Big Shanty):
Boys - Hagan Robinson - [email protected] (404-374-7071)
Girls -  Joel Sullivan - [email protected] (561-373-5665)

SSA White (Newnan):
Jordan Tant- jtant@ssaelite.com (470-452-1762)

SSA Yellow (Northside):
Cameron Grassmyer -  cgrassmyer@ssaelite.com

SSA Green (Cartersville)
Richard Foy - [email protected] (470-776-7101)

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