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Athena/Classic Program Overview


The Athena/Classic Program represents the highest level of within-state competitive club soccer available to players in the 13U age group and above, and slots in beneath our elite-level regional NPL and SCCL programs in terms of competitiveness. Southern Soccer Academy's Athena/Classic teams compete in the GYSA statewide divisions - Athena A through D for girl's teams and Classic I through IV for boy's teams.

Open try-outs for the age group teams are scheduled in late May and early June with players being assigned to teams based on factors including their preferred location and level of competitiveness. For more information on the try-out schedule, please click HERE. If you are looking to join the program outside of the open try-outs period, please click here. For information on fees, click  HERE


1. My child is in the 9U-12U Academy at the moment. How does the Select program compare?

The Academy program shares many similarities with the Select program in terms of typical game opponents and practice schedules (number of practices, the duration of season, and the year-long commitment for those joining through the May/June tryouts). There are some differences though:

A. Rosters are much more 'concrete' at 13U and above, in that the majority of players are assigned to defined teams through club-wide open try-outs at a single location for the entire age group and those rosters remain the same through the entire year. While there is still some occasional movement (using the Club Pass system), it is not as commonplace as in Academy where 'pool' rostering is much more typical. 
B. Coaches are assigned to teams and take their individual teams for all practices and games, which may not necessarily be the case in Academy especially if the player pool is large.
C. Different teams at the same location may not necessarily have the same practice schedule, unlike Academy where it's typical for all age group players to all practice at the same time and on the same field. Practice schedules are now set by individual coaches based on individual factors.
D. Game schedules are set by the state for GYSA divisions and are created for each individual team, rather than the typical 'club-vs-club' fixture in the Academy program.

2. My child is on the Recreational Program. How does the Recreational Program compare with the Select program?

Aside the from the cost, the Recreational and Select Programs differ in the following ways:
A. Select teams are coached by licensed and experienced staff coaches, while the typical Recreational team is often parent-coached.
B. The seasons are typically longer, starting in July and finishing in December in the fall, then starting up again for 13U and 14U teams in February before finishing in late May.
C. Players have to attend a tryout to join a team and the commitment it a year-long one for those joining through May/June tryouts.
D. Select teams will typically attend additional pre- and post-season tournaments (at an additional cost), while Recreational teams may only play a regular-season schedule unless the coach decides otherwise.

3. How are players assigned to teams during try-outs?

In the Select age groups, try-outs for all players regardless of their SSA location will typically take place at the same place to give all the age group coaches the opportunity to observe all players together, though this may change from year-to-year depending on a variety of circumstances and may not include all SSA locations especially if the locations are outside of metro Atlanta, in which case, separate tryouts may be scheduled. Players are then assigned to teams taking their playing level and geographic location into account, with as many teams as possible being formed in each age group with a roster size of between 14 and 18 being typical depending on age group.  

4. How are teams assigned to divisions?

As the try-out process nears completion, clubs 'declare' teams to Georgia Soccer, the governing body for soccer in the state, in the process requesting a particular level of play (Athena A - E levels for girls, Classic 1 - 5 for boys) based on the perceived competitiveness of the individual team itself. This information goes to age-group coordinators at the state who then compile divisions by assigning teams based (though not always guaranteed) on this information. 15U and younger teams will play a Fall and Spring season, with a break in December and January, while 16U and older teams will play a Fall season and possibly a shortened Spring season (to accommodate High School play).

5. Which location will my child's team practice and play out of?

SSA Blue location teams are based out of the Mud Creek/Tramore/Marathon area in Marietta.
SSA Black location teams are based out of either Braly Soccer Complex in Dallas, or the Noonday/Big Shanty/Adams Park area in Kennesaw.
SSA White location teams are based out of the Whitlock/Central Park area in Newnan.
SSA also offers programs in Cartersville (Green), Rome (Gray), DeKalb County (Gold), Buckhead (Yellow), Savannah, and Coastal GA/Jekyll Island (Silver)

6. My child is on a high school team. Is there a Spring season in Select? 

Not for the 16U and older age groups. For the 15U age group though, players will typically play a Spring 'friendly' season to allow for the birth-year split between middle-school 8th grade and 9th grade high-school players in the age group. Please contact the program director for details.

7. How much travel is required?

For GYSA Select soccer, the majority of the games are played in and around the metro Atlanta area, but since the program is administered by GA Soccer - the governing body for the sport across the state as a whole - teams may be assigned into the same division as teams from places such as Savannah, Valdosta, Augusta etc requiring occasional travel outside of the metro area.

8. How do the Select, DA, NPL, and SCCL leagues compare?

DA (boy's program only) is the highest competitive level of play for SSA teams, while NPL and SCCL are both regional leagues, involving occasional out-of-state travel ( with the NPL League sitting just above SCCL in terms of competitive level for SSA teams.) Beneath these two regional leagues in terms of placement of SSA teams is the GA Soccer Select league. 

9. What is the program cost?

For a summary of the fees for all our programs, please click HERE.

If you have more questions, please click on 'Contacts' and select 'Program Director' to bring up email and telephone contact information for the appropriate age group director.

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