BYRAM - For over 25 years, the Lenape Valley Soccer Club (LVSC) has provided both in-town recreational and competitive travel soccer programs for boys and girls from Netcong, Stanhope and Byram Township. This fall, the club has introduced academy-style training for children in grades 1-2, and has adopted a small-sided game philosophy that is designed to help younger players improve their skills more effectively. Academy-style training brings all children of a certain age or school grade level together to train as one cohesive group. After completing training sessions, the children are divided into small-sided teams to play competitive games. The academy-style format allows the club to move players around between the small-sided games based on their individual skill and experience levels to ensure that the competition is fair, balanced and conducive to a fun yet efficient way to maximize each child’s improvement and growth as soccer players. According to Bob Lees, LVSC’s training coordinator, the US Youth Soccer has been a proponent, on the national level, of small-sided games since the 1980s. “The small-sided approach provides a better experience for children, allowing them more touches on the ball, more opportunities to make decisions and more actual play,” said Lees. “Small-sided games foster more energetic workouts with less standing around, since the children must play both attack and defensive roles during the games.” Other supporters of the small-sided game format include the National Coaching Commission, State Directors of Coaching, the US National Soccer Team Coaches for both men and women, and numerous foreign soccer organizations including England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, France and Korea. To assist the club in implementing this new approach, and to make professional training for all of the club’s teams more comprehensive, LVSC has hired United Soccer Academy (USA). based in Branchburg, to help revamp the club’s training program. United Soccer Academy has been associated with Lenape Valley SC since March 2005, when it began working with several of the club’s travel teams and older’ recreational teams. This fall United Soccer Academy’s trainers are working with the children in LVSC’s first and second grade programs on Saturday mornings at Byram Intermediate School. With over 25 years of youth soccer education experience, USA, Inc. is recognized as one of the leading professional soccer training organizations serving youth programs throughout New Jersey. The organization also provides guidance and support for all of the volunteer coaches involved in Lenape Valley’s program, utilizing its academy staff members Kamal Ali & Jenny Wartyz, including advice on lesson planning, implementing the plan, managing children and having fun with soccer. In conjunction with LVSC, USA has provided several coaches clinics, led by USA’s Regional Director, Paul Jeffries, that focused on LVSC’s philosophy for youth soccer at the various age levels, a guide to coaching and teaching, introduction to basic rules of the game, easy ways to demonstrate soccer techniques and making soccer practices fun. For more information about the Lenape Valley Soccer Club’s programs for children as well as volunteer opportunities for interested parents, e-mail to LVSCsoccer@yahoo.com, or visit the club’s web site at www.lenapesoccer.org.