Website Manager

Capital Area RailHawks Development Academy

Letter to Area Club Doc's

In an effort to communicate with all local clubs, the following letter was sent to all area club directors and officials.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

To Club DOC,

We hope this email finds you well and with your teams / club enjoying a successful spring season.  In an effort to continue to communicate clearly and effectively, we would like to be transparent about the program intentions of the Capital Area RailHawks Academy Program with you, your staff, as well as your club’s membership and the community.

Our goal within the Capital Area RailHawks is to constantly select the area’s premier youth soccer players at the U12, U13, U14, U15/16, and U17/18 age groups – regardless of current club affiliation.  We are aware that with this ambition comes a great deal of responsibility.  With that in mind, we feel strongly that our Academy Program is comprehensive in all aspects of total player development.

In an area of such quality coaching, the Academy environment complements coaching with the highest level of competition with and against the highest level players in the country.  In addition, having the affiliation and connection with the Carolina RailHawks Professional Team, allows the formation of a thorough player development pathway from the youth academy to the professional first team.  Since the start of this partnership, at the 17/18 Academy level, we have had several of our players training with the Carolina RailHawks first team, have played meaningful Academy vs. Professional friendlies, and will look to continue to place academy players into professional matches. 

At the 12/13/14 and the 16/18 level, this thought of placing players in the most challenging environments will continue.  We have moved several players into older age groups for both training and matches with the focus on their personal development, regardless of team success.  Players competing with and against the highest level players possible, on a consistent and meaningful basis, are the key to personal development.

As a responsibility to try to accurately involve the elite youth soccer players in our area, our staff will be evaluating players from your club, and others, throughout the next several weeks and beyond.  We would also be extremely interested in communicating directly with you and your staff about any players that you may feel would benefit from exposure to the Academy environment.  I have been very pleased with the support from clubs and coaches over the last two years and am hopeful that this will increase in the future.  Thanks, and credit, go to those individuals that have recommended players to the Academy.

We would also like to invite you to attend our Academy Trials in an assessor’s capacity.  We would appreciate your insight on player evaluations and we think it can be a valuable opportunity for you to see the level and environment of the Academy program.  This will also assure you that all players from all clubs will be given a quality opportunity to be evaluated for the Capital Area RailHawks Academy Program.  If you, or any of the other quality coaches within your club, would be interested to attend the trials and assist in evaluating players, please let me know. 

We remain committed to keeping the disruption of the Academy Trials to a minimum, as teams continue to prepare for end of year matches, State Cup, and other events.  We will also make sure that all Academy Teams are announced prior to the start of the Classic Tryout season.  With this structure, players and families will have ample time to make their choice on club affiliation in the event that they do not make an academy roster.

We will have the following dates for Academy Trials this year:

  • 12(N+S)/13’s/14’s               April 17th, 22nd, 24th

  • 12 (Del Sol)                         April 15th, 22nd, May 4th

  • 16’s/18’s                              April 17th, May 3rd

All times and specific field assignments will be provided later.  In addition to these trials, our staff will be at many of the remaining league games and State Cup games for evaluation.  Lastly, the staff will be observing players in their current training environments in the coming weeks.  We would very much appreciate the opportunity to come and observe your club teams’ trainings, if you would feel supportive in having our presence there.

Invitations for these upcoming trials will start to be formulated and sent in the coming weeks, as we are still fielding many interested players and recommendations from various areas.  If any of your players reach out to you about the trials, invitations, or the academy in general, please feel free to pass on my contact information.

We are hopeful that you and your club will be able to view this as a positive move for player development in our area and not as an arrogant assertion of the academy program above all other quality programs.  By placing our community’s best players in the most positive, challenging environment amongst the highest level players, we have an opportunity to explicitly impact the development of youth soccer players in the United States.  Conversely, by not putting our players in the most competitive environments, we can negatively influence player development on an individual and collective scale.

We greatly appreciate your time and will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.


John Bradford

Capital Area RailHawks Academy Director, 919-841-2209 (cell)