Last weekend the Seattle Reign Academy faced off with clubs from Mountain United Football Club and Coastal Football Club in Vancouver, British Colombia. The Academy sent all five teams, including the 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, and 1998/1999 born age groups. This was the first ever trip for the Academy outside the United States.

“It’s been a good experience all around as its given them a chance to get some team cohesion,” said Seattle Reign Academy technical director Tracey Kevins. “As I told them this weekend, we’re behind a little bit in the sense that we’ve got to quickly get you guys cohesive and gelling as a unit.”

The Reign Academy teams posted an overall record of 7–2–1 in the friendlies. While Kevins was pleased to see the teams earn wins, the main goal remains player development.

“The purpose of the trip was to continue to put in place our philosophy of how we want to play,” said Kevins. “It was a good outing as the performances [we wanted] happened on the field and we got results along with it, which is always a bonus when we’re in this stage of the season.”

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With two Surf Cup weekends and the friendlies in the books for the Academy, the focus now shifts from tournament preparation to training.

“We’re really teaching the kids across the different age groups about different styles of play, how we press from the front, and how we build up play from the back,” said Kevins. “It’s more really trying to get them used to our way of teaching and trying to cement some learning.”

The older age groups of the Academy will now head to their respective high school teams for the fall season. Kevins and co. plan on attending several high school games featuring academy players this season, but plan on taking advantage of the opportunity to focus on the younger age groups in training.

“We’re looking forward to this period now to really concentrate on the younger age groups,” said Kevins. “They’ll be going through a different phase in terms of their coaching and training…doing some big work on how they build possession through the thirds, and then how they play without the ball.”

High school players will start to return after Thanksgiving, in order to prepare for the Academy’s inaugural season in the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL). The league will run from January to July.