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AFC Lightning Henry County

AFC Lightning Henry County


The AFC Lightning Pre-Academy Program is designed to provide high quality training and development opportunities for motivated and committed U8 & U6 soccer players. This program is designed for players born in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

AFC Lightning Pre-Academy is the beginning stages of elite training for U7/U8 players. The objective of this program is to provide every player with a structured, comprehensive training experience. Our curriculum is both age and skill appropriate.  Pre-Academy is the stepping stone to the AFC Lightning Academy program (U9-U12). After graduating from pre-academy all players will have the necessary tools to play academy soccer if they desire.

The AFC Lightning Pre-Academy focuses predominantly on individual technical skill development. We de-emphasize short term wins and losses and focus on playing the AFC way and long-term player development. The program focuses on developing players who understand the technical and tactical topics that prepare them for club soccer in their later years.

Pre-Academy Philosophy

Our goal is to teach all our players the correct way to play with an emphasis on long term development rather than short-term wins/scoring goals.

Our philosophy is to develop technically skillful players who are comfortable with the ball at their feet. We promote a fun, challenging environment in which we encourage individual creativity.

We want players to be critical thinkers and make decisions on their own with little to no on field instructions from coaches and parents.

Pillars/Fundamentals of the game:

Technical Skills and Moves - players learn all turns, tricks and skills moves with both feet. Emphasis on repetition to improve proficiency and confidence. All players are trained to be dribblers first.

1v1 Attacking - lots of 1v1, 2v1, and 3v3 free play within each training session. We encourage players to use their skill moves in a game like scenario. Also to recognize the triangle shape and overloads in small sided games.

Triangle Support - developing the idea of supporting the player on the ball with multiple options creating triangle and diamond shapes. Encouraging players to play out of situations rather than just kicking it away or dribbling into pressure.

Critical Thinking/Problem Solving - we encourage players to think for themselves and solve soccer problems with their skills. Our coaches use guided discovery questions to guide players to the answers rather than just telling them the answer.


Duane Samuels
Director of Coaching
[email protected]
(404) 503-8024


When are Winter evaluations?
Monday November 4th

Who is eligible?

The pre–academy program is open to all boys and girls born that are not currently registered with any recreational or academy program.


Age GroupBorn on or After
Under 042016 (From 1-1-16 to 12-31-16)
Under 052015 (From 1-1-15 to 12-31-15)
Under 062014 (From 1-1-14 to 12-31-14)
Under 072013 (From 1-1-13 to 12-31-13)
Under 082012 (From 1-1-12 to 12-31-12)
Under 102010 - 2011 (From 1-1-10 to 12-31-11)
Under 122008 - 2009 (From 1-1-08 to 12-31-09)
Under 142006 - 2007 (From 1-1-06 to 12-31-07)
Under 162004 - 2005 (From 1-1-04 to 12-31-05)
Under 192001 - 2003 (From 1-1-01 to 12-31-03)

When and where are the training sessions?

We have a very competitive Academy program that is currently in season, that trains on Mondays and Wednesday from 6:30pm - 8:00pm.

Registration for our Winter (Indoor) Soccer Program opens September 30, 2019. Training sessions and games will be held at Red Oak Elementary School in Stockbridge.

75 Monarch Village Way 
Stockbridge, Georgia 30281

Winter Indoor Training Dates

  1. Tuesday, Dec 10 

  2. Tuesday,  Dec 17

  3. Thursday, Dec 19 (5v5 game day)

  4. Tuesday,  Dec 31

  5. Tuesday,  Jan 7

  6. Thursday, Jan 9 (5v5 game day)  

  7. Tuesday,  Jan 14

  8. Tuesday,  Jan 21

  9. Thursday, Jan 24 (5v5 game day)  

How do I register a player?

Players must register at

When are tryouts?

Tryout dates are mandated by Georgia Soccer. Academy tryouts are usually held in late May and several dates throughout the summer.  Tryout information and online registration will be available on the AFC Lightning website prior to the published tryout dates.

Supplemental tryouts or evaluations can be scheduled throughout the year for any player who is not registered in another club’s Academy program, all registered recreational players, or any unregistered players.

Who is eligible?

The pre–academy program is open to all boys and girls born in 2012 & 2013 who are not currently registered with any recreational or academy program.

When and where are the games?

Our Pre- Academy Boys and Girls teams will play both 4v4 & 7v7 format. All teams will play a mixture of games against recreational teams, in-house scrimmages, and other pre-academy programs in the Metro Atlanta area.

Games are typically held on Saturdays and Sundays during the Fall season from early September through mid-November and the Spring season from early March to mid-May. Generally teams play one game per week, although occasionally players may be asked to play twice at the same location.

In addition to regular season games, Academy teams will participate in 2-3 local tournaments per year. 

What is the difference between Recreation and Academy Soccer?

Deciding whether or not your child should play recreational soccer or competitive (“academy/select”) soccer is often a daunting task for parents not familiar with the world of competitive sports. The primary deciding factor that parents should consider when making the academy verses recreation decision is whether or not one wishes to accelerate a child’s soccer development in a professionally guided training environment.

In recreational soccer, the focus is most often on social interaction, “having fun” with friends, which often comes at the expense of instruction. In academy soccer, the focus in on teaching in an enjoyable manner that is appropriate for the child’s age level. Individual skills and team tactics are taught by high-level, professional coaches in order to more fully develop the child’s level of play. When it comes to playing at an academy level, the end result is young athletes that know how to play soccer at a much higher level than their corresponding recreational players.

What are the differences between Academy and Recreational coaches?

Academy soccer differs from recreational soccer in several ways, but the primary difference is in the level of coaching provided. Coaching is like teaching – it requires extensive knowledge of the subject and the ability to communicate that knowledge to young athletes. In recreational soccer, the coach is typically a noble parent with little or no competitive or high level soccer experience. Unlike recreation soccer, Academy coaches are experts in their field, skilled communicators and teachers, and are paid a professional salary.

Academy coaches are expected to create a community of players that supports the alignment of individual and team improvement by implementing club standards of play that are developmentally appropriate by age.  This requires continuous evaluation as well as a clear structure that is communicated effectively to the players and parents.


AFC Lightning Henry County
75 Monarch Village Way 
Stockbridge, Georgia 30281

Phone: 470-222-5171
Email: [email protected]

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