Frequently asked questions
Who are the Albany Alleycats and where are they located?
The Albany Alleycats were founded in 1994 by Afrim Nezaj, originally as a semi-professional men’s soccer team that competed as part of the USISL from 1995-1999. Since that time, the Alleycats have grown into an elite developmental platform for youth soccer in Albany, NY. The Alleycats are a Non-Profit educational organization incorporated under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.
What is the mission of the Albany Alleycats Premier Soccer Program?
The Alleycats Soccer Club’s mission is to foster the physical, mental, and emotional growth and development of youth in the capital district through the sport of soccer. Through proper guidance, professional coaching and centralized leadership, each player will be given the opportunity to play soccer in a supportive and rewarding environment that emphasizes fun, enjoyment and skill learning at a level that fits his/her ability and desire.
The Alleycats aim to educate players both on & off the field through use of best practices associated with the game, and player centered, coach driven, parent guided soccer environments. We pride ourselves on respecting the tradition of our club and our communities, while simultaneously striving to innovate and collaborate in order to expand our knowledge base and practices with the youth and families we work with.
Who are the best candidates to play for Alleycats teams?
Any players who wish to dedicate themselves to consistent high level training and wish to compete with and against some of the best youth soccer players in the area are prime candidates for the Albany Alleycats. Any player who is looking for a premier soccer organization that is going to challenge them to get better during every training session and is willing to work hard to improve their skills are also prime candidates for our program.
How long do typical training sessions run for?
Indoor sessions are usually 1 hour and 15 minutes of field time. Coaches will usually hold team meetings (chalk talk, video sessions, etc.) periodically throughout the season. Outdoor sessions will typically be 1 hour 30 minutes.
What is the coach to player ratio for trainings and games?
Alleycats team training sessions will typically be run by their coach or a designated trainer. For the Boys and Girls Academy (U8-U12), there will be multiple coaches within the club who will be working with the players. The club will always try their best to have multiple coaches at training to help individualize player development, as well as instruct small group concepts.
Are there specific Goalkeeper sessions that players may attend?
Yes. Our Goalkeeping Directors, Alex Drambour and Shawn Willis will hold Goalkeeper specific training sessions throughout the entire season for players to attend.
Are players required to attend all team trainings and matches?
How will the training schedules be communicated?
Team managers will typically send weekly emails to all parents and players letting them know where and when their team will train that week.
What is different about the Alleycats Program’s Coaching Staff?
The coaching staff combines our area’s top youth, high school and college coaches who share common ideas about player development. Additionally, several of our staff have backgrounds in education, be that degrees or significant work experience. We strive to take that experience and apply it to our club philosophy and practices. On the soccer field that can look like considering what the proximal zone of development for individuals and teams is, or differentiating instruction by using small group instruction and push-in/pull-out models. Off the field, it allows our staff to be educated and informed on the learning strengths and needs of our players, and be in tune with the academic rigors that players are navigating.
Are all staff members licenced coaches?
Yes. All team coaches on staff hold a coaching license either from the United States Soccer Federation or through United Soccer Coaches.
Who are the Specialty Coaches in the Alleycats?
Shields Fitness - Joe and Emma Shields
Need4Speed - Mike Palmer
Team Training Sessions & Facilities
How many days a week will Alleycats Teams train?
Where do Alleycats Teams hold training sessions?
Albany College of Pharmacy
Lansingburgh High School
College of St. Rose
What times will each team train?
League Information & Tournaments
What are some of the leagues that Alleycats teams participate in?
What are the benefits of being a Puma King Club and an EDP Super Club?
What is the travel like for Alleycats Teams?
Alleycats teams that participate in an NL/EDP League can expect to play around 4 home matches and 4 away matches in a typical spring season. Those away games could take place in various locations including: New York City, Westchester, Long Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. Teams will typically not travel more than 3 hours for away matches. They may travel longer distances for overnight tournament
When will teams participate in league play and at what ages?
Due to school soccer in the Fall, only a select number of teams will play in an EDP league during that time. For the 2019 Fall season, our U10-U13 Boys “Elite” teams played in EDP while our U13-U14 Girls “NL Red” teams played Fall EDP. All other Academy Teams (U8-U12) will have practices held during the fall. In the spring, our U11-U19 Elite, Premier, NL Red and EDP White teams will play in a Spring EDP League. Other teams may be entered into local leagues such as CDYSL
Will Alleycats Teams attend Tournaments during the season?
Gear & Equipment
What gear will players be required to purchase at the start of the season?
White and Red PUMA jerseys
Navy PUMA shorts
Navy/White Striped PUMA socks
PUMA warm-up jacket & pants
PUMA Alleycats backpack
What are players expected to bring with them for games?
What are players expected to wear for training?
Will the club provide any gear for their players?
Where can I purchase all of this equipment?
Does the club offer different payment plans?
Does the club offer scholarships to players?
What are the club fee's to play for Alleycats?
2020 Fee's coming soon.
How does your club help your student-athletes balance their training/playing with their academics?
What does your club do to emphasize fun (which if not present is a major reason young people drop out of sports)?
The most important thing that we do to reinforce fun for our players is having coaches that build great relationships with the kids they work with and have fun with the kids all of the time. Having professional and knowledgeable staff is important, but we also look for staff that are fun and relatable to our kids. With that said, we try to inject fun in what we do in different ways systematically. Our coaches all strive to set aside time every practice to allow the kids some form of free play, and we work to make sure that training is competitive as kids have fun when competing. Our teams generally do a couple of team bonding activities during the course of the season, both when we are home in Albany and when we go away for tournaments and showcases. Every year our youth academy has a lock-in that our older girls get involved with and that has been a lot of fun for the kids and staff. Finally, our teams usually get involved in community service during the course of the season, and contributing to their communities has always had nothing but positive benefits to the community and our players.