Soccer club restructures competitive teams

Move will make 'Youth Academy' less expensive for players

The long-running Bethlehem Soccer Club is instituting a new format for its competitive teams that club officials say will keep costs to players down and open up the program to more users.

The Youth Academy at BSC will replace the Premiere and Travel programs for competitive players 13 and older. Players will still have professional, United States Soccer Federation-licensed coaches, and still compete against other area teams. But starting this year, they'll all be paying the same price.

Before, every team had a different cost associated with it because the team expenses were split between the players. Players on small teams shouldered a larger bill, and were thus unlikely to grow. By tying the teams together, the club has been able to find cost savings, said club representative Bill Yates.

"What had been a very disparate cost structure is now leveled out amongst all teams," Yates said. "It doesn't burden small teams, and therefore the idea is that it will encourage people to come play regardless of the size of the team."

Club officials hope players from Bethlehem and beyond will do just that. Under the premiere league structure, players would pay between $1,100 and $1,500 per year. That cost will be a standardized $900 at the Youth Academy.

Setting that price point will hopefully attract a new group of players, Yates continued, both locally and from around the area. The premiere program usually draws 150 to 200 players, but the club hopes more families will see the benefit of the academy.

"Our goal will be to increase the size, but more importantly the quality of the program," Yates said. "Making the whole program more attractive, more cost efficient, more competitive, would be a draw for the greater Capital District."

The academy program is basically a yearlong affair. Teams will start playing in November at indoor facilities.

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