What is the Pre-Academy Program?
Previously known as the Rough Riders Premier program, our Pre-Academy program is a year-round youth developmental program for ages U7-U14 that is supplementary to a player’s primary club whilst still providing opportunities to compete at the highest level in local and regional tournaments during the summer and winter months.

As the official supplemental partner of Long Island SC, a member of the United States Development Academy, the Pre-Academy offers a clear pathway to the highest level of youth soccer on Long Island.

Players who are at a competitive level following their time in the Pre-Academy program will be invited to trial with Long Island SC to compete in ages U14-U19.

How does the trial process work?
Players who are trialing for the Pre-Academy program will be evaluated by the Rough Riders Coaching Staff. Following the evaluation, you will receive an email regarding your child’s status within seven to ten days of the trial. This email will state whether or not your child has been identified as a player for the Pre-Academy program.

How many players make a team?
The Long Island Rough Riders look at players who we feel have the skill level and potential to develop into top quality soccer players. The players who are selected into the Pre-Academy are players who we believe can develop into players who will represent some of the best talent on Long Island. Teams are normally comprised of 22-28 members.

What costs are associated with the program?
Approximate costs are broken down as follows:

  • Training, Facility, and Program Fees – $1290
  • Uniform Cost approx. $80 (includes 2 Jerseys, shorts and 2 pairs of socks.)
  • Tournament Costs are divided amongst the players attending the tournament.

When and where do teams practice?
Team Training will occur on Sunday afternoons between 3:00p-8:00p during the fall, winter, and spring season. During the summer, teams will move to mid-week training on Wednesday or Thursday evenings between 5:30p-8:30p.

The Long Island Rough Riders will utilize facilities throughout the Long Island area in both Nassau and Suffolk County. All Pre-Academy Rough Riders teams will train at one of the following locations listed below.

Globall Sports Centers (Indoor) – Garden City, NY | Peter C. Collins Soccer Park (Outdoor) – Plainview, NY | Hofstra University Soccer Stadium (outdoor), Hempstead, NY

Who will be part of the Pre-Academy Coaching Staff?
Our coaching staff includes over 20 NSCAA, USSF, UEFA licensed coaches with experience ranging from the United States National Team, Major League Soccer, European professional leagues, Youth National Team, regional teams, and top-level college soccer programs.

What if a player has a conflict with training?

  • New to the Pre-Academy program will be our Individualized Skills Sessions held every other Saturday during the Fall and Spring seasons.
  • These sessions are not additional sessions but, provided to those who cannot make their regularly scheduled training on Sunday due to conflicts.
  • Individual Skills Sessions are designed to improve a player’s individual technique, ball mastery, and skill moves.
  • These sessions are 1-hr in length, separated by girls and boys, open to all aged players.

What is Winter Select?
The Long Island Rough Riders Select is a 10-week youth team development program that includes weekly training and tournament competition for players aged U7 to U18.

The select program is broken into Winter select and Summer select (Both 10-weeks) and is supplemental to a player’s primary club team. This program is designed to provide quality training and competition in between the fall and spring seasons. The training follows a comprehensive 10-week curriculum with its sole purpose to provide a fun yet competitive training environment for players to progress and develop the various soccer skillsets.

Teams train once per week with an assigned professional Rough Rider coach to provide quality instruction in a competitive environment for the committed player. Training is geared toward developing the technical, tactical, physical and mental/social elements of the game.

How does the trial process work?
All players must attend a trial or Rough Rider program to be evaluated prior to joining the program. Players will trial on an individual basis in small groups of a similar age and ability. Trial participants will receive an email regarding their acceptance into the program within 7-10 days of the trial date. This email will state whether your child has been accepted into the Select program or if we feel another Rough Rider program is better suited.

Are there additional trials or make-ups?
We ask that all interested players do their upmost to attend the initial trial date to ensure that we have an opportunity to complete the evaluation process prior to the program start date. If you have any difficulty attending any of the trial dates listed, please email with your child’s name, age group and the preferred program and we will contact you regarding an alternate trial date.

How many players make a team?
We have no set number of players who make a team. Teams are generally comprised of 14-25 members and each team is assigned 1 or 2 professional Rough Rider coaches as necessary. If there is a need to make a second team within an age group, we will look to do so.

What costs are associated with the program?
Approximate costs are broken down as follows:
Training, Facility, and Program Fees – Winter: $395 | Summer: $450 (Includes a 4-day team camp)

Uniform Cost – $60 (Approx.)

Tournament Costs contain entry fee + coaching fees (approx. $150-$200/day) divided amongst the total number of players attending the tournament. The per player cost for a tournament is approximately $40-70 per tournament.

When and where do teams practice?
Practice will take place during the Winter at one of our indoor facilities located across Nassau and Suffolk Counties. We primarily use Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds in Wheatley Heights (near Melville, Suffolk) or Globall Sports Center in Garden City as our main practice locations.

During the Summer our Select teams practice at one of our outdoor facilities located across Nassau and Suffolk Counties. We primarily use the LIJSL Soccer Park in Plainview as our main practice location.

Our Winter Select program usually takes place Tuesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday morning. Our Summer Select usually takes place on weeknights, primarily Mondays & Tuesdays.
A tentative training schedule is published on the Select homepage on our website in the lead up to a program start date. Once the trial process has been completed we will confirm the training schedule for all teams. While specific training requests cannot be honored, we do our best to avoid as many programming conflicts as possible.

Program Facility Locations:

Globall Sports Center, Garden City | Mitchel Gymnasium, Garden City |
Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds, Wheatley Heights

LIJSL Soccer Park, Plainview

Program dates (10 sessions – Training is once per week for 10-weeks):

Winter: Early December through early March

Summer: Early June through mid-August

Tournament Participation
Select teams will participate in local and regional tournaments as a form of competition. Team head coaches are provided a list of potential tournaments to enter teams which they will communicate to the team around the program start date to gauge interest/availability before committing to a tournament. Our aim is to provide each player with the opportunity to participate in at least 2 tournaments throughout the duration of the program. Tournament rosters will be created based on player availability. Player availability does not guarantee selection. Tournament selections may change due to coach/trainer/player availability. We also have the ability to add/combine with other players from our various Rough Rider programs and player pool. Tournament cost will include the tournament fee + coaching fee / total players participating.

Champions FAQs

What are the characteristics of a Champion player? 

Youth soccer players who are passionate about the game of soccer.
Individuals who standout on the field when participating in their hometown community soccer club.
Players who enjoy and are motivated to learn from professional soccer instructors.

Why choose the Champion’s program? 

Parents who would like to accelerate their child’s soccer development in a safe learning environment at professional soccer specific training facilities with certified soccer instructors / educators.

Are there tryouts for the Champion’s program?

No, players are not cut from the program knowing that youth soccer players develop at different ages.

How are Champion players evaluated?

The first training class is designed to evaluate player characteristics in a stress-free soccer environment.

How are Champion players groups?

Champion instructors place players in appropriate groups based on ability level, age, maturity/behavior and listening skills upon completion of the first training session.

Are Champion players placed on teams?

Rough Rider instructors carefully form teams to compete in the Champions Intramural Soccer league and concentrate on developing individual players who can transform a team based on their playing abilities, on-field leadership skills and sportsmanship qualities.

Do Champion teams play in matches?

Teams will compete in the Champions Intramural Soccer league and match play is incorporated within each training session.

Consideration of playing in outside competitions, including one day tournaments, will be assessed on a case by case basis for each age group.

Included variables to play in outside competitions consist of how parents conduct themselves on the sideline and if playing in competitive matches will enhance or discourage player development.

How long is the Champion’s program? 

The Champions program takes place during the fall, winter and spring consisting of a total of 24 weeks with 8 week one-hour classes.

Do players have to commit to the 24-week program?

No, it’s not mandatory; however, it’s highly encouraged as the training curriculum is designed to progress a player’s technical skills each scheduled class over 8 weeks through 3 seasons. (fall, winter, and spring)

Who are the Champion coaches?

Certified Rough Riders technical coaches instruct all Champion sessions.

The Champion technical staff includes coaches who have an education in childhood development, licensed with US Soccer, USC and/or UEFA and/or have played at top collegiate programs or have played professionally.

What are Champion players taught?

Champion players are exposed to soccer exercises designed to improve motor skills, physical development, individual confidence and the necessary technical building blocks for progressive soccer development.

Training sessions are fun and safe yet challenging to nurture creative play, develop positive on-field characteristics and reinforce a player’s love for the game.

What is recommended if a player starts between seasons? 

Pending a player’s ability level Rough Riders instructors would encourage registering for the Total Training clinics as the curriculum at the Essential Level is similar to the first few weeks of the Champion’s program.

Does a Champion player receive a uniform?

Yes, all Champion players are provided with a customary uniform.  Rough Riders Champion uniform consisting of one jersey and one short.  Additional Champions jersey / shorts can be purchased at a discount.

Champion uniforms are required to worn at each training session.

Can a Champion’s uniform be customized?

Yes, for an additional fee a player’s name and preferred jersey number can be customized.
At least two weeks prior to the first training session is needed to allow a uniform to be customized.