The Inter Miami CF Academy presented by Baptist Health has several levels of development in place to cater to the needs of different age groups, from our U-12 through U-17 teams. With the help of our coaches and staff, our athletes are taught the Club’s values from the beginning. For this reason, the Inter Miami CF Academy places a special emphasis on our youngest group, the U-12s.
Starting from the onset, the journey through our Academy begins with the Discovery Program.
“The Discovery Program is basically the entry point for the Academy,” said U-12 coach Benjamin Applefield. “It’s a no-cost, supplemental training program run by our staff. The program allows us to work hands on with players who we have seen when scouting games or that have been recommended to us. The ultimate objective is to identify players who have the qualities to play for our Academy teams.”
From there, our Academy looks to develop the talent in our players.
“We’re fortunate to be in an area like South Florida where there are so many talented players. We’ve been really pleased with the level of our U-12 group this year and the progress they have made over the course of the season,” added Applefield.
Of course, these athletes are still relatively young, so there are some differences. Although the U-12s exist as one age group, they are split into two different teams for matches, and face different opponents than the other Academy teams. U-12 Head Coach Juan Carlos Michia explained these differences, and how the goal remains the same despite them.
“The U-12s don’t play against MLS NEXT teams, but other than that, our U-12 guys are learning the same curriculum and are being trained essentially in the same structure as the professionals,” said Michia.
“We try to encourage the players to show how much they want to learn, so they can eventually become professional soccer players.”
Although there are differences in the competition faced, the U-12s train at the same facility and practice the same routines as our other groups, all the way up to the First Team. By getting our players accustomed to a professional environment, we’re better preparing them for the next level.
Among the focuses of the coaching staff is developing players' character.
“We encourage them to practice our core values, like ambition, resilience, humility, accountability, commitment, respect, and teamwork” said U-12 coach Julius James.
“Our goal is to improve these players as young men, not just footballers. We know that these core values will not only help them as footballers, but also in life.”
All of these factors are instrumental to the growth of our youngest group. From the discovery of young talent, to their development in training and in matches against other local competition, as well as their growth off the pitch, the goal of the Inter Miami CF Academy is to ingrain the Club’s philosophies into the players from a young age, beginning with the U-12s.
You can follow our academy’s journey online by following our Twitter account @InterMiamiAcad or via Instagram @InterMiamiCF_Academy.