Elite Juniors Program

MTA takes great pride in the high-level of year-round coaching and training opportunities that exist throughout our various academies.  If your child just can’t get enough soccer, then the Minnesota Thunder Academy might be the right place for him/her. 

The pinnacle of MTA is the Elite Academy which is comprised of two girls teams and two boys teams at the U13-U19 age-groups. Our elite teams consistently win the Minnesota State Cup and compete at the regional and national level. Our MTA Girls Elite Academy is the only club in Minnesota that is a part of Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) which is comprised of the top 73 clubs in the country. Our MTA Boys Elite Academy is a member of the United State Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) which serves as the top U13/U14, U15/U16 & U17/U18 boys league in the country.

MTA also consists of the Elite Juniors Academy which provides the opportunity for U9-U12 players to prepare to someday compete in the Elite Academy. The Jrs Academy exists in the various Regional Academies (North, East, South, and West) and players will receive a year-round training and playing experience. 

The focus of the U9, U10, U11 & U12 Jrs Academy is in-line with the US Soccer’s Best Practices. Some of these that we emphasize are:

  • “Care should be taken with players, regardless of athletic ability, to address ball skill, especially in tight spaces. The faster, stronger players should not be encouraged to use their athleticism to solve all their problems. Building comfort with the ball at ages nine and ten will provide them with a variety of crucial tools they will need as they get older, and the level of ball skill and athleticism rises.”
  • “Focus on the process and performance rather than the outcome…team may lose some games in the short term with this approach.”
  • “…a skillful approach to playing soccer should be emphasized, even though this may result in conceding goals or losing games in the short term. During the learning process, ball control and passing can lead to more costly mistakes.”
  • “The best path to truly preparing them for the adult game is not have them practice at playing the adult game; rather it is by giving them repeated opportunities to experience soccer in a more manageable form for their age.”
  • “The coach for this age group does not focus on positions, yet encourages everyone to take part in attacking and defending.”

We welcome you to contact our Jrs Academy Directors at any time with your questions.

North Academy East Academy South Academy West Academy

Andy Kaasa, East Academy Director – akaasa@mnthunderacademy.org

Rob Zahl, South & Urban Academy Director – rzahl@mnthunderacademy.org

Dave Alberti, West  & North Academy Director –dalberti@mnthunderacademy.org 

Tryouts & Rosters

  • Tryouts will be held in late July or early August


  • 2-3 times per week depending on time of year and game schedule
  • Training starts in mid to late August depending on the age group and will run through July 2014.
  • Click on your Region for training locations 


  • Fall Leagues will be played from September-October 
    • Fall Leagues: MYSA and or NSC US Club League
  • Summer League will be played from May-July
    • MYSA
  • Winter leagues and tournaments are optional and put together based on availability and interest
  • Tournaments
    • Fall- 1-2 events 
    • Spring/Summer- 3-5 events

Tuition & Payments
Players playing Elite Juniors Academy will need to make a down payment by August 15th for $700 to MTA, this payment is non refundable. The overall tuition for the Elite Juniors Academy players will be $1700. (Tuition page, click here

Frequintly Asked Questions 

Q: What if my child plays in other sports?
A: MTA has players who participate in multiple sports. Our hope is that he/she will be present at most team events. The cost is the same for players who attend all events and those who attend on a less regular basis.

Q: Is financial aid available?
A: Yes, financial aid is available.  Click Here For the Application. An application with proof of income must be presented to the Executive Board on a yearly basis. There are also opportunities for players/teams to participate in fundraisers.

Q: Do teams this age travel to out-of-town for tournaments?

A: At this age, most of our teams will get adequate competition in the metro area. It is possible that our top teams at this age may travel to out-of-town tournaments. If this is the case, you will be made aware of this at tryouts.