It's been a long and cold winter, but it's been one of the busiest winter periods in SIGMA FC history. With the ice finally melting, and the outdoor fields almost ready for training and competition, it is a good time to recap the hard work and great accomplishments of SIGMA players this winter. "Like all the players and coaches I can't wait to get outdoors on our training home at Hershey to continue our work in training and for the players to have the ability to begin to express themselves in the games," said SIGMA FC Technical Director Bobby Smyrniotis. Teams have been training consistently since the return from Christmas break, working out three to four times a week at Wild Water Kingdom or Hershey soccer fields.

The winter months from January to April provide SIGMA FC's technical staff the opportunity to work with the players week in week out on the academy's philosophy from an individual and group perspective, using smaller spaces to develop technically in relation to the game. "There's a great deal of emphasis on repetitive training within our five pillars of training," explained Smyrniotis. "This is also an important time to integrate new players and our youngest team into the SIGMA model of development." The older groups have a very focused schedule in the winter. In the players month off over Christmas break they must be fit and follow a schedule to be at a proper level upon return.. "They must be sharp when returning to training in January," added Smyrniotis. "With three checkpoints on the recruiting calendar set for this time period it is a very intense period of training and match play and not much time to rest."

To that end, the SIGMA A1 and B1 squads had several high profile showcase opportunities. The A1s travelled to East Lansing, Mich. to face NCAA Division I and top BIG 10 programs, Michigan State Spartans and Chicago's Northwestern University. Following that experience, the A1s and B1s made the trek to Raleigh, North Carolina to play N.C. State University, Duke University, University of Mt. Olive and University of North Carolina in one of the top schedules put together for a Canadian Academy. "We travelled into the US on two occasions and we played some of the best that the NCAA DI game has to offer. Our visit to MSU was great playing two top programs. Our travel to Raleigh was fantastic as we got outdoors and played some the top ACC programs". Not many teams from Canada let alone the continent have the opportunity to play such a schedule of games. On our end it is a natural progression of our academy and the success our players have had in the NCAA game over the past 6 years with over 50 scholarship athletes and a handful of pro players". Closer to home the teams ended off the winter schedule participating in the Vaughan Showcase tournament at the end of March.

It's been a winter unlike any other for SIGMA FC, and the spring will bring more opportunities for all of the academy's teams.

SIGMA A1 @ NC State University

SIGMA B1 @ NC State University