This player development philosophy and model is for our Division 1 Competitive teams. It is not for our AYSO Recreational League.
Our goal in our Division 1 Competitive teams is to develop the complete player using state-of-the-art training methods. We avoid the “win at all costs” mentality by focusing extensively on player development. We want to ensure the children enjoy playing the game and do not burn out or get injured because of being over played. We also prevent injuries in our Club with the use of proper training techniques that build lower body strength and teaching players how to play the game the right way.
Training at the younger ages is very important. The training environment provides the opportunity for learning while the game provides the opportunity for application of the learning that takes place in the trainings.
A clear focus on motor coordination skills is imperative at the young age. Players must be able to complete a series of tasks and instructions that involve balance, motor coordination, agility, technique, and psycho-motor skills. This can only be achieved through the continual repetition provided in a consistent and clear training environment.
It is important that all young players be able to attack 1v1, defend 1v1, and use creative thought process in the application of these skills. Too many older players do not have the skill set or the ability to attack and defend 1v1 with confidence. Our player development process will focus on this to create older players who are proficient in these skills. We use extensive active coach-mentored game play at every practice to teach young players the fundamentals of organized and creative play.
Footwork, agility, balance, and quickness are all a focus at this level through use of the Jumping Square, a unique device designed by our Director of Coaching, Jorge Espinoza. The Jumping Square promotes these qualities while providing an environment that helps to provide good conditioning.
Dribbling, passing, and striking techniques are the most fundamental requirements at these ages. Without these, the older player cannot apply the tactics necessary to continue success in the game. Through the use of a number of rebounders at every practice extensive focus is placed on teaching these basic skills in each and every practice.
Winning is not, nor should it ever be, the primary priority at this level. Winning is treated as a natural outcome of well trained players playing at an appropriate competitive level. As winning motivates players we ensure that the skills taught translate to successful play in games.
A proper league structure in which high level competition is achieved against like ability teams is imperative in the development of the young player. It is our main goal to ensure that our teams find right competition every week. It is the only way to consistently measure and adjust the growth of a young player.
Better prepared and developed players will compete better, recover better, and stay healthy longer in the game.
Soccer is a team sport. It is very important that there are enough players to play every game. A player will be removed from a team if they do not attend 80% of the games in a season. Please obtain permission from the Coach at least one day in advance if you are missing games because of an injury and update the TeamSnap Availability Status message accordingly.
Please mark Player Availability for your child for all the games that have been scheduled already in TeamSnap for the entire season. This will help us reschedule games if necessary. You should consistently do this as it enables better planning by everyone managing the team.
Be at the games 45 minutes before game time. If you are going to be late because of another scheduled event please call your Team Manager a day before, or update the Availability in TeamSnap with your reason for coming late. A player coming late once or twice because of scheduled events will not be penalized. All players that are coming late will not start the game and will likely get less playing time in that game.
Coach Jorge believes that the game of soccer, to be played at a high level, requires players to play with poise and skill in tight spaces when under pressure. Winning 50-50 balls consistently, having accuracy and power in the dominant foot and proper finishing for scoring when near a goal are essential skills. Coach Jorge has designed game-time strategies that maximize these essential skills that are the focus of all our practices.
The heart of the game time Offensive and Defensive strategies adopted by Coach Jorge are embodied in the cheer he leads the players with in most practices and games:
Move the ball quickly up the field. Avoid taking on defenders in the defensive half of the field. Recognize that at the younger age groups every ball quickly becomes a 50-50 ball. Make the decision to pass the ball quickly when under pressure. A bad pass upfield is better than losing the ball in the defensive half. This knowledge becomes essential to build plays from the back at older age groups. Give the team a lot of opportunities to score. Be calm and collected when near the goal and score most goals by passing into the goal and not shooting into the goal.
As every player is trained in the above skills and strategies, we have had games like the U12 Girls 01G Blue team in 2013 Fall where 8 different players scored in one game. This strategy is also so effective that our U11 Boys Premiere team has scored nearly twice the number of goals this season (2014 Spring) as the next team in the league.
Play a conservative game defensively and do not give up a lot of goals. Keep the games competitive, do not lose 7-0. Keep the shape of the formation being used consistently and commit to the strategy being used in the game. The defensive strategy changes based on the strength of the opposing team and the condition of our team. When playing against weaker teams we consistently adopt a strategy with smaller number of defenders, more aggressive mid-field play, and more forwards. When playing stronger teams, especially when our players are tired because it is their 2nd or 3rd game of the weekend, we adopt a strategy with larger number of defenders, very defensive mid-field play, with just one striker up front.
There are two games that stand out this season (2014 Spring) that highlight this defensive strategy:
If a parent is concerned about playing time for their child they should address the issue with the Director of Coaching, Jorge Espinoza (firstname.lastname@example.org), and CEO, Madan Bellam (email@example.com). Please do not address the issue with the team Coach, especially on game days.