Competitive Parent Info

Player Curriculum

 Player Curriculum

Under 10

Education Phase
Development of Individual Skills – Ball Mastery / 1 v 1 / Small Group Play

A. The Coach: 

Sensitive teacher, enthusiastic.  Must have ability to demonstrate and paint a good picture.  Older player as assistant coach; both must give encouragement.

B. Technique:

Basic fundamentals of soccer, individual skills, juggle challenge

C: Tactics:

Focus on individual tactics in 1 v 1 situations; play 1 v 1 frequently

D: Team Tactics:

Do not take priority at this time.  Focus is placed on maintaining balance and playing skillful soccer.  Players play a variety of positions and emphasis is placed on player development instead of getting results as a team (winning).  Recommended system of play: 3-1-3

E. Physical:

Agility with and without the ball; coordination; balance

 F. Psychological:

Imagination and creativity; fun; discipline; enjoyable

U12 – U19 Club, State and Region Curriculum Guidelines

The success of the Women’s National Teams Program is largely dependent on the quality of the programs that “feed” into it. True player development occurs when each player’s daily training and playing environment is of the highest quality. If this environment is consistent, with a clear vision of what lies ahead for each player, development is then maximized.

Towards that end, the National Staff has put together a list of curriculum guidelines for the U12 through U19 age groups at the club, state, and regional team levels. The purpose of this document is to:

• Educate coaches as to the “standard of play” and “expectations” for each age.
• Provide coaches with a framework with which to organize curriculum decisions.
• Provide for consistency, and guidance throughout all levels of play.
• Improve “vertical integration” for player development.
• Improve the quality of play on a national basis.

It is important to note that each player and each team is different. The following document thus serves as a “guideline” or “standard” by which players and coaches can plan development. Individual and team needs can therefore be identified and addressed. Individual strengths can be stabilized while deficiencies can be improved. Of course, an accurate assessment of each player’s and team’s needs are essential. It is imperative that each coach take the time to observe and study the level for which their team is preparing to compete. For example, each club coach should be attuned to the state level, state coaches should make an effort to observe the regional team play, regional coaches should be familiar with the age-group specific national team level, and every coach should spend time studying the Full National Team. In this way, a more accurate assessment of player expectations is possible.

The ultimate goal of each coach should be to prepare the players to compete at the “next level.” We hope this document will assist you towards your goals of developing more sophisticated players and teams.

“There are many people, particularly in sports who think that success and excellence are the same thing and they are not the same thing. Excellence is something that is lasting and dependable and largely within a person’s control. In contrast, success is perishable and is often outside our control?. If you strive for excellence, you will probably be successful eventually?. people who put excellence in first place have the patience to end up with success?. An additional burden for the victim of the success mentality is that he/she is threatened by success of others and resents real excellence. In contrast, the person fascinated by quality is excited when he/she sees it in others.”

Joe Paterno – Penn State University Head Football Coach

Under 12

Foundation Phase: (The Romance)

Development of Individual Skills – Individual & Small Group Tactics

The effect of the role-model is very important at this stage of development. Hero worship, identification with successful teams / players and a hunger for imaginative skills typify the mentality of this age. This is a time of transition from self-centered to self-critical. Players of this age have a high arousal level in relation to the training of basic skills. This is the “golden age of learning” and the most important age for skill development. Demonstration is very important and the players learn best by “doing.” This is also an important time to introduce and teach the basic principles of play. It is important to establish discipline from the beginning.

A. Coach:
Sensitive teacher; Enthusiastic; Possess soccer awareness; Ability to demonstrate or utilize someone who can paint a good picture (older player, assistant coach); Knowledge of the key factors of basic skills; Give encouragement.
Recommended License: USSF ‘D’ License or higher.

B. Technique:
Important to establish a good strong solid base.
Development of individual skills under the pressure of time, space, and an opponent.
Increase technical speed.

Dribbling: Encourage risk taking! Moves to beat an opponent; Keeping possession.

Shielding: Spin turns; Change of speed, Change of direction.

Receiving: Ground and Air balls. All surfaces, from a partner and on the move.

Shooting: Proper striking technique, partner serve from all angles, Turns, Cut backs;

volleys.

Passing: Proper technique – Laces, Inside, Outside – Short and Long; Crossing.

Heading: Self serve; partner serve -jumping to head, turning the ball; Partner juggling.

Tackling: Proper technique, in balance, no fear.

 C. Tactics: 

“Dawn of tactical awareness”

Individual: 1v1 situations in attack and defense. Play 1v1 frequently.

Small Group: 2v1, 2v2, 3v1, 3v2, 3v3, 4v2, 4v3, 4v4.
Play a variety of positions; Develop an awareness / Complete player. Basic principles      of play.

Attacking: Keep possession; Encourage risk taking; Take players on 1v1 in proper areas of the field. Support. Basic combination play (Wall pass, takeover). Promote attacking soccer.

Defending: Proper pressure (in front and behind); Channel player; Immediate chase.;  Cover; Marking.

Team: Team tactics do not take priority at this age. Focus is placed on maintaining balance and playing skillful soccer. Players play a variety of positions and emphasis is placed on player development instead of getting results as a team.

Recommended System: put players out of the field for the love of the game, without spending much time coaching a system. Focus on teaching principles of play as opposed to systems. If playing 8 v 8, then play a 2-3-2. If playing 9 v 9, then play a 3-3-2. Most importantly, players should enjoy the great game!

*A great deal of coaching/teaching within 4 v 4 games*

D. Physical:
All fitness work done with the ball, in partners, and in fun engaging activities.

Flexibility
Agility – with and without the ball
Speed
Strength
Endurance
Balance

E. Psychological:
Keep it FUN and ENJOYABLE to foster a desire to play (Intrinsic motivation).
Encourage decision-making
Imagination / Creativity
Increase demands
Discipline
Encourage players/teams to watch professional and national team games on tv.

F. The Game: 8 v 8 or 9 v 9 (Includes keepers)

Under 14

 

Formal Phase: (The Commitment)
Development of Individual Skills – Individual & Small Group Tactics

Adult standards and formal rules become applicable. The pace of development quickens at this time due to the acceleration of physical and mental maturation. The demands of skill training as well as training loads should increase thus provoking improvement in mental toughness, concentration and diligence. Awareness of tactics within the game becomes an important facet of the learning process. Players tend to be self-critical and rebellious, but have a strong commitment to the team.

A. Coach:
Strong personality; Soccer knowledgeable; Enthusiastic; Patient but demanding.
Recommended License: ‘C’ License or higher.

B. Technique:
Build on the base.
Development of individual skills under the pressure of time, space, and an opponent.
Increase technical speed.

Dribbling: Encourage to take players on 1v1 – Feints/moves; Keep possession –shielding/spin turns.

Receiving: Quality first touch – take balls out of the air/turning: All surfaces, on the run.
Shooting: On the run; On the turn; From all angles/ crosses, volleys.
Passing: Short, long, bent, crosses, driven, chipped. All surfaces, ALL on the run.
Heading: To goal (Shoot/glance), to pass, to clear.
Tackling: Proper techniques.

C. Tactics:
Increase Tactical Speed (decision making under pressure)
Individual: 1v1, in attack and defense.

Attacking: Keep possession; Encourage risk taking: taking players on in the proper areas of the field.
Defending: Proper pressure (in front and behind); Channel player; Immediate chase, angles of pressure.

Small Group: 2v1, 2v2, 3v2, 3v3, 4v2, 4v4.

Attacking: Keep possession: Support; Combination play: wall pass, take-over, overlap, double pass. Width, depth, penetration; Crossing with proper runs in the box; Simple set plays.
Defending: Angle and distance of cover. Balance. Delaying and pressing as a group.

Team:

Attacking: Keep possession. Play the ball away from pressure. Maintaining balance in the chosen system. Interchange of positions during the run of play. Encourage attackers to take defenders on in the final third. Keeper as an integral part of the attack (play balls back to the keeper). Players play a variety of positions.
Defending: Maintain good “shape”. Zonal concepts. Knowing when to “delay” or “step.” Clear decision on where the “line of confrontation” will be. Maintaining good “pressure & Cover” through all three thirds of the field.

Recommended System: the best system for player and team development; 3-4-3.

*A great deal of coaching/teaching within 4 v 4 and 7 v 7 games*

D. Physical:
All fitness work with the ball.

Flexibility – Static Stretching and Dynamic Flexibility
Agility- Coordination with and without the ball.
Speed
Strength – non-weight bearing, core strength and stability
Endurance
Balance

E. Psychological:
The game should remain fun and enjoyable. Players should have a passion for the game.
Imagination/creativity
Increase demands
Establish training targets
Maintain discipline
Encourage players/teams to watch professional and national teams games on tv.

F. The Game: 11 v 11

Under 16

Fervid Phase: (The Dedication)
Development of Individual Skills – Individual, Group & Team Tactics

This is a critical time in the player’s development. Many stop playing due to other interests, lack of success, shortage of playing opportunities, poor leadership, or other reasons. Players tend to lack mental toughness and self-confidence. They tend to be self-critical and struggle with their desire to be competitive or need to be more competitive. There is a need for attention and security. A great focus on team spirit, leadership and discipline within the team.

A. Coach:
Charismatic; Experienced; Knowledgeable; Articulate; Disciplinarian; Managerial know how; Thoughtful persuader.
Recommended License: ‘B’ License or higher.

B. Technique:
Skills should be mastered leading to artistry and improvisation: All under match conditions.

Individual skill covered during the warm-up, and/or in competitive situations.

Increase technical speed. It is important that technique is still highly emphasized at this age.

Strike balls cleanly over distance with accuracy under pressure.

C. Tactics:

Increase tactical speed (decision making)

Individual: Decisions based on thirds of the field.

Attacking:
Application of varied technical abilities in order to increase tactical options.
Aggressive attacking mentality in final third. Emphasis placed on predicting what the game will need next. Knowing what each player’s specific roles and responsibilities are lends to greater understanding of the big picture.

Defending:
Clear understanding of how the quality of pressure effects team defending success. Being able to take options away from the attacker.

Small Group: 4v4, 7v7, 9v9

Attacking:
Balance of needing possession and penetration
Combination play: wall pass, take over, overlap, double pass, third man running
Penetration
Creativity in solving problems
Mobility – movement without the ball
Crossing – picking out a runner rather than putting it in the box
Box Organization – penetration, width and support for every ball played in the box
Attacking as a group of 3 (forwards, midfielders and defenders)
Set plays (80% success rate: where we get: 1)Goal 2) Shot on Goal, or 3) Corner Kick

Defending:
Compactness
Cover, Delay, Dictate and Recover
Communication (Who, what, when, where)
Defending as a group of 3 (forwards, midfielders and defenders)
Enjoy winning possession of the ball and dictating the play
Set plays

Team: Clearly defined team tactics… how the team decides to play as a group.

Attacking:
Comfort with direct and indirect styles
Sustained possession as a means to break down the opponent’s defense
Understanding how to counter attack
Decisions based on thirds of the field.

Defending:
Comfort with “high pressure” and “delayed high pressure” styles
Understanding of zonal and man-to-man marking play
Goalkeeper as the last defender
Keeping good team compactness
Stopping the counter attack
Decisions based on thirds of the field and different systems of play

Recommended Systems: expose players to various systems using a 3-4-3 

and a 4-3-3.

*A great deal of coaching/teaching within 7 v 7 and 9 v 9 games*

D. Physical:
Fitness work with and without the ball.

Flexibility – Static stretching after training / matches.

Dynamic Flexibility – partner stretching

Importance of discipline for warm-up and cool-down

Agility – with and without the ball

Footwork – keeping the feet active when moving / playing

Endurance – Aerobic and anaerobic

Strength – Upper and lower body. Core strength and stability

Balance

Nutrition – Proper diet – pre-game, post-game, tournaments, etc..

Prevention and care of injuries.

Importance of rest/recovery – schedule issues relative to the physical demands.

E. Psychological:

Increased concentration

Leadership / player responsibilities

Discipline

Respect for the game

Goal setting

Vary program- Satisfy player’s urge for competition

Establish pre practice and pre game routine (as individuals and team).

Encourage players/teams to watch professional and national team soccer on tv.

F. The Game: 11 v 11

Under 19

 

Elite Phase: (The Full Bloom)
Development of Functional & Team Play

Fulfillment of a player’s potential depends on her own efforts, the support of her teammates and the unselfish guidance of her coach. She must be exposed to a playing and training environment, which extends her mental, physical, tactical and technical capabilities to the limit. She must have a sound understanding of the games’ principles and concepts. Players should show emotional stability when confronted with pressure situations. Demanding and challenging training sessions and matches are a must!

A. Coach:
Charismatic, well informed, up to date, experienced, knowledgeable, articulate, disciplinarian- No doubts about his/her authority; Managerial know-how.
Recommended License: ‘B’ License or higher.

B. Technique:
Mastered skills leading to artistry: All at speed under match conditions – Demanding excellence. Individual skill covered during warm-up and competitive situations.

C. Tactics:
Increase tactical speed (decision making). Increased pressure and competition. Having the ability to change and adapt to game dynamics, up or down a goal, management of the clock and flow of the game.

Individual:

Attacking:
A good deal of time spent in functional training environments
Decisions based on thirds of the field
Comfort in playing in the different areas of the field/team (back, middle, front, center, wide).
Confidence to hold possession as an individual and solve problems at the individual level.

Defending:
Clear understanding of how the quality of pressure effects the ability of the team to defend
Decisions based on thirds of the field.
Comfort at playing two different positions

Small Group:

Attacking:
Improvisation/deception encouraged
Advanced understanding of combination play and how to combine to break down a defense
Balance of possession and penetration with a purpose to score goals
Recognize opportunities to penetrate by a variety of means.
Attacking in groups of 3 (forwards, midfielders and defenders)

Defending:
Pressure, cover, balance
Control of the game’s speed and direction due to defending decisions
Recognition of double team opportunities
Defending in groups of 3 (forwards, midfielders and defenders)

Team: 

Understanding of lines and linkage. Positional and Team needs.

Attacking:
Comfort with direct and indirect styles of play
Combination play with tactical implications
Sustained possession as a means to break down the opponent’s defense
Speed of play: the game is faster and more physical
Creativity, quality of final ball to beat backs
Understanding how and when to counter attack
Serving runners in the box
Organizing the box with runners (penetration, width and support)
Decisions based on thirds of the fields
Set plays (80% success rate: where we get: 1)Goal 2) Shot on Goal, or 3) Corner Kick

Defending:
Comfort with “high pressure” and “delayed high pressure” styles
Understanding of zonal and man-to-man marking play
Goalkeeper as the last defender
Keeping good team compactness
Stopping the counter attack
Decisions based on thirds of the field and different systems of play
Pressing (when and where to pressure, channel and dictate defensively)

Recommended Systems: All. Based on a variety of factors (individual/team abilities,

opponent, field conditions, game management etc….). The US Women’s
National Team, U21, U19 and U16 National Teams predominantly employ 3 forwards
using a 3-4-3 and 4-3-3 system.

*A great deal of coaching/teaching within 9 v 9 and 11 v 11 games*

D. Physical:
Fitness work with and without the ball.

Flexibility – Static stretching after training / matches.

Dynamic Flexibility – partner stretching

Importance of discipline for warm-up and cool-down

Agility – with and without the ball

Endurance – Aerobic and anaerobic

Strength – Upper and lower body. Core strength and stability

Balance

Nutrition – Proper diet – pre-game, post-game, tournaments, etc..

Prevention and care of injuries.

Importance of rest/recovery – schedule issues relative to the physical demands

E. Psychological:

Increased concentration

Leadership / increased player responsibility

Discipline

Accountability

Goal Setting

Respect for the game

Self confidence, self motivation – goal setting.

Vary program – satisfy player’s urge for competition.

Will to win. Mental Toughness/Competitive Mentality

Establish pre practice and pre game routine (as individuals and teams)

Encourage players/teams to watch professional and national team games on tv.

F. The Game: 11 v 11

 

Player Development
LAYER DEVELOPMENT

WHAT IS PLAYER DEVELOPMENT?

THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE RAGE SOCCER CLUB endorsed by USSF

Our younger ages represent the most influential period in forming a sound fundamental base and a love of the game.

Continue to make training fun while at the same time keeping it consistently challenging and competitive.

Playing to win games becomes increasingly important but should never be at the expense of playing well.

Avoid the temptation to have your players BOOT the ball long and far in the hopes that one of your fast forwards can win a foot race to create a breakaway. A ball that is aimlessly kicked forward into a sea of opponents with the idea of gaining a territorial advantage is, at best, hopeful soccer. The style of playing incessant “direct” soccer, when a team always plays the ball forward regardless of whether or not it is appropriate to do so in that situation, does not develop players. Moreover, that approach has consistently been proven ineffective at the higher level of the game.

The “direct” approach should also be discouraged because it replaces skillful and creative play with an environment in which aggression and size becomes disproportionately important. While we want to encourage players to be “direct” by going to goal when the opportunity presents itself, there is a huge difference between being constructively direct as opposed to whacking the ball forward all the time.

Playing well means playing intelligent, patient, controlled game in which skill, mobility, and precision are emphasized and applied at speed. A precise pass to a well-timed purposeful run that culminates in a shot on goal is one of the most exciting actions in any sport.

Only if we teach and give our young players the freedom to make choices during the run of play will they be able to fulfill their potential.

Hard though it may be, refrain from bellowing at your players to “shoot it” or “pass it.” A “wrong” decision by a player is better than a “right” decision by a coach. After the game is the time to discuss why a player made a specific choice in a specific situation. But during the game it must be left to the players to think for themselves.

- Rage Technical Staff

THE FOUR PHASES OF PLAYER DEVELOPMENT

The curriculum for developing player skills must be appropriate for each age level.

The success of the U.S. Women’s National Team program is largely dependent on the quality of the programs that feed into it. True player development occurs when each player’s daily training and playing environment is of the highest quality. If this environment is consistent, with a clear vision of what lies ahead for each player, development is then maximized.

Toward that end, the National Team staff has put together a list of curriculum guidelines for the U-12 through U-19 age groups at the club, state and regional team levels. The purpose is to:

• Educate coaches as to the standard of play and expectations for each age.
• Provide coaches with a framework with which to organize curriculum decisions.
• Provide for consistency, with guidance through all levels of play.
• Improve “vertical integration: for player development.
• Improve the quality of play on a national basis.

It is important to note that each player and each team is different. The following document thus serves as a guideline or standard by which players and coaches can plan development. Individual and team needs can therefore be identified and addressed. Individual strengths can be stabilized while deficiencies can be improved. Of course, an accurate assessment of each player’s and team’s needs are essential.

It is imperative that each coach take the time to observe and study the level for which the team is preparing to compete. For example, each club coach should be attuned to the state level, state coaches should make an effort to observe the regional team play. Regional coaches should be familiar with the age-group specific national team level, and every coach should spend time studying the full National Team. In this way, a more accurate assessment of player expectations is possible.

The ultimate goal of each coach should be to prepare the players to compete at the next level. This document can help coaches towards their goals of developing more sophisticated players and teams.

FOUNDATION PHASE: THE ROMANCE (U-11 and U-12)

Development of individual skills – individual and small group tactics:

The effect of the role model is very important at this stage of development. Hero worship, identification with successful teams and players and a hunger for imaginative skills typify the mentality of this age. This is a time of transition from self-centered to self-critical. Players of this age have a high arousal level in relation to the training of basic skills. This is the “golden age of learning” and the most important age for skill development. Demonstration is very important time to introduce and teach the basic principles of play. It is important to establish discipline from beginning.

Coach must be:

A sensitive teacher, enthusiastic, possess soccer awareness, ability to demonstrate or utilize someone who can paint a good picture (older player, assistant coach), knowledge of the key factors of basic skills, give encouragement.

Tehnique:

It is important to establish a good strong solid base. The coach must develop individual skills under the pressure of time, space and an opponent and increase technical speed:

• Dribbling: Encourage risk taking. Teach moves to beat an opponent and to keep possession.
• Shielding: Spin turns, change of speed, change of direction.
• Receiving: Ground and air balls – all surfaces from a partner and on the move.
• Shooting: Proper striking technique, partner serve from all angles, turns, cut backs, volleys.
• Passing: Emphasize the proper technique by using the laces; inside and outside of the foot and short and long crossing.
• Heading: Start with self serve, then add a partner to serve. Teach jumping to head, turning the ball and partner juggling.
• Tackling: Teach the proper technique with emphasis on balance and having no fear.

Tactics:
The dawn of tactical awareness
• Individual: Start with 1 v. 1 situations in attack and defense. Play 1 v. 1 frequently.
• Small Group: Continue with 2 v. 1, 2 v. 2, 3 v. 1, 3 v. 2, 3 v. 3, 4 v. 2, 4 v. 3, 4 v. 4.
• Positions: Players must play a variety of positions. They must develop an awareness of the game. Emphasize the complete player and the basic principles of play.
• Attacking: Encourage keeping possession and risk taking. Have players take opponents on 1 v 1 in proper areas of the field. Teach the concept of support, basic combination play (wall pass, takeover). Promote attacking soccer.
• Defending: Emphasize the proper pressure both in front and behind. Teach the concepts of channeling the player, immediate chase, cover and marking.
• Team: Team tactics do not take priority at this age. Focus is placed on maintaining balance and playing skillful soccer. Players play a variety of positions and emphasis is placed on player development instead of getting results as a team.
• System: Put players out on the field for the love of the game, without spending much time coaching a system. Focus on teaching principles of play as opposed to systems. If playing 8 v.8, then play a 2-3-2. If playing 9 v. 9, play 3-3-2. Most importantly, players should enjoy the great game.
Note: a great deal of coaching/teaching within 4 v. 4 games

Physical:

All fitness work should be done with the ball, with partners, and using fun and engaging activities. Physical activities should include the following components:
• Flexibility
• Agility with and without the ball
• Speed
• Strength
• Endurance
• Balance

Psychological:
• Keep it fun and enjoyable to foster a desire to play (intrinsic motivation)
• Encourage decision-making
• Imagination/creativity
• Increase demands in training
• Emphasize discipline
• Encourage players/teams to watch professional and National Team games on television

The Game:
• 8 v. 8 or 9 v. 9 (includes keepers)

FORMAL PHASE: THE COMMITMENT (U-13 and U-14)

Development of individual skills – individual and small group tactics:

Adult standards and formal rules become applicable. The pace of development quickens at this time due to the acceleration of physical and mental maturation. The demands of skill training as well as training loads should increase, thus provoking improvement with mental toughness, concentration and diligence. Awareness of tactics within the game becomes an important facet of the learning process. Players tend to be self-critical and rebellious, but have a strong commitment to the team.

Coach must be:

A strong personality with some soccer knowledge. The coach should be enthusiastic and patient but demanding.

Technique:
• Build on the base.
• Emphasize the development of individual skills under the pressure of time, space, and an opponent.
• Continue to increase technical speed.
• Dribbling: Encourage the players to take opponents on 1 v. 1. Teach feints/moves, how to keep possession, how to shield and spin turns.
• Receiving: Emphasize a quality first touch. Have players take balls out of the air and work on turning. Players should use all surfaces and learn to receive the ball on the run.
• Shooting: Work on shooting on the run, on the turn, from all angles, from crosses and from volleys.
• Passing: Work on short, long, bent, crossed, driven and chipped using all surfaces. All should be learned on the run.
• Heading: Work on going to goal (shoot/glance), to pass and to clear.
• Tackling: Emphasize the proper techniques.

Tactics:
• Increase tactical speed (decision making under pressure).
• Individual: Work on 1 v. 1, in attack and defense.
 In attack: Teach players to keep possession but encourage risk taking and taking players on in the proper areas of the field.
 In defense: Teach how to apply proper pressure (in front and behind), how to channel players, when to use immediate chase and how to use angles of pressure.
• Small Group: Continue with 2 v. 1, 2 v. 2, 3 v. 2, 3 v. 3, 4 v. 2, and 4 v. 4.
 In attack: Teach to keep possession, support, combination play (including the wall pass, takeover, overlap, the double pass). Introduce the concepts of width, depth and penetration. Begin work on crossing with proper runs in the box. Start to demonstrate simple set plays.
 In defense: Players should be introduced to angle and distance of cover, defensive balance, delay and pressing as a group.
• Team:
 In the attack: Teach players how to keep possession and how to play the ball away from pressure. They should know how to maintain balance in the chosen system. Introduce interchange of positions during the run of play. Encourage attackers to take defenders on in the final third. The keeper becomes an integral part of the attack (play balls back to the keeper). Players should still play a variety of positions.
In defense: Players should learn to maintain good “shape.” Zonal concepts should be introduced and should include knowing when to “delay” or “step.” Clear decision on where the “line of confrontation” should be is important at this level. Coaches should teach how to maintain good pressure and cover in all three thirds of the field.
• System: The recommended system for player and team development is a 3-4-3.
Note: There should be a great deal of coaching/teaching in 4 v. 4 and 7 v. 7 games.
Physical:
• All fitness work should be done with the ball
• Flexibility – static stretching and dynamic flexibility
• Agility – coordination with and without the ball
• Speed
• Strength – non-weight bearing, core strength and stability
• Endurance
• Balance

Psychological:
• The game should remain fun and enjoyable. Players should have a passion for the game
• Imagination/creativity
• Increase demands
• Establish training targets
• Maintain discipline
• Encourage players/teams to watch professional and National Team games on television

The Game:
• 11 v. 11

FERVID PHASE: THE DEDICATION (U-15 and U-16)

Development of individual skills – individual, group and team tactics:

This is a critical time in the player’s development. Many stop playing due to other interests, lack of success, shortage of playing opportunities, poor leadership or other reasons. Players tend to lack mental toughness and self-confidence. They tend to be self-critical and struggle with their desire to be competitive or need to be more competitive. There is a need for attention and security. A great focus on team spirit, leadership and discipline within the team.

Coach must be:
Charismatic, experienced, knowledgeable, articulate, a disciplinarian, have managerial know-how, a thoughtful persuader.

Technique:
• Skills should be mastered leading to artistry and improvisation, all under match conditions.
• Individual skill covered during the warm-up and/or in competitive situations.
• Increase technical speed. It is important that technique is still highly emphasized at this age.
• Strike balls cleanly over distance with accuracy under pressure.

Tactics:
• Increase tactical speed (decision making)
• Individual: Decisions based on thirds of the field.
 In attack: There must be an application of varied technical abilities in order to increase tactical options. There must be an aggressive attacking mentality in final third. Emphasis should be placed on predicting what the game will need next. Knowing what each player’s specific roles and responsibilities are lends to greater understanding of the big picture.
 In defense: There should be a clear understanding of how the quality of pressure affects team defending success. There must be an ability to take options away from the attacker.

• Small group: 4 v. 4, 7 v. 7, 9 v. 9
 In attack: Players must understand the balance of needing possession and penetration. Continued work on combination play (wall pass, takeover, overlap, double pass, third player running etc.). Playing for penetration and creativity in solving problems becomes important.

• Mobility – movement without the ball
• Crossing – picking out a runner rather than putting it in the box
• Box organization – penetration, width and support for every ball played in the box
• Attacking as a group of three (forwards, midfielders and defenders)
• Set plays (80 percent success rate: where we get:
• goal; 2) shot on goal, or 3) corner kick

In defense:
• Compactness
• Cover, delay, dictate and recover
• Communication (who, what, when, where)
• Defending as a group of three (forwards, midfielders and defenders)
• Enjoy winning possession of the ball and dictating the play
• Set plays

• Team: Clearly defined team tactics, how the team decides to play as a group.
 In attack:
 Comfort with direct and indirect styles
 Sustained possession as a means to bread down the opponent’s defense
 Understanding how to counterattack
 Decisions based on thirds of the field

 In defense:
• Comfort with “high pressure” and “delayed high pressure” styles
• Understanding of zonal and man-to-man marking play
• Goalkeeper as the last defender
• Keeping good team compactness
• Stopping the counterattack
• Decisions based on thirds of the field and different systems of play

System: The recommended system to expose players to various systems using 3-4-3 and 4-3-3.
Note: A great deal of coaching/teaching within 7 v. 7 and 9 v. 9 games.

Physical:
• Fitness should take place with and without the ball.
Flexibility – static stretching after training/matches.
 Dynamic flexibility – partner stretching
 Importance of discipline for warm-up and cool-down
 Agility – with and without the ball
 Footwork – keeping the feet active when moving/playing
 Endurance – aerobic and anaerobic
 Strength – Upper and lower body. Core strength and stability
 Balance
 Nutrition – proper diet pre-game, post-game, at tournaments
 Prevention and care of injuries
 Importance of rest/recovery – schedule issues relative to the physical demands

Psychological:
• Leadership/player responsibilities
• Discipline
• Respect for the game
• Goal setting
• Vary program – satisfy players’ urge for competition
• Establish pre-practice and pre-game routine (as individuals and team).
• Encourage players/teams to watch professional and National Team soccer

The Game:
• 11 v. 11

ELITE PHASE: THE FULL BLOOM (U-17, U-18 and U-19)

Development of functional and team play:

Fulfillment of a player’s potential depends on his or her own efforts, the support of teammates and the unselfish guidance of her coach. He or she must be exposed to a playing and training environment, which extends her mental, physical, tactical and technical capabilities to the limit. He or she must have a sound understanding of the game’s principles and concepts. Players should show emotional stability when confronted with pressure situations. Demanding and challenging training sessions and matches are a must.

Coach must be:
Charismatic, well informed, up to date, experienced, knowledgeable, articulate, a disciplinarian. No doubts abut his/her authority, managerial know-how.

Technique:
• Mastered skills leading to artistry. All at speed under match conditions, demanding excellence. Individual skill covered during warm-up and competitive situations.

Tactics:
• Increase tactical speed (decision-making) with increased pressure and competition. Having the ability to change and adapt to game dynamics, up or down a goal, management of the clock and flow of the game.

 Individual:
 In attack: A good deal of time spent in functional training environments.
• Decisions based on thirds of the field.
• Comfort in playing in the different areas of the field/team (back, middle, front, center, wide).
• Confidence to hold possession as an individual.
• Solve problems at the individual level.
In defense: Clear understanding of how the quality of pressure affects the ability of the team to defend.
• Decisions based on thirds of the field.
• Comfort at playing two different positions.

• Small group:
 In attack:
• Improvisation/deception encouraged
• Advanced understanding of combination play and how to combine to break down a defense.
• Balance of possession and penetration with a purpose to score goals.
• Recognize opportunities to penetrate by a variety of means.
• Attacking in groups of three (forwards, midfielders and defenders)
 In defense:
• Pressure, cover, balance
• Control of the game’s speed and direction due to defending decisions.
• Recognition of double team opportunities.
• Defending in groups of three (forwards, midfielders and defenders)
• Team: Understanding of lines and linkage between lines. Understand positional and team needs.
 In attack:
• Comfort with direct and indirect styles of play.
• Combination play with tactical implications.
• Sustained possession as a means to break down the opponent’s defense.
• Speed of play; the game is faster and more physical.
• Creativity, quality of final ball to beat backs.
• Understanding how and when to counterattack.
• Serving runners in the box.
 In defense:
• Comfort with “high pressure” and “delayed high pressure” styles.
• Understanding of zonal and man-to-man marking play.
• Goalkeeper as the last defender.
• Keeping good team compactness.
• Stopping the counterattack.
• Decisions based on thirds of the field and different systems of play.
• Pressing (when and where to pressure, channel and dictate defensively).
• Systems: The recommended system – all. Based on a variety of factors (individual/team abilities, opponent, field conditions, game management etc.). The Women’s National Team, U-21, U-19 and U-16 National Teams predominantly employ three forwards using a 3-4-3 and 4-3-3 system.
Note: A great deal of coaching/teaching within 9 v. 9 and 11 v. 11 games.

Physical:
• Fitness work with and without the ball.
• Flexibility – static stretching after training/matches.
• Dynamic flexibility – partner stretching.
• Importance of discipline for warm-up and cool-down.
• Agility – with and without the ball.
• Endurance – aerobic and anaerobic.
• Strength – upper and lower body. Core strength/stability.
• Balance.
• Nutrition – proper diet pre-game, post-game, tournaments.
• Prevention and care of injuries.
• Importance of rest/recovery – schedule issues relative to the physical demands.

Psychological:
• Increased concentration.
• Leadership and increased player responsibility.
• Discipline.
• Accountability.
• Goal setting.
• Respect for the game.
• Self-confidence, self-motivation, goal setting.
• Vary program – satisfy players’ urge for competition. Will to win.
• Mental toughness/competitive mentality.
• Establish pre-practice and pre-game routine (as individuals and teams).
• Encourage players/teams to watch professional and National Team games on television.

The Game:
• 11 v. 11.

Parent Handbook/Code of Conduct