Player Development Pathways. U6 to U15 Player Development in the United States of America

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2 U6 to U15 Player Development in the United States of America Presentation by Craig Carlson

3 Status of Youth Soccer in America Soccer over a Continent + Impact of the Sports Culture PLAYER DEVELOPMENT PATHWAYS

4 US Youth Soccer is the largest member of the United States Soccer Federation. U.S. Soccer is the FIFA and IOC recognized National Governing Body for soccer.

5 U. S. Soccer Youth Division US Youth Soccer 3.2 million players; 600,000 administrators and referees; 300,00 coaches American Youth Soccer Organization 650,000 players Soccer Association for Youth 100,00 players US Club Soccer

6 US Youth Soccer Mission Statement It is the mission of United States Youth Soccer Association to foster the physical, mental and emotional growth and development of America s youth through the sport of soccer at all levels of age and competition.

7 The FIFA Big Count of 2006 estimated that 4 million youth play soccer in the USA. Of those players 3.2 million are registered with US Youth Soccer. 50% of all players are between the ages of 7-11 Boys 53% Girls 47%

8 Distance impacts the number of times per year that top teams can play one another. Example: for the 2005 U19 Boys National Championship Series Finals the Honolulu (HI) Bulls S.C. traveled 6000 miles (9656 kilometers) to Orlando (FL).

9 Distance and cost of travel have major impacts on what is possible for interclub competition and player development. Consequently we have divided the country into 4 regions and 55 state associations to service our 5400 clubs.

10 The U6 and U8 age groups play intra-club games. The U10 age group plays predominantly intra-club games and a small number of interclub games. The U12 to U15 age groups play both intra-club and interclub games.

11 US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues play an average of 9 matches per year per age group and the National League plays 168 matches per year for three age groups. State Leagues can require significant travel dependent upon the size of the state.

12 1 National Office 4 Regional Offices 55 State Offices 5400 Clubs Located in Pizza Hut Park along with FC Dallas of Major League Soccer in Frisco, Texas; US Youth Soccer conducts 90 events per year for players. Annually 387,000 units of books, DVDs, electronic newsletters and magazines are delivered to youth coaches.

13 The soccer boom in the USA began in 1970; a time when participation in sports by girls was becoming widely accepted in society. Consequently boys and girls have equal growth opportunities in soccer. The USA has a deep sports culture with 17 amateur team sports competing for the sports dollar.

14 The general sports culture glorifies winning which has an influence on player development both positive and negative. opositively Americans have a will and expectation to win consequently always playing to win. onegatively a win at all costs mentality shortchanges our player development.

15 Age Group Formats and Characteristics Player-Centered Coaching Competitions PLAYER DEVELOPMENT PATHWAYS

16 Player Development Pathways To develop them we must first get them playing the game. From childhood to the teens the process of development is continuous.

17 Obesity and inactivity are problems facing many American youngsters. To accomplish our Mission US Youth Soccer distributes a Public Service Announcement to television stations across the nation. The Get Out & Get In The Game campaign intends to increase the number of soccer participants in America. Once we bring youngsters into the game then we have the opportunity to develop them into life-long players; some of whom will aspire to elite levels of play.

18 The confluence of soccer into the mainstream of American sports continues. Part of that convergence is taking the game into communities and segments of society where the game does not exist. That work is carried out by a program called Soccer Across America.

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20 Zone III 18+ Zone II years of age (enhanced development) Zone I 6 12 years of age (technical acquisition) Program Development Implications and Interaction Zone I best coaches here is our shifting objective Zone II shifting to a new emphasis on training and less on matches Zone III emphasis on competition and learning how to win

21 In Zone I of the player development pyramid we advocate Small-Sided Games with modified rules. o U6 plays 3 vs. 3 without goalkeepers o U8 plays 3 vs. 4 without goalkeepers o U10 plays 6 vs. 6 with goalkeepers o U12 plays 8 vs. 8 with goalkeepers Zones II and III play 11 vs. 11

22 U6 Individual Me and My Ball Fitness Technique Psychology Tactics Components of the Game

23 U8 Me, the Ball and My Friend Components of the Game Technique Fitness Psychology Tactics

24 U10 - The Start of Us Technique Psychology Fitness Tactics Components of the Game

25 Player Development Pathways Problem solving is the challenge for coaches to present appropriately to players. We train players with the belief that the most important part of a player s body is the soccer brain. The use of game-like activities and guided discovery questioning helps players to put skills into game context, to begin anticipating moments in the game and opens the door to creativity. Guided Discovery = The coach asks the player questions to get the player thinking about the soccer problem posed. The player, with guidance from the coach, thinks through the problem and comes up with an answer. The coach then allows the player to try out the answer and see how it works. As players discover correct answers to the soccer problems then the sense of accomplishment grows and the knowledge gained is permanent.

26 U12 - Us The Critical Transition Period Technique Tactics Psychology Fitness Components of the Game

27 U15 - Us The Formal Phase Components of the Game Tactics Psychology Fitness Technique

28 Player Athletic Triad Parent Coach

29 Player Development Pathways Parents have a significant role influencing the environment of the youth player. US Youth Soccer supports the efforts of the clubs to educate the parents about their child s soccer participation through a section of our web site devoted to parents, on-line learning, articles and a DVD.

30 Player-centered coaching puts the players at the center of decision making Guided Discovery game-like activities Games Based Training (TGfU) The objective is to develop skillful, soccer savvy players

31 Coaching Education has a direct effect on the local soccer environment. The 55 US Youth Soccer/U.S. Soccer National State Associations offer five state level coaching courses. These courses reach the bulk of grassroots coaches, yet many coaches have no certification at all. At the national level five additional coaching courses are offered.

32 U6/U8 Youth Module B License A License U10/U12 Youth Module C License National Goalkeeping License E Certificate National Youth License Fitness Level 1 License TOPSoccer Certificate D License

33 Player Development Pathways The National Youth License focuses upon the nature of children and the adjustments adults must make to coach them. The curriculum covers the ages of 4 to 12 years-old. Each day of the course the focus is upon one of the traditional soccer age groups of U6, U8, U10 and U12. Daily children of the appropriate age group are brought to the course for the candidates to work with them in a practice training session. The candidates are videotaped while coaching the kids and the video is reviewed with each candidate to aid in the education of the coach. The course combines both classroom (theory) and field (practical) sessions. The course concludes with written, oral and practical examinations. The Y License course is six days in length.

34 US Youth Soccer in conjunction with U.S. Soccer supports coaching education for club coaches through aid to the state coaching courses, by offering clinics, symposia and membership in the Coaches Connection, conducting a National Coaching School and a National Convention.

35 Annually the US Youth Soccer adidas Workshop & Coaches Convention is held in varying locations across the nation. The Workshop provides education opportunities for administrators, coaches and referees.

36 Player Development Pathways CARE IN THE BEGINNING ENRICHES THE END

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38 The youth soccer year in the USA runs from September 1 to August 31. We begin the soccer year in September with a celebration of and promotion of the sport by conducting Youth Soccer Month. The events take place across the nation with existing soccer clubs and also to bring the game to communities where soccer does not yet exist. The giant jersey tour in 2008 took soccer into urban settings to expose the game to new participants.

39 Player Development Pathways Youth Soccer Month At the beginning of each new soccer year we celebrate the game! Each September is Youth Soccer Month across the USA. Each week has a theme; which are Fun, Family, Friendship and Fitness. Eighty colleges participated in the program in The giant jersey tour stopped at 15 locations and made 725,000 impressions.

40 Typically in the USA the U6, U8 and U10 age groups are exclusively recreational. Beginning with the U12 age group many players make a choice of continuing with recreational soccer or branching off into select soccer. Recreation Select

41 The Kohl's US Youth Soccer American Cup provides recreational youth soccer players an opportunity to experience a consistent and high quality statewide tournament in a fun, festival-like atmosphere. It fosters stimulation and excitement about soccer in an effort to increase the recreational players interest in and love for the game. We want the recreational player to feel special and have fun! The Kohl's American Cup can achieve this by providing recreational players with the opportunity to participate in an original event outside of their normal league play.

42 US Youth Soccer National Directors Cup The US Youth Soccer National Directors Cup is open to Under-14 through Under-17 boys and girls and is an additional opportunity for players to gain national event experience. One team from each of the four regions will compete in each division.

43 TOPSoccer is a community-based program for kids of any age with physical or intellectual disabilities; administered under the direction of the state soccer association and US Youth Soccer. TOPSoccer provides these special players with the opportunity to participate in soccer in a safe and fun environment.

44 Player Development Pathways TOPSoccer welcomes players of all abilities and focuses on grouping players by similar skill, talent and ability rather than by age group. This system promotes personal development and makes the experience fun for all of the players.

45 Select Soccer State League Regional League National League National Championship Series Olympic Development Program PLAYER DEVELOPMENT PATHWAYS

46 Twenty state associations have a state wide league. Eleven state associations have area leagues within the state. These leagues lead into participation in the state open cup and regional league.

47 The US Youth Soccer National League was created to provide top competition and exposure to collegiate, professional and national team staff coaches for U15, U16 and U17 boys and girls seeking to play at the next level. The National League is an advancement path for the top teams in the US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues who seek elite development, identification and a chance to advance directly to the US Youth Soccer National Championships. The top two teams, from each age group, advance to the US Youth Soccer National Championships, and the top four teams, from each age group, secure their return to League play the following season.

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50 US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program The US Youth Soccer ODP Philosophy To identify players of the highest caliber on a continuing and consistent basis, which will lead to increased success for the U.S. National Teams in the international arena.

51 Purpose The US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program was formed in 1977 to identify a pool of players in each age group from which a National Team will be selected for international competition; to provide highlevel training to benefit and enhance the development of players at all levels; and, through the use of carefully selected and licensed coaches, develop a mechanism for the exchange of ideas and curriculum to improve all levels of coaching.

52 Player Development Pathways The US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program begins with try-outs and training at a local level. From those try-outs State Select Teams are formed to participate in Regional Trials. Players take part in a week long Olympic Trial to stretch their limits as competitors. From these Trials Regional Teams are formed to take part in National Trials.

53 Player Development Pathways The US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program extends to Europe. US Youth Soccer ODP Europe is for American players living in Europe. Eligible players are identified in each country. Try-outs to form teams take place in Germany. From these try-outs State Select Teams are formed to participate in the US Youth Soccer Region I Trials.

54 Player Development Pathways From National Trials the Youth National Teams are formed. Players at this level might represent our country in a youth World Cup, the Pan Am Games, the Olympic Games, the World University Games, the Gold Cup and the World Cup. The US Youth Soccer State and Regional Teams also travel internationally to gain experience in a variety of styles of play and levels of competition.

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56 From the youth soccer experience we hope to develop professional: Players Coaches Administrators Referees Sports Media Sports Medicine Personnel Sports Nutritionists Sports Lawyers Sports Psychologists Soccer Fans and more!

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