Players in the Academy will participate in 8-10 weeks of progressive technical and tactical training appropriate to their age and skill level. Each player will be evaluated and assessed in order to maintain a degree of difficulty suitable to maximize learning and development.
The model of training used in the Academy will highlight the player’s ability to demonstrate, execute and perfect simple to complex skills on the ball with both feet. Players will learn and be encouraged to implement training habits that will be required to be successful at the next stage of soccer, whether it be Classic or Premier. Players will be put in situations that require critical thinking, problem solving and team work in a soccer setting while emphasizing important club philosophies along the way. With each season designed to progress from individual attacking and defending skills into 4 v 4 (5 v 5) team tactics, each player will lay a foundation of knowledge that touches on the basis of all team-based systems and styles of play.
Phase 1: Ball Mastery - Players will be taught how to comfortably and effectively use all six surfaces of the foot. Influence to use both feet equally will help players be able to execute desired solutions to any situation. While static footwork will be trained, more time will be used helping players apply their skills to game situations.
Phase 2: 1 v 1 Attacking - Once competently completing Phase 1, players will be asked to perform and demonstrate their skill sets with live pressure. Players will be introduced to many different scenarios to help them problem solve and improvise. Exercises that help guide players to learn penetration with the ball, timing of moves, execution speed, deception, balance, acceleration and fluidity will be used.
Phase 3: 1 v 1 Defending - In connection with Phase 2, players will begin to understand important concepts of individual defending. Immediate chase, delay, control and restraint will be emphasized. This phase has many stages, and each stage of individual defending will be selectively broken down for the players to allow full understanding of how to neutralize an opponent.
Phase 4: Small Group Tactics (2v2 - 5v5) - In this phase, additional attacking and defending principles will be added. Width, depth and mobility will allow more offensive success as the numbers of players per team gets larger. Consequently, a small group's ability to concentrate the field and provide depth and balance when defending will prove valuable to the overall scope of the Academy progression.