In the Spring of 2006, ASC combined our academy and EDP programs. The combined program is designed to give young players the opportunity to work with like-skilled players and focuses on skill development and maximum touches on the ball during training and game settings. The program's format is consistent with the US National Youth Development Program as well as many soccer passionate countries. We strongly believe that it is important to help youngsters learn the skills of the game of soccer starting at a young age. National statistics demonstrate that before we start coaching youngsters, we should teach them the skills and then coach them tactically, building on these skills. We firmly believe this will develop a better and more confident soccer player. National statistics overwhelmingly show that if we do not develop the players technically at a young age they will eventually give up. Many youngsters are strong athletically and physically; however, if they do not learn the skills, these attributes are eventually overshadowed—we have observed this particularly at the ages of 12 through 14. Thus our EDP is structured to be FUN and teach basic skills, while also offering the opportunities for young players to put these skills to use.
We will have three weekly practices with a jamboree on Saturday or Sunday, and travel teams for boys and girls U10 players. Three days of training are offered so that sessions can be shorter (which is better at this age) and so that kids who have conflicts have varied nights to choose from. Kids do not need to be there all 3 nights but are encouraged to be there as much as they want to, and can handle. Each night will have a theme and the stations will reinforce the theme. The advantage of this format is that we put a strong focus on the individual player's technical development with exposure to multiple coaches in a dynamic format that keeps the players energized and engaged. The weekend jamboree-style tournament allows players to compete in small-sided games. Our plan is to have jamborees with other clubs as often as possible. We also will have a boys and a girls U10 team in the Granite State league (GSYSL) that will travel to other towns. Primarily this will be U10 players, but younger players may get invited to join this group. We have not registered a U9 team in GSYSL because we believe that 4v4 is a far better developmental tool at the younger ages. Thus we have found clubs with similar philosophies and will give the kids a “travel” experience while keeping their “touches on the ball” high.
We believe that a parent's role is not as a coach but as a support staff. Your job is to get your player to practices and games in the proper attire and with the proper equipment. Players need to wear shin guards and cleats and bring a ball to every practice and game. Water bottles, sweats and smiles are important too. Please support your players with positive encouragement and leave the coaching to the coaches. At this age too many directions can confuse and frustrate. You will notice even as coaches we are often quiet allowing the children to learn from the situational experience.