Melrose Youth Soccer
Travel League City League Parents Players Coaches Referees

Developmental Targets

By the end of each age bracket, players should be:

Jump to: U6, U8, U10, U12, U14


Munchkins (U-6) City League

Technical Goals:

  • Learning which goal to shoot at.
  • Learning to avoid the toe kick.

Tactical Goals:

  • Willing to dribble to get past defenders.
  • Willing to take shots.
  • Beginning to understand "chasing back" after losing ball
  • Beginning to understand being "goal-side" of the ball.

Overall:

  • Enjoys playing soccer
  • Be active and involved in the game.


U-8 City League

One hour long practice per week

Technical Goals:

  • Can demonstrate good technique for Top25 #1-6.
  • Capable of performing Fast Feet #1-5.
  • Sometimes succeeds in trying Top25 #1-6 in games.
  • Changes directions/speeds while dribbling.
  • Beginning competency with instep shot.
  • Beginning competency using non-dominant foot.
  • Can juggle his/her age when allowing ball to bounce once in between touches.

Tactical Goals:

  • Enjoys shooting, and trying to dribble past defenders.
  • Learning to look up between touches to see teammates.
  • Beginning to understand the concept of "space" (not crowded) and "pressure" (crowded).
  • Understands "chasing back" after losing ball.
  • Understands being "goal-side" of attacking player.
  • Beginning to understand "jockeying" on defense, rather than "jumping in".
  • Beginning to understand first and second defender responsibilities.
  • Tries to communicate with other players.

Overall:

  • Enjoys playing soccer.
  • Is active and involved in the game.
  • Beginning to be familiar with rules of game, and terminology of the game.

Suggestion for one hour practice:

  • 10 minutes - warm-ups and instruction in basic ball skills, such as Fast Feet.
  • 40 minutes - games that focus heavily on ball skills; dribbling, shielding, passing and shooting.
  • 10 minutes - end of practice scrimmage. In scrimmage, many lessons can be lightly reinforced. (For example, points about spacing can be made. Don't Bunch Up!)

Evaluating Games

From the earliest level, the Dutch soccer philosophy says that the small games we play in practice influence how kids experience the game when it comes to match play. Some games, like passing pairs, where players standing in lines and pass back and forth with a partner are good for practicing a very specific skill, but they are not much like soccer. The risk is that we'll produce players who stand and wait for passes to come to them, and are not used to other people trying to take that ball away from them.

Ideally, the idea is to teach a skill, practice it, and then move onto a game that allows for lots of touches, hopefully with some kind of pressure applied, and a clear competitive goal in mind. In passing pairs, that could mean that the passer follows her pass and puts the receiver under pressure to play the ball to space on either side. Or it could be a game of 2v1 or 3v1 keepaway. Passing and moving and receiving and moving should be remembered as one skill, because in match play, they are used as one skill.


U-10 Travel and City Leagues

One or two hour-long practices per week.

Technical Goals:

  • Demonstrates competence with Top25 #1-15, and beginning mastery of #1-6.
  • Can perform Fast Feet #1-10 competently.
  • Tries Top25 skills in games with confidence.
  • Changes directions/speeds while dribbling.
  • Will attempt to pass, receive and shoot with non-dominant foot, rather than "run around" it.
  • Can juggle her/his age.

Tactical Goals:

Offense:

  • Enjoys shooting, and trying to dribble past defenders.
  • Looks up between touches to see the field.
  • Beginning to learn how to open up the field by playing balls to space.
  • Moves to provide a passing target, and moves to the ball when receiving a pass from a teammate.
  • Learning how to provide support to ball carrier by moving off the ball.
  • Beginning understanding of "strength of numbers" tactics like the wall pass, the overlap, and the takeover.

Defense:

  • Understands basic 1v.1 defense; jockeying offensive player and looking to toe poke the ball away.
  • Understands the importance of delaying offensive player to allow time for support to arrive.
  • Immediately chases back after losing ball, or upon being passed up by a ball carrier.
  • Understands how to play three player defense: pressure/cover/and balance.
  • Beginning to use communication effectively "I've got ball!"

Overall:

  • Loves playing soccer
  • Knows basic soccer terminology
  • Is learning basic soccer-like games to play away from practice.

Suggestion for one hour practice:

  • 10 minutes - warm-ups and instruction in basic ball skills, such as Fast Feet.
  • 25 minutes - games that focus heavily on ball skills; dribbling, shielding, passing and shooting. Games that contain soccer-like competition, like 1v1 and 2v1 are great here.
  • 15 minutes - instruction and practice of plays/team skills, such as wall passes, positioning, etc.
  • 10 minutes - end of practice scrimmage. Maybe there will be some teachable moments!


U-12 Travel and City Leagues

One or two hour-long practices per week.

Technical Goals:

  • Demonstrates competence with Top25 #1-18, and beginning mastery of #1-15.
  • Can perform Fast Feet #1-10 with skill.
  • Tries Top25 skills in games with confidence.
  • Changes directions/speeds while dribbling.
  • Can pass, receive and shoot capably with non-dominant foot.
  • Developing capable footwork for defense, able to jockey with both sides of body, and switch between them.
  • Can juggle 1-2 times his/her age.

Tactical Goals:

Offense:

  • Enjoys shooting, and trying to dribble past defenders.
  • Looks up between touches to see the field. Knows where "holes" in the defense are by looking at field.
  • Looks to open up the field by playing balls to teammates in space.
  • Moves to provide a passing target, and moves to the ball when receiving a pass from a teammate.
  • Provides support to ball carrier by moving off the ball - beginning to coordinate with other teammates in fluid situations. "if she goes there, then I'd better go over here."
  • Looks to use "strength of numbers" tactics like the wall pass, the overlap, and the takeover in games.

Defense:

  • Understands basic 1v.1 defense; jockeying offensive player and looking to toe poke the ball away.
  • Understands the importance of delaying offensive player to allow time for support to arrive.
  • Immediately chases back after losing ball, or upon being passed up by a ball carrier.
  • Understands how to play three player defense: pressure/cover/and balance.
  • Uses communication effectively "I've got ball!"

Overall:

  • Loves playing soccer
  • Has a strong grasp of soccer rules.
  • Knows basic soccer terminology
  • Knows basic soccer talk for communicating on the field.
  • Plays soccer-like games away from practice.

Suggestion for one hour practice:

  • 10 minutes - warm-ups and instruction in basic ball skills, such as Fast Feet.
  • 20 minutes - games that focus heavily on ball skills; dribbling, shielding, passing and shooting. Games that contain soccer-like competition, like 1v1 and 2v1 are great here.
  • 20 minutes - instruction and practice of plays/team skills, such as set plays, positioning, etc.
  • 10 minutes - end of practice scrimmage. Maybe there will be some teachable moments!

At U-12 and up, players are increasingly capable of understanding how to evaluate their performance in terms of their most recent test (game). Many coaches use these "test results" to start the next practice. "Last Saturday, we were able to get the ball forward along the wings, but we couldn't seem to get the ball to our strikers in the middle. What do you think we could do about that?"


U-14 Travel League

Two hour-long practices per week.

Technical Goals:

  • Demonstrates skill with Top25 #1-18, and beginning competence with #19-22.
  • Can perform Fast Feet #1-10 with skill and speed.
  • Enjoys creating moves based on Fast Feet and Top25 skills.
  • Can dribble and control ball with skill.
  • Can pass, receive and shoot with skill using non-dominant foot.
  • Developing capable footwork for defense, able to jockey with both sides of body, and switch between them.
  • Can juggle two times her/his age.

Tactical Goals:

Offense:

  • Enjoys shooting, and trying to dribble past defenders.
  • Looks up between touches to see the field. Knows where "holes" in the defense are by looking at field.
  • Looks to open up the field by playing balls to teammates in space.
  • Moves to provide a passing target, and moves to the ball when receiving a pass from a teammate.
  • Provides support to ball carrier by moving off the ball - coordinates well with other teammates in game play.
  • Knows his/her position on the field in various game situations.
  • Looks to use "strength of numbers" tactics like the wall pass, the overlap, and the takeover in games.

Defense:

  • Plays solid 1v.1 defense; jockeying offensive player and looking to toe poke the ball away.
  • Works well with other defenders; knows how & when to delay attack, and when to pressure.
  • Immediately chases back after losing ball, or upon being passed up by a ball carrier.
  • Understands how to play three player defense: pressure/cover/and balance.
  • Uses communication effectively "I've got ball!"

Overall:

  • Loves playing soccer
  • Knows soccer terminology
  • Uses soccer talk effectively to communicate on the field.
  • Plays soccer-like games away from practice.

Suggestion for one hour practice:

  • 10 minutes - warm-ups and instruction in basic ball skills, such as Fast Feet.
  • 10 minutes - games that focus heavily on ball skills; dribbling, shielding, passing and shooting. Games that contain soccer-like competition, like 1v1 and 2v1 are great here.
  • 30 minutes - instruction and practice of plays/team skills, such as set plays, positioning, etc.
  • 10 minutes - end of practice scrimmage. Maybe there will be some teachable moments!

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