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U.S. Soccer Player Development Initiatives



As Youth Soccer Month comes to a close, it is important to take note of the U.S. Soccer Player Development Initiatives and the improvements to be made in the youth soccer world.

U.S. Soccer Current Landscape

  • The coaching and playing environment needs to be improved for 6-12 year olds
  • Too much emphasis placed on the result of the game
  • The priority should be to develop skills and abilities
  • There is a need to educate and empower parents and coaches

Structural Change

  • We can’t keep doing the same thing and expect to get different results
  • Long-term development of players is the top priority
  • Kids under the age of 12 don’t win World Cups so we should not treat them like adults or professional players
  • Players need to be put in the best possible environment to succeed
  • There are no shortcuts
  • Success requires a long-term approach and commitment

Small-Sided Games Objectives

  • Develop improved skills with the ball
  • Improve confidence and comfort
  • Develop intelligence with and without the ball
  • Promote faster decisions and better awareness
  • Develop partnerships within the team
  • Provide an age appropriate environment
  • Standards align with physiological needs of players
  • Uniformity across the country and across membership
  • Having consistent standards allows U.S. Soccer, and the programs of our members, to provide more meaningful messaging and education for parents, players, coaches and referees

4v4 Player Development Philosophy

  • Results and standings should not be recorded
  • Travel should be limited as much as possible
  • Players should not be participating in events (tournaments, showcases, festivals, etc.)
  • Remember that safety and fun are the top priorities so make adjustments as needed to ensure both are being promoted


Full Information on the U.S. Soccer Player Development Initiatives