MOUNTAINEER UNITED SOCCER CLUB
PLAYER DEVELOPMENT PHILOSOPHY
Mountaineer United Soccer Club (MUSC) has a primary focus to help each child develop and mature as a soccer player, a life long soccer enthusiast, and as an individual. This is a long-term process that cannot be rushed. There are no guarantees that a child will reach his or her soccer potential, but the club must give each participant the opportunity to become the best they can be. There are no magic formulas or short cuts to successful player development. Coaching at the youth level should not be about trying to collect or recruit players to win club, league, state, regional or national championships, or to get medals and trophies. The MUSC Player Centered Development Program is about creating an environment where coach and club work together to improve each individual player’s performance in both age and developmentally appropriate settings that are safe, challenging and with suitable competition.
PRINCIPLES OF PLAYER CENTERED DEVELOPMENT
Development over Winning: Winning is never our major focus. Winning occurs as the result of good training, teamwork, intensity and perseverance. Over emphasis on winning results in a type of play that lacks creativity, exploits the raw physical abilities of “early bloomers”, and ignores the “late bloomers.” This playing style usually results in a lot of victories at the early ages, but sports research shows that when the “late bloomers” catch up, usually around high school age, they surpass the “early bloomers,” who have not developed the essential skills necessary to play well at higher levels of competition.
Player Development over Team Development: Soccer is ultimately a team sport and team chemistry is a crucial factor. Players acquire world class status because they mastered all the requisite technical skills as youth players, not because their team won every game. Emphasis on a team winning encourages early specialization and locks players into roles within the squad which stifles their essential development as complete players. Teamwork has much to teach. Players learn cooperation and trusting one another in a group setting. This principle is not about placing the individual above the team, but until the player reaches high school level type competition, the club and team exist to serve the needs of the player. In keeping with this principle:
- Players should be rotated and trained at all field positions.
- A player should not be placed or kept in goal against his or her will.
- A player should participate in a minimum of half of each game.
- A player should not be discouraged or kept from moving to a team at a higher level of competition so the player’s assigned team can win matches.
Age Appropriate: The reason children and adolescents play sports is to have fun! They stop playing when sports cease being enjoyable. Small sided games, played on a reduced size field, with a scaled down ball and goals, along with fewer players on a team, maximizes touches for each participant and keeps soccer fun. Expecting young players to master the 11 v 11 adult game too early causes frustration and hampers their development. Educational and sports research has established that players go through stages of cognitive, physical and psychological development. MUSC adheres to the development programs and coaching curricula established by US Youth Soccer and the United Soccer Coaches (formerly National Soccer Coaches Association of America - NSCAA).
Quality Training: Coaches do not need to have ever played soccer professionally to coach like a professional. A coach should exhibit a knowledge of the sport, enthusiasm, motivation, empathy and good communication skills. MUSC has two levels of coaches, supervised by a paid Director of Coaching (DOC).
The Recreational program is coached by volunteers who are committed to children and teaching them soccer as an enjoyable, fun, life time endeavor. These coaches are encouraged to get USSF or WVSA certifications, and are provided with USSF training sessions.
The more competitive and intense Academy (travel) program is taught by professional coaches who are paid and required to have certification, experience and/or valid licenses to coach at this competitive level.
Trained MUSC coaches teach in the player critical developmental areas. The club offers the Rec coaches advice, assistance, clinics and opportunities to obtain their United States Soccer Federation (USSF) licenses. Persons at both coaching levels are urged to continually improve their teaching knowledge and skills to better serve their players.
Long Term Vision versus Short Term Goals: True leaders begin with a goal in mind. The vision and end goal of MUSC is to develop a well-rounded player who is technically competent, physically able, game smart, loves soccer, and wants to impart this to others. Developing and promoting excellent players is MUSC’s long term goal. A reputation for developing players is more significant and satisfying than a soon forgotten medal or dust gathering plaque or trophy.