Player Development Guidelines and Age Group Competencies for Coaches and Trainers
The following guidelines and age group competencies have been established by Minneapolis United to help our coaches and trainers focus on the teaching that we think will best provide individual development of our young soccer players. The guidelines are based on reviewing existing practices of many other successful youth soccer associations and the established guidelines of the United States Soccer Association.
MU encourages all coaches and trainers to continuously work at improving their own knowledge of the game. There are numerous ways that we can learn as coaches. One example is the US Soccer Federation coaching schools. These courses teach the latest techniques and concepts in soccer training that are currently used nationally and internationally. Another way to enhance your knowledge is through books and tapes. Perhaps the best way to learn new ideas is through association with other coaches and trainers. This interfacing of different ideas and perspectives is beneficial and is applicable at the courses and camps mentioned above or through our own Minneapolis United coaching sessions held throughout the year.
This document is part of a larger master plan that includes coaching clinics, team mentoring and winter training. Hopefully, coaches will be better equipped to understand the range of age-appropriate development and skill sets. This document is NOT intended to establish “pass or fail standards”. Some children will achieve several of the competencies while others may have trouble with most/all of them. Players mature and develop at different times and rates, even within the same age group.
Important Note: At the earlier ages (thru U12), winning is not the primary emphasis of this program. At those ages individual development of the players is much more important. We believe that taking the short track to winning at the early ages may win games, but cheats the players in their long term development. By stressing individual development at the early ages we will produce superior technical players who can later be taught tactics — MU teams will be the better for it.