Website Manager

Patriot FC

Player Development Philosophy



PICKING THE RIGHT CLUB

Families with children who play competitive soccer face the difficult decision of selecting "the right club".  Every family has their own selection criteria but given the significant time commitment and financial investment families need to choose wisely. Deciding on the right club for your child involves understanding the development model and goals of the club and team.  Are they focused on winning this week, this season? Is there a long-term plan that promotes player growth?  

At one end of the spectrum, there are clubs that provide little information and transparency to help you decide. And, at the other end there are clubs that have a lot to say about how they do things but the reality falls well short. Often players find themselves in an environment not suitable for soccer and social development.  

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT MASQUERADE

Beware of clubs and coaches who use the latest buzzwords and talk about player development but cannot point to a plan or process that supports their claim. Poor structures are ones where the focus is on field position, athleticism and winning over technique, thought process & development.

Many clubs refer to the leagues they play in as "proof" they are developing players.  They use results from games played years ago as "proof" their team is more developed than the opposition. There is a simple recipe for winning lots of games at younger ages. First, pick 1 or 2 athletic kids who matured early and play them in dominant positions (striker or center-back). Second, play low-risk soccer (i.e. kick the ball up the field). Third, rely on those 1 or 2 players and their athleticism to get results. In this structure, winning becomes the measure of success to the detriment of developing every individual player on the team. 

A second factor that hinders player development is the focus on playing in specific leagues and events that are not suited for players and teams. Many clubs claim to be an "elite" program because they participate in certain leagues or they run up scores against weaker teams in weaker leagues. Neither of these options puts player development as the true priority.

Remember that as a player enters their Varsity years of high school and college having the technical ability and understanding of the game will take them further than being on a winning team at U12.

PLAYER-CENTRIC DEVELOPMENT

Clubs that promote a player-centric environment are easy to spot. During training and games players decide how to move the ball, play in multiple positions, and rely on their technical ability to gain an advantage on the field. They take risks by playing a possession-style game, even under high pressure from opponents, as opposed to playing safe and kicking the ball with no purpose.  

At Patriot FC we believe winning isn't everything, but our commitment to success is unwavering. Our club measures success not on wins and losses but how our players develop on and off the field. In our player-centric environment, individual player development is the most important outcome. Our player-centric focus guides every decision we make at the club. 

Long-term success starts by building a solid foundation at the youngest ages. We make sure our most qualified coaches work with the players in the younger groups so that those players receive the technical foundation needed to be successful as they get older.

A key part of our development philosophy is to have players train on the edge of their ability. We want to put players in a training environment where they must learn to "become comfortable being uncomfortable". We design training sessions that need high-levels of concentration, stretch players and force them into making mistakes. We also offer the opportunity for our players to cross train with different teams and age groups depending on the individual fit. Players use these sessions to address a specific need, to get more touches or to put themselves in an uncomfortable environment.  All of these are valid reasons and available to every player in the club at no additional cost.  In the player-centric environment, players demand more from themselves and continue to raise their own expectations.  Over the long-term this philosophy provides individuals and teams greater opportunity to achieve success.

Last but not least, soccer is a team sport and for players to achieve their potential their team has to focus on player development.  A team has to develop a mission, create an identity and execute on a plan.  As a club, we want our teams to be in a competitive environment every time they step onto the field. We provide guidance and education but ultimately we think teams are best-placed to select the appropriate leagues and tournaments to further their individual and team development goals. 

EXPERIENCE THE DIFFERENCE 

At Patriot FC we consider the size of our club an asset.  We want to be big enough to offer competitive opportunities to every player, yet small enough to understand the needs of each player.  Players and teams have direct access to the Director of Coaching and the opportunity to learn from different trainers and coaches over the course of their time at the club. 

Players interested in playing for Patriot FC have opportunities throughout the year to learn how our club works and decide if the fit is right for them.  Attend a couple training sessions to gain experience and exposure before tryouts in the spring.  Come and see what happens on the field, get to know the coaches and compare it to your current experience and training. We are always open to adding talented players to the club. 

CONTACT US

Gavin Flannigan, Director of Coaching