Training Program for U7’s – U8’s 

Focus is on “I”ndividual Technical Skills 

The U7’s and U8’s focus is still on footwork and developing a comfort level with the ball at their feet. They begin to broaden and they understand that the team is no longer just themselves and their one buddy. It’s expanding to knowing their coach, their team name, and Academy they are associated with. Clearly levels of ability area beginning to be noticeably different among the players. There are early and late developers and the ones that are earlier in their development are showings signs of physical advancement. We don’t forget about the importance of technique at this age.

If we try to teach young players about tactics at this age. This will lead to frustration both for the players and the coach. The focus for U8 players is learning technique, especially dribbling. We Just let them play!!!


  1. Continue to have fun and develop a passion for the game.
  2. As many touches on the ball as possible, however including more of game like situations, such as 1v1, 2v1 and 2v2
  3. Games still need to be a huge part of the development and the continued use of tag games that require, chasing, immediate pressure and immediate escape are crucial!

Player Expectations 

  1. Acquiring fine motor skills and further developing gross motor skills
  2. Developing a strong sense of worth, self-esteem, and confidence

Player Characteristics 

Coaching six, seven, and eight-year-olds requires special considerations for their overall readiness. U8 players have not developed enough physically, mentally, psychologically or socially to meet the challenges that older players can. We need to remember that they will be dealing with all different kinds of learning styles and maturities of their players. Some characteristics include:

  1. Essentially self-oriented
  2. Relate to a friend or two and not too large groups.
  3. Are concrete and immediate thinkers who pay attention to one task at a time.
  4. Cannot judge distance or speed and are still developing the concept of time and spatial relationships.
  5. Have short attention spans. NFA organizes “fun” and “engaging” activities (limit idle time, standing in lines at practice). Participation becomes more important so activity is still vital in practices as well as substations in games. Incline more towards group activity.
  6. Submit to the “swarm effect”.
  7. May start to develop a basic game sense and make “tactical decisions” that include passing the ball with a purpose.
  8. Are starting to build coordination.
  1. EVERY session should be fun!!!
  2. Players are encouraged to get as many touches on the ball as possible.
  3. Making every player technically confident on the ball with both feet.
  4. Keep comments for practices and games positive!

Training Program for U9’s – U10’s 

Focus is on “I”ndividual Technical and Tactical Skills 


  1. Individual technical skills (Ball mastery)
  2. Individual attacking and defending skills


  1. Team results
  2. Positional play


  • Foot skills introduced – demonstrate the different surfaces of the foot and what can be accomplished using those surfaces.
  • Focus on passing, receiving, dribbling and shooting with consistent instruction on technical aspects —- Demonstrate the skill – Break the skill down – Demonstrate the skill
  • Introduce heading – differentiate between offensive and defensive heading
  • Individual attacking – emphasize change of direction and change of speed
  • Individual defending (footwork, tackling)
  • Introduce touch restrictions (3 touch play, 2 touch play)


  • 1 v. 1 Attacking – Taking players on and shielding the ball
  • 1 v. 1 Defending – “Pressure”
  • Combination play – (1-2’s / take-over)
  • Movement off the ball – (Support)


  • Peer pressure becomes a factor in relationships
  • Players begin to embrace competition and want to play
  • Identity with a team becomes important


  • Players’ balance and coordination becomes more enhanced (less falling down)
  • Players can begin to perform more complex skills


  1. EVERY session should be fun, motivating, competitive and involve “transition”
  2. Making every player technically confident on the ball with both feet.
  3. Players are encouraged to get as many touches on the ball as possible.
  4. One session in three should be dedicated to 1v.1 or 2v.2.
  5. Every training session includes some type of ‘homework’ for players to perform.

Training Program for U11’s – U12’s 

U11’s – U12’s: Focus is on “I”ndividual skills, ball mastery, “I”ndividual and small group tactics. 


  1. Development of “I”ndividual skill – All training sessions challenging the player in some form of competition. Footskills
  2. Understanding role within a team framework
  3. Support
  4. Team shape – triangles / diamond
  5. Individual Attacking – Change of direction / change of speed “Skills”
  6. Individual and small group play – Two out of three sessions should include 1v.1 / 2v.2
  7. Individual Defense – 5D’s – Delay/Deny/Direct/Destroy/Develop


Positional play, Team play, Set Pieces


Skills primarily trained without pressure, then with pressure. We at NFA feels It’s important to establish a good strong solid base. Development of individual skills under the pressure of time, space, and an opponent. There will be a need for demonstration and repetition until skills are mastered.

Dribbling: Encourage player to control the ball; the ball does not control player. Keep ball one step away from the body. Control with instep rather than sole. Take risks! Moves to beat an opponent; Keeping possession – shielding, spin turns; Change of speed and direction.

Receiving: Focus on the ball on the ground, heel down, toe up. The ball does no bounce away. Balls are angled away from the body to prepare for next move. Shoot with laces, instep and with both right and left foot.

Passing: Focus on 5-15 yard pass. Proper technique. Passes on ground, instep of the foot.


Individual => 1v1

Attacking: Encourage players to take others on 1v1.

Defending: Patience when tackling; do not over-commit.

Small Group => 2v2, 2v1, & 3v1

Attacking: Locating open teammates and passing. Taking risks in attacking 1/3

Defending: 1st defender pressure, making play predictable. Delay / Deny / Direct


Agility – Focus on with ball control and comfort.

Fitness – Done with a ball.


Keep it simple, kept it fun, keep it moving.

Encourage imagination and creativity.

Demonstrate the importance of sound ball skills.


  1. Soccer should remain FUN!!!
  2. To develop the INDIVIDUAL and Small Group Play to their maximum potential.
  3. Players must be confident enough to take risks with the ball in training and in game situations.
  4. Every session should challenge the player, motivate the player, and involve transition.
  5. A great deal of coaching in 1v1, 2v2, and 4v4 games.

Training Program for U13’s – U14’s 

U13’S – U14’s: Focus is continued development (mastery) of “I”ndividual skills and small group tactics. 


  1. Continued development/mastery of individual technical skills
  2. Understanding combination play
  • Support
  • Double passes
  • 1 – 2’s / wall passes
  • Overlap passes
  • Takeovers
  1. Individual and small group defending
  • Delay/Deny/Direct
  • Tracking back
  • Pressure / cover / balance


Functional play, Team play, Set pieces


Build on the base that has been established. Continue to challenge the development of individual skills under time, space and an opponent. Begin to increase technical speed.

Dribbling: Encourage to take players on 1v1. Use of feints/moves; Keep possession by shielding and use of spin moves.

Receiving: Emphasize the importance of quality first touch. Focus on taking the ball out of the air and turning with the ball; use of all surfaces.

Shooting: On the run and on a turn; From all angels/crosses and volleys.

Passing: Short, long, bent, crosses, driven, chipped; Train all surfaces and all on the run.

Heading: To goal, to pass to clear

Tackling: Proper technique, the slide tackle.


Increasing Tactical Speed of pace and thought (Decision Making)

Individual = 1v1

Attacking Keep possession; Encourage risk taking. Take players on in proper areas of the field.

Defending Proper pressure (in front and behind). Use of Channel Players. Need for an immediate chase. Angles of pressure.

Small group = 2v1, 2v2, 3v2, 3v3, 4v2, 4v4

Attacking Keep possession, support and combination play (wall pass, take over, overlap, double pass); Width, depth, and penetration of the attack; Crossing with proper runs in the box; Simple set plays.

Defending Pressure/Cover/Balance


Fitness – Done with a ball!!

Flexibility – Dynamic Flexibility / Balance and Static Stretching

Agility – Coordination on the ball

Strength – Especially core strength


Players need to have Discipline Keep it simple, kept it fun, keep it moving.

Encourage: imagination/creativity, increase decision-making and increase demands on the players.

Encourage to watch high-level soccer


  1. Soccer should remain FUN!!!
  2. Do not give the ball up!! The ball should be viewed as a player who is either a teammate or an opponent.
  3. Being able to strike the ball properly and playing balls over distance with both feet.
  4. A Great Deal of Coaching Within 4v4 Games.
  5. Players should have a passion for the game and should be watching high-level soccer.

Training Program for U17’s – U19’s 

U17’s – U19’s: Focus is on “Development of Positional Play” and functional training. 

“The emphasis is a transition into total team play, individual roles within the team, and functional training specific to a player’s position.” 




Players must be exposed to a playing and training environment, which extend their mental, physical, tactical and technical capabilities to the limit. They must have a sound understanding of the game’s principles and concepts.

Functional Play:

  • Attacking roles and responsibilities
  • Defensive roles and responsibilities

Crossing: (Develop a complete understanding of):

  • Crossing angle
  • Overlaps
  • near and far post runs – timing / location — type of ball to be served

Set Plays: (Develop a complete understanding of):

  • Attacking and defending responsibilities at corner kicks and all other restarts
  • The importance of possession from throw-ins in defensive and midfield third of field
  • Possession and creativity in the final third

Development of Team Play 

Functional play: Training players for specific positions and roles. This training should include technical/functional and tactical/functional

Team Play:

  1. Match – related practice: Attacking vs. Defending
  2. Match conditioned: One in three practices devoted to the defensive aspects of the game.

Players should have a complete understanding of the principles of team play. 



Fitness – Done with and without a ball

Stretching – Dynamic / Static Stretching (before and after training and matches)

Importance of discipline for warm-up and cool-down

Endurance – Aerobic and Anaerobic

Nutrition – Importance of proper diet, pre-game, post-game and tournaments

Care and Prevention of Injuries

Importance of rest and recovery


Leadership / Player Responsibilities

Increased Concentration


Goal Setting

Vary Program – Satisfy player’s urge for competition


  1. Soccer should remain FUN!!!
  2. One in three practices devoted to defending principles of play
  3. Match – related practice: Attacking vs. Defending —– TRANSITION
  4. All activities should be challenging, motivating and involve Transition!
  5. Players should have a passion for the game and should be watching high-level soccer.