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What We Believe.

Find out what the difference is with our player development program and why we do what we do .

A Comprehensive Development Program.

The development of a soccer player is a long process in which the player progresses gradually from a simple to a more complex involvement in the game. It is Snohomish Youth Soccer Club's (SYSC) philosophy that we focus on the long-term development of the player while keeping in mind both the importance of competition and achievable performance as well as enhancing the player's love for the game. Our comprehensive age group specific training curriculum not only develops the individual player, but also teaches the player how to thrive within the team dynamic through the many programs that we offer. The variety of programs provided to our players educates the whole person, not just the soccer component of the player. While the club's age group specific training program develops the technical, tactical and physical aspects of the player, the mental training program expands the mental and social qualities needed to excel both on and off the field.


Our quality and knowledgeable staff provides proper guidance and direction so players progress appropriately through the different stages of player development.  We also believe that this progress can not be rushed, but that our players should always compete at a level that is challenging, demanding, rewarding, but most importantly fun.

Long-Term Player Development

There are over 5,000 US Youth Soccer Clubs across the country. Snohomish Youth Soccer Club has the obligation to provide our members with the opportunity to play the game while learning and growing as individuals. It is for this reason that Snohomish Youth Soccer Club has modified its player development program and coaching methodology in order to enhance a wider player development focus. The Long-Term Player Development (LTPD) is a program for player development, training, competition, and recovery based on biological age (i.e. maturity), and ability. It is player-centered and coach-driven and provides a platform for our coaches to support players at every level, to fulfill their potential and aim to produce a greater number of players capable of achieving at the highest level.


This process concerns itself with player development over the long-term, with the development needs focused into specific stages. Although there are certain stages, these are not rigid, but are flexible, as it is player-centered at all times. There is continuity and flexibility throughout the year in the way our practices are conducted.  Building flexibility around the (LTPD) accomodates for the diverse needs of all of our players, teams, and coaches while offering the foundation over different age groups and ability levels. Our coaches plan all training sessions in advance and in detail that is linked with the Club's (LTPD) Model.  Our coaches, like any teachers, decide what skills will be introduced during the year and in what sequence. Below are some of the benefits of the (LTPD):

Long-Term Player Development (LTPD) Model:


  • Eliminates gaps in the player development system.

  • Guides planning for optimal athlete performance at all stages.

  • Provides a framework for program alignment and integration, from the Junior Academy Coaches all the way up to the U18 Coaches.

  • Follows best practices of scientific principles and practical coaching while keeping in mind environmental factors.

Benefits For Players & Parents:


  • Better understanding of what makes a good soccer program.

  • More players learning at their level and having fun competing.

  • Education on appropriate game structures (e.g. size of balls, goals, field size, etc.).

  • More opportunity for players to realize their athletic potential.

  • More coaches who are knowledgeable in leading safe, enjoyable, competitive, and effective practices.


Benefits For All:


  • Competitive behavior is fostered in players, while over-competitive behavior is discouraged in adults (e.g. coaches and players)

  • Players, parents, coaches, and club directors understand that players are unique and therefore different in interest and ability level.

  • Players stay involved in the sport throughout their lives (as players, coaches, referees, volunteers, etc.).

  • The game of soccer continues to grow, and lifelong wellness is promoted for players of all ages, genders, and levels of ability.

United Player Pathway

(LTPD) is a club initiative for improving the active and sporting development of all our players within the Club. The "United Player Pathway" relates the appropriate and age specific program to the (LTPD) model for all United players. Much of the structure is based on the intention of being able to produce a longer and more organized approach to maximizing player potential and involvement in the soccer. It also provides a platform for our coaches to support players at every level, to fulfill their potential and aim to produce a greater number of players achieving this at the highest level.


This process concerns itself with player development over the long-term, with the development needs focused into specific stages. Although, there are certain stages, they are not rigid, but are flexible, as it is player-centered at all times. These individual stages within the (LTPD) progression are related to different age ranges - chronological age is commonly used as a basis for developing players at the highest level. The below diagram shows the different stages of development in the "United Player Pathway".

A Pathway To Excellence.

Stage 4 "Succeed & Proceed"

Stage 1 - "Laying The Foundation"

Stage 2 - "Creative Discovery"

Stage 3 - "Training To Perform"

Stage 1

"Laying The Foundation"

Junior Academy Program

At this stage, the primary concern of the our coaches is to facilitate activities that caters to frequent ball contacts and the development of basic motor skills. The fascination with the ball, the desire to master it and the thrill of scoring goals provides the launching pad to a love affair with the game. The joy and pleasure of the game is best nurtured by encouraging freedom of expression and organizing play in small groups. At this stage, dribbling the ball is still the primary focus, although passing can be expected and should be encouraged in small doses. Games are 6v6 with rotating Goalkeepers and are excellent small-sided versions of the bigger game and no formal teams are created.


Winning is not a primary concern for this program. At these ages individual skill development is much more important. The Club does believes in taking the short track to winning at an early, because this cheats players in their long-term development. By stressing individual development, we will produce technically proficient players who will have the basic foundational skill-set to be able to execute tactics that are taught at the later stages.

Stage 2

"Creative Discovery"

U10-U12 Program

The motivation to learn basic skills is very high at this age level. Children gradually begin to change from self-centered to being self-critical and develop the need for group and/or team games. The game itself is central to all skills training. Small-sided games, that provide the right amount of pressure for the child's level of development are more appropriate and used as a developmental tool. In addition to improving and refining individual play through technical repetition, small-group tactical awareness is rapidly expanded. Games of 7v7 up to 9v9 with goalkeepers provide a natural balance between technical repetition and tactical complexity.


Granting players the freedom to creatively produce individual solutions to tactical and technical problems is a critical element of the United's coaching methodology. Improved field vision and support play are tactical benchmarks for this age group, and improved ball circulation is achieved as players understand more about controlling and changing the rhythm of play. Goalkeepers should be frequently rotated for 7 a side teams at U10. Goalkeepers on 9 a side teams start to become more full-time, but must still play frequently on the field to maintain outfield player technical skills in order to meet the ever increasing demands of the game required for the position.


At earlier ages, winning is not the primary emphasis of our program. At these ages individual skill development is much more important.

Stage 3

"Training To Perform"

U13-U15 Program

The "Training To Perform" stage is a crucial development period, and focuses very much on diagnosing individual strengths and areas of development in selected positions, and the subsequent planning programs in the Club's curriculum. At this stage, players want to improve, achieve, and be recognized as quality soccer players and as teammates. Demonstrating is very important at this age. Players want to see success so they can intern emulate it. Exercises are game like with the appropriate amount of pressure. While still including significant periods of technical repetition and small-sided paly to reinforce and refine the technical base, this is also an appropriate time to introduce and teach basic principles of play. The competitive structure will involve playing 11v11. At U13, patience will be requred as the players' physical and tactical dimensions adapt to the larger field size and increased numbers. For the first time, players can appreciate the basic ideas of positioning and roles within the systems of play. The pace of development quickens at this level due to the acceleration of physical and mental maturation.



The early lessons of support and mobility are expanded to evolve combination in two's and three's, and defending can also become more coordinated as players learn to relate to each other in both attack and defense. Individual and group decision-making are associated with purposeful changes in the rhythm of play, and movement away from the ball can become a critical element of problem solving.


The demand of skill training as well as training loads are increased thus provoking improvement in mental toughness, concentration and diligence. Awareness of tactics within the game becomes an important facet of the learning process for players. Players tend to be self-critical and have a strong commitment to the team at this stage. Exercises are geared towards improving decision-making under pressure, while challenging players to solve small and large group problems quickly and collectively. As defenders become stronger, faster, and more aggressive, attacking players must have the ability to have sharper instincts for creating and managing space, particularly, when playing with their backs to goal. Soccer-specific fitness exercises will become integrated into the overall training and development plan, but our coaches are advised to use caution with regard to over-training and burnout.

Stage 4

"Succeed & Proceed"

U16-U18 Program

As players progress from the "Training To Perform" stage to the "Succeed & Proceed" stage, they are ready to make the transition when they are adept at achieving consistent high-quality performances required in achieving to positive results. Winning is important in this stage, but that is not to say that it is unimportant in the earlier stages. It is simply that the emphasis in the earlier stages is on the acquisition and development of skills and strategies, and focus is placed on the learning process developing from competitive experiences, rather than on the outcome of the competition. This is the final stage of the Snohomish Youth Soccer Club's Long-Term Player Development (LTPD) model. It assumes that performance has been fully developed and moves onto the next of phase competition (USSDA Academy, ECNL, EPD, ADP, NCAA, NAIA, MLS, USL, etc.).


This is a critical time in a player's development. Many players stop playing due to other interests, lack of success, and shortage of playing opportunities. Players tend to be mentally tough, self-confident, but with a need for attention and security. There is a need for team spirit, leadership, and discipline within the team. U16 is truly the beginning of the formal "team" building years. As players begin to reach physical and technical maturity, training will seek to develop skills specific to positioning. Training becomes more focused on functional (positional) play, and fitness becomes important as a means of achieving victory. Appreciation of the various  systems of play, the study of individuals and team tendencies, and the tactical applications of the laws become very important aspects of player development.


Fulfillment of a player's potential depends on his or her own efforts, the support of his or her teammates and the unselfish guidance of his or her coach. Our players are exposed to a playing and training environment, which extends his/her mental, physical, and technical capabilities to the limit. Players will have a deep understanding of the game's principles and concepts. Players will demonstrate emotional stability when confronted with pressure situations. Our demanding and challenging training sessions and games are a must for the further development of the player.

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