Player Development Philosophy
ASA believes in developing the person, and then the player. Using a player-centered decision making process we will focus on the long term development of our individual players that will result in the benefit of our local communities and affiliated clubs. Our programs will emphasize not only the technical, tactical, physical and psychological components of the game, but also the personal character development of our players as well. We will teach our players to understand why we do what we do on and off of the field. We believe that it is our duty as coaches to articulate how the game should be played and therefore train the way we want to play. We acknowledge the fact that at times we may endure short-term losses for the benefit of the long-term development of our players. We also realize the importance that match playing time plays in the development of our players, and therefore will ensure that each of our players are placed accordingly into environments conducive to their individual success.
Phase 1 – ASA Rising Stars Foundation Phase (5 and 6 year olds)
This phase in the development of our players will serve as the brick and mortar for ASA and each of its’ individual affiliated clubs. This phase serves as the player’s introduction to the game of soccer, and as such, our primary goal to provide a fun, positive environment which stimulates a love for the game. Players will be introduced to basic fundamental movement skills and individual soccer skills with an emphasis on ball possession. These skills will be introduced through the use of fun games that encourage free play and self-discovery. Each player should have a ball at all times during these sessions.
Phase 2 – Fundamentals (7 and 8 year olds)
During the fundamentals phase of development, we will begin forming ASA developmental travel teams from the Rising Stars player pools and player identification training sessions. The number of teams for each age group will vary depending on the total number of players within that age group’s player pool. These teams will register to play through the New York Club Soccer League’s JSS program. Training during this phase will take place twice a week during the Fall and Spring seasons and once a week during the Summer and Winter seasons. Training sessions will be one hour long, and continue to heavily focus on the technical development of the players within a positive environment. These teams will participate in one league match per week during the Fall and Spring seasons, and one tournament during each of the Winter and Summer seasons. Players will still have the option of participating within their individual club’s intramural program, but their ASA training and games must take priority if there is a conflict.
Phase 3 – Learning to Train (9 to 12 year olds)
At the conclusion of the ASA developmental seasons, tryouts will be held to form a first and second team for Phase 3. (If the player pool is large enough 3 teams will be formed) These teams will be referred to as ASA Premier Black and Premier Red. These teams will be registered to play through the NYCSL to allow players to float between both rosters based upon their level of development throughout the course of the season. Teams will be selected by ASA team coaches, ASA Technical Directors and the club’s Director of Coaching based upon assessments made during the Rising Stars and developmental programs as well as multiple tryout sessions. These teams will train twice a week throughout their Fall and Spring seasons, for an hour and a half per session, as well as once a week during the Winter and Summer seasons. Training during this Phase will continue to include technical repetitions, but start to incorporate small group tactics with a focus on the principles of play. Our aim during this Phase is to develop technically superior players who possess the ability to think on the field. Players will now be challenged within a positive but competitive environment. In order to monitor player development within each age group, teams from the same age groups will train simultaneously during the week, oftentimes combining players for small portions of training to determine individual progress within the group. In addition to training, and weekly matches, these teams will enter a number of tournaments throughout the year.
Phase 4 – Training to Compete (13 to 18 year olds)
At this Phase in the development plan, the goal is to provide our players with an elite program that prepares them for playing at the next level, whether that may be high school, college or beyond. In this Phase, teams within the same age groups will continue to train simultaneously, but player movement between rosters will be limited so as to create continuity within our teams. Teams will be placed into leagues appropriately based upon their current level of play. Training within this Phase will take place twice a week throughout the course of the year, with one match per week during the Fall and Spring seasons. Training sessions will be one hour and a half in duration, and focus on small group and team tactics, while still addressing the technical, physical and psychological needs of our players required to excel at the next level. These teams will compete in a number of tournaments and college showcases throughout the year, once again determined by the team’s current age and level of play.