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Academy Player Program

Basic Stage  |  Intermediate Stage  |  Advanced Stage

The Academy Player Program consists of competitive teams designed for ages 9-19. 


Players will learn technical and tactical skills that will help them play at their highest level.  


Academy level players are placed on teams according to age.


SDA training is specialized for each age group and is broken down into three stages of play: Basic, Intermediate and Advanced.

Basic Stage Breakdown (U10 – U12)

• Pre-pubescent players from ages 9 to 12 have a special ability to learn, which makes this the right age to work on specific soccer techniques and skills. Developing good technique is essential at this age.

• 1v1 and 2v1 attacking and defending situations are important in developing individual skills, while the passing technique is important in developing team skills.

• Small-sided games are used to develop basic attacking and defensive principles. Other important aspects of tactical training are possession, combination play, transition and finishing in the final third, as well as zonal defending. Players will rotate in two or three different positions to avoid early specialization.

• Speed, coordination, balance, and agility are the main physical aspects to improve at this stage.


Technical Emphasis

Passing and Receiving


Running with the ball



Ball control

1v1 Attacking

Tactical Emphasis

Attacking Principles


Combination Play

Playing out of the back

Defending Principles

Basic Stage

Intermediate Stage Breakdown (U13 – U14)

• At this stage, training sessions are oriented more toward tactics and the

player will practice in bigger spaces. 


• Strength and endurance should be part of the fitness training.


• Coaching methods have to consider and preserve players’ health since they will be experiencing many changes due to puberty at this stage.


• Warm-ups and cool downs are essential, as is dynamic flexibility.


Technical Emphasis


Passing and Receiving  


Receiving to turn

Ball control

1v1 Attacking & Defending

Tactical Emphasis

Attacking Principles

Finishing - Final Third



Combination Play

Switching Play

Playing out of the back


Advanced Stage Breakdown (U15 – U19)

• Tactical training and small-sided games are an essential part of the training at this stage. Attacking and defending principles must be part of all games. Important aspects of the tactical training are speed of play, quick transition, counter attacking and finishing in the final third, as well

as pressing.

• Technique will focus on speed and accuracy. Passing and finishing are two of the main techniques emphasized at this stage. Part of the technical training will be position specific (e.g. defender: passing, center midfield players: receiving to turn and strikers:


• The physical aspect of the game is key at this stage, so specific skills will be developed in the weekly training routine: endurance, strength, and speed.

• Players should be expected to show commitment to the team, concentration in training sessions and competitiveness during the game.


Curriculum Objectives


Technical: Focus on speed of passing and receiving technique as well as ball control in small and big spaces.

Tactical: Application of attacking and defending principles at speed.

Physical: Development of aerobic power, acyclic speed and explosive strength.

Psychosocial: Commitment to teammates in accomplishing specific tasks.

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