Academy Player Program

The Academy Player Program consists of competitive teams designed for ages 10-19. 


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.

Technical Emphasis

• Passing and Receiving

• Turning

• Running with the ball

• Dribbling

• Shooting

• Ball control

• 1v1 Attacking

Tactical Emphasis

• Attacking Principles

• Possession

• Combination Play

• Playing out of the back

• Defending Principles

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

• Heading

• Passing and Receiving  

• Shooting

• Receiving to turn

• Ball control

• 1v1 Attacking & Defending

Tactical Emphasis

• Attacking Principles

• Finishing - Final Third

• Transition

• Possession

• 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.

Advanced 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.

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.