Mount Washington Valley Soccer Club

Director of Coaching Bulletins

Apr 16, 2016

New mandated player development curriculum for our US players

April 16, 2016
Technical Director Bulletin No. 2

Hey Coaches and Parents and our great soccer community. (Yeah, that includes the old guys and gals who play pick up soccer in the gyms!)

If you haven’t heard, US Soccer and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America ( NSCAA) have come out with new mandated player development curriculum for our US players. The goal is to try to standardize a progression of development, competencies and expectations for each age group. This will hopefully bring a consistency and common language for all of us involved in soccer in our country. So here is some brief information to remind you or introduce you to the topic.

US Soccer has created 4 stages of player development:
Initial Stage: 5-8 years old
Basic Stage: 9-12 years old
Intermediate Stage: 13-14 years old
Advanced Stage: 15-18 years old

The NSCAA version is as follows:
Stage 1: Active Start 4-6 years old
Stage 2: Fundamentals: 7-9 years old
Stage 3: Learning to Train: 10-12 years old
Stage 4: Training to Train: 13-15 years old
Stage 5: Training to Compete: 16-19 years old

Coupled with both distinctions in age groups is the affirmation of the importance of small sided games (SSG’s) in training our players. The logic for Small Sided Games are:
- Increase number of player touches on the ball
- Increase size of available space and more physical work
- Players more involved in attacking and defending
- Less players chasing after the ball
- Fewer decisions to make in less complicated environments
- Gradual transition in player numbers creates a clear learning pathway
- Players report to have more fun
- Goal scoring opportunities are generally more frequent
- More players playing
- Consistent game formats assist in coach’s planning
- Clubs can better program coaching education
- Coaches can develop philosophies, coaching plans, and content

Lastly, we now follow the field sizes and number of players on the field noted below during training and games:
Age Players Field size Goal size
U8 4v4 20 yards x 30 yards 4 ft x 6 ft
U10 7x7 30 yards x 47 yards 6.5 ft x 18.5 ft
U12 9x9 47 yards x 75 yards 6.5 ft x 18.5 ft
U14+ 11v11 75 yards x 110 yards +/- 8 ft x 24 ft

So, there you have it…...a quick snap shot of what we are doing as coaches and teachers of the beautiful game for our soccer players.

If you have any questions you can always email me at

Love the game!
David Hart
Technical Director