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King of Prussia Soccer Club

Est. 1962

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King of Prussia Soccer Club Announces New Player Development Pathway for Youth Soccer in Upper Merion

01/23/2020, 12:30pm EST
By KOPSC Board

King of Prussia Soccer Club is pleased to announce a new comprehensive player development pathway. The new pathway model will include both revisions to current KOPSC programs as well as brand new academies aimed to provide an appropriate level of play for children of all ages and abilities.

 

King of Prussia Soccer Club is pleased to announce a new comprehensive player development pathway. The new pathway model will include both revisions to current KOPSC programs as well as brand new academies aimed to provide an appropriate level of play for children of all ages and abilities.

Club President Jim Roberts stated, “Our founder, Jim Baxter, wanted a place for the children of our community to play the beautiful game of soccer.  Under this new structure, we will provide this experience through a range of academies for players to be performing at a level that matches their commitment and skill. This pathway is a more natural progression from intramural to travel programs compared to the club’s previous model.”

In addition to unveiling the new pathway model, the club also announces a new strategic partnership with Maestro Soccer, LLC to appoint Andrew Duffy as Director of Coaching for the club and Keith Conway to serve as Director of Player Development. 

Together, they will play a major role in implementing the new player pathway that revises and updates the club’s former Intramural and Travel programs into 5 new levels of youth soccer instruction and game activities: 

 

JUNIOR PRUSSIANS ages 3-5 (U4-U6)

The club’s popular Junior Prussians intramural program for our very youngest players is back and now open just for players age 3 - 5!  This program will focus on creating a safe, fun, and physically active space for young players, which is an enjoyable first soccer experience for both players and parents.  The program will use a revised curriculum created by newly established Directors of Coaching and Player Development.  Players will benefit from the addition of a number of parent volunteer coaches, along with technical assistance provided by local high-school Varsity and JV players with an interest in early childhood education, serving as team assistants.  Everyone involved with the children will be operating under the guidance and instruction of the Director of Coaching and Director of Player Development.  

Each session will have both a training and a game portion.  In the training segment, volunteer coaches and team assistants will lead kids through FUNdamental, individually-oriented activities such as Sea-Ship-Shore, where players are asked to dribble a ball from the sea in the middle to the shore on one side, or the ship on another side.  This fun game teaches basic skills as it asks kids to dribble the ball in different directions, controlling the ball at their feet, while being mindful of the space around them as other players are dribbling in the same direction.  Players also develop mental concentration and awareness as coaches call out which destination they’ll dribble to next!  

The game segment is just that; a fun game!  No scores will be recorded and no standings kept.  Children will play a small game (typically 3v3) within the practice area with no goalies and no hands allowed, as players get accustomed to the most basic rules of the game.  Parents are encouraged to cheer the accomplishments of both sides, not just their child’s group, to create a positive environment for everyone.  Coaches and assistants will supervise all the activities for safe play, and to ensure all players are engaged and involved.

The goal of the program will be to keep the children having fun, being active, getting them looking forward to the next week, and for parents to enjoy their first soccer experience with their kids.  Sessions will be offered in spring, summer (early fall) fall, and if there is sufficient interest, a winter indoor session as well.

Parents or guardians are expected to provide appropriate supervision of their child at all times and remain present at the fields throughout their child’s sessions. 

 

DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY ages 6-9 (U7-U10 players)

The KOPSC Development Academy program is all-new, created following guidelines from US Youth Soccer as a technical, tactical, and socially appropriate developmental bridge between our previous Intramural and Travel programs.  Players will be assigned to specific teams for the season led by parent volunteer coaches, who will be working closely with a carefully coordinated curriculum from the Director of Coaching and Director of Player Development.   

Teams will have a once-weekly practice for one hour per night where coaches will follow prepared, detailed practice plans designed to give players the knowledge and skills they need to further their interest as soccer players.  Saturday sessions will run for one hour and fifteen minutes and will start with a review of the weekly practice exercises, followed by a small-sided game (4v4 for U7/U8 and 7v7 for U9/U10) on small lined fields, played against other Development Academy teams in house. No scores will be recorded and no standings kept.  This program will focus more on familiarizing players with the rules of the game, including simplified officiating by high-school-age youth volunteer referees, and introduce them to concepts of teamwork and basic tactics for offense and defense.

To make Development Academy soccer friendlier for busy families, parents will have the option to list up to two team-mate/carpool requests as well as a ‘busy night’ exclusion that will be taken into consideration when forming teams and assigning practice nights.  (Every effort will be made to honor all requests, but unfortunately cannot be guaranteed in every circumstance.)

The goal of the program will be for all players to gain a thorough understanding of many aspects of the game of soccer, and to motivate players to continue playing, furthering their skills development, and fostering a love of the game.  Sessions will be offered in spring and fall; the club is considering summer and winter indoor sessions as well.

 

TRAVEL ACADEMY, SELECT ACADEMY, and PREMIER ACADEMY ages 8-18 (U9-U19)

KOPSC’s current travel soccer program will now be divided into 3 new programs to be better tailored to an individual player’s ability and level of commitment.

Acceptance into these Academy programs will be based on player evaluations each spring.  These assessment evaluations will be open to all area youth athletes age 8-18.  Assessment evaluations will be individually empirically based, and value the ability of the individual over their familiarity and friendships with other players in their age group.  The results of the assessment will be made available to players’ families when a specific academy placement is offered, so players will know where their strengths are and where to concentrate their training efforts throughout the upcoming year. With new additional league placement options, KOPSC will ensure an appropriately competitive level for all players in the program based on the results of player evaluations and specific team groupings. All Travel Academy, Select Academy, and Premier Academy players will receive continued guidance and a written evaluation with personal recommendations from KOPSC’s Director of Player Development at the end of their season.

 

TRAVEL ACADEMY:

KOPSC’s new Travel Academy will closely mirror the current travel program, and will be aimed at the travel player who enjoys soccer, but also likes to play other sports or participate in different activities in the Winter and Spring. The Director of Coaching and Director of Player Development will have a new, higher degree of influence over individual team’s training practices and greater interaction with the team’s coaching staff, along with providing a specific season-long program curriculum for each team. This will help create a more unified approach to team training practices and resultant development that will benefit all players within the Travel Academy program. 

 

SELECT ACADEMY:

KOPSC’s Select Academy will provide a more consistent range of higher-ability players within these teams, as determined by Spring player assessment evaluations. Players in this invitation-only program will participate in leagues with a more rigorous level of competition. They will also be asked for a significant level of personal engagement with their team and must be committed to enhancing their individual game through attendance at team practices and league games, as well as additional training opportunities throughout the year. 

Practice and training sessions will be run by the collaborative effort of licensed, professional trainers and trained experienced volunteer coaches with a structured curriculum created by the club’s Director of Coaching and Director of Player Development. Both newly formed teams and current teams migrating to Select Academy will be encouraged to adopt a year-round level of play with outdoor leagues and tournaments in Spring, Summer, and Fall, as well as indoor training and playing options in the Winter months.

 

PREMIER ACADEMY

For the truly elite player/teams, as demonstrated by outstanding results from Spring player assessment evaluations, KOPSC is pleased to announce a new Premier Academy program. Upon being invited to be a part of this top-level program, players with exceptional ability will be placed with a team led by a dedicated licensed, paid professional coach that will work with the team exclusively from beginning to end.  Premier Academy teams will have the commitment to practice, train and play year-round, participating in the highest-level Fall and Spring outdoor leagues, Winter indoor leagues, elite tournaments and state-wide cup competitions in the spring. As well as other player-specific training, to prepare players for successful high school and college playing careers. 

The goal of all three of these programs, to varying degrees, will be to develop players’ physical performance, technical proficiency, and tactical awareness.   

OTHER COMPONENTS OF THE NEW PATHWAY PROGRAM

In addition to these 5 new program offerings, KOPSC will promote additional specific training opportunities for players throughout the year, including Specialty Clinics, Summer Camps, and in-house Winter Indoor programs.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity for your player to take their game to the next level - register for these new upcoming programs today!  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for all the latest happening at the club!

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