The AUFC Recreational program is for more serious soccer players who are looking to get professional coaching and go on to play travel soccer. Our goal is to develop successful young soccer players with a good technical foundation, ready for the challenges of Travel Soccer.
A Player Focused Approach to Youth Soccer, emphasis is development over winning. "Winning is important, it’s a soccer game and you play to win, but the most important part in youth especially at the younger ages is to have coaches understand and focus on development and on teaching and not the weekend game.”· Claudio Reyna, U.S. Soccer Youth Technical Director
The Reds Soccer Academy at AUFC is focused on helping young players develop soccer skills while enjoying the sport. Through a variety of developmentally appropriate activities, free play and fun games, players will learn basic techniques for dribbling, passing, and receiving the ball. AUFC Players will be given the freedom to try their skills in a game setting without worrying about the repercussions of failure. In short, the primary goal is to find fun ways to develop soccer skills and a passion for the game. Players will train with AUFC professional coaching staff and play home and away games against other NOVA soccer clubs.
Eligibility, Registration, and Cost
The Junior Reds Academy at AUFC is open to players who are in first and second grade and are looking to play travel soccer. Players may register for the Reds Soccer Academy at Annandale United F.C. Website (http://leagues.bluesombrero.com/fcannandale). The cost for participation is $150.00. This covers the following fees and costs: Virginia State Soccer Association Player Registration, Fairfax County Park Fees, Annandale United F.C. Soccer Club Player Registration, Coaching Fees. Uniform fee is $25. This is a program that is looking to provide players with a smoother transition to travel soccer.
Our Approach to Coaching
“Children in the U8 age group still play predominantly as individuals and occasionally with a partner”· Sam Snow, U.S. Youth Soccer Director of Coaching, U.S. Youth Soccer Player Development Model At this stage in their development U8 players are in the ‘golden age’ of acquiring information. We refer to them as little sponges. However, they are still very ‘me-centric’.It is essential that we use this time in their development to help them acquire the appropriate skills so they will be prepared to learn the appropriate tactics they will need to compete at the older age groups. “Everyone forgets today’s score before the end of the season, but decades later the children still remember the adults whose affection and support remained steadfast regardless of the scoreboard”· Douglas E. Abrams, Villanova Sports Journal, 2002 Our training focus will be on each players technical skill set. Reds players make plenty of mistakes. And while we will work to help players learn from their mistakes, it is of vital importance that players have the freedom to try new skills that may lead to those mistakes. And more importantly we must praise players’ efforts and successes when trying those skills. When we tell a player we are impressed with a specific skill we saw them use we are encouraging them to do it again. An important part of a player’s soccer development is their decision making skills. If, after a mistake, we dictate what the correct decision should have been we have robbed the player of a chance to develop their decision making skills. If, instead, we ask the player what they could have done differently we are challenging them to come up with a solution to the problem on their own.
We will use the Annandale United F.C. Professional coaching staff to oversee all sessions. We strongly believe that we have to invest in our youth players and we are dedicated to providing the best coaching that we can.
U8 players will be taught the following technical skills:· Basic ball manipulation including a variety of dribbling techniques which encourage the use of all surfaces of the foot.· Short passing technique using the inside of the foot for maximum accuracy.· Receiving the ball using a variety of foot surfaces so the ball moves in the direction they want to play.· Basics of using team play to maintain possession of the ball.· When it is most appropriate to dribble and when it is most appropriate to pass.
Players will attend two, 60 minute practices a week. Practices will take place at Mason District Park. Practices will last for approx. 8 weeks.
Unlike most recreational leagues, Reds players at Annandale United F.C. will not be split into well defined teams. In fact, several ‘teams’ worth of players will all practice together. There are numerous reason why this is advantageous to both players and coaches. Mainly, practicing together allows coaches to match players of similar skill levels together so every child has the opportunity to achieve some success. Also, by practicing as ‘one team’ we eliminate the ‘us vs. them’ mentality that often causes players, coaches, and parents to focus on winning instead of player development.
As recommended by U.S. Youth Soccer and Virginia State Soccer Association, game format will be 4v4 with no goal keepers or 5v5 with a goalkeeper. Players will use a size 4 ball.Players in the U8 Soccer Academy will participate in 8 game days. On game days, players will be divided into teams of between 5 and 8 players. Each team will play one game (two, twenty five-minute halves). Teams will change for each game day. Games will be played against other teams comprised of Reds Soccer players. Each season we will host and travel to another club to play a "travel game" - other clubs will be local Northern VA.
Season Schedule Practices – will take place at Mason Distrcit Park Monday and Wednesday from 6-7pm. Games will be played Saturday mornings at Mason District Park. The season starts at the beginning of September and Concludes in early November.
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