Professional coaching at all age groups
Starting at U6 and going all the way to U18, we have put together programs that meet the unique needs of our players as they move through the various ages. Here is how players at various ages are supported at the team level by staff coaches.
U5-U8: Active Start Program. VUFC launched this progressive program in 2013-14 for U5 to U7 players and will add U8 to it after a highly successful and well-received first year. Active Start is offered in three eight week terms (fall, winter and spring). Players can sign up for any or all terms. All fall and spring sessions are on artificial turf. Winter sessions for U5 are in a gym while U6 players have the option of choosing to remain outside or go into a gym. U7 players remain outside in the winter term. All sessions are overseen by VUFC Academy coaches using practice plans, circulated to coaches well beforehand, that are fully compliant with the Canadian Soccer Association's (CSA) Long Term Player Development (LTPD) model.
U9 to U18: Embedded Coaching Program
After getting great feedback from both team coaches and staff coaches the past two years, we will be expanding the format for what we have been calling Collective Practices for our U11-12 Gold teams to the Embedded Coaching program.
What this means is that staff coaches will now work collectively with all the teams on the field at any given practice time. The teams will be given a practice plan ahead of time and the staff coach will lead the session by collectively demonstrating the drills and small sided games, explaining both the content and the coaching points. Teams will then return to their portion of the field and execute the practice while the staff coach circulates to help with organizational details, content and coaching points. The staff coach may call teams in more than once during the session to demonstrate parts of the session.
This enables far more contact between staff coaches and teams. Instead of what has been 3-4 scheduled practices dedicated to individual teams, teams will now get age and level appropriate practice plans and 10-12 collective practices over the course of the season. This will be complemented by enhanced game support on weekends (not necessarily from the same staff coach) two to four times per season.
The new Embedded Coach program will also facilitate better player evaluation as all staff coaches working in this program will submit player reports twice per season. This moves us even closer to the in-season evaluation process called for by the CSA's Long Term Player Development program and will figure significantly in player evaluations for the following season's teams.
Information on the various VanU Academy programs is available here