Welcome to the summer outdoor season for 2011! With the season now underway, we wanted to take the opportunity to communicate some exciting technical changes at the club that will be instituted in the fall and into next year. These changes address the key issues as identified by you, the users of our club, which informed the strategic technical direction the club has committed to in its new Five Year Strategic Plan.
In launching our new strategic plan this year, we adopted the motto ‘Advancing Every Player’. You’ll see it on the club’s team jerseys later this year. It means we’re committed to providing the best for every player, whether they play Rep A or House League. To do so, we must put a strong emphasis on coach development across ALL our programs, but particularly in our House League. And we must provide the highest quality training to as many of our talented players as possible.
Outlined below are the primary issues and the action steps the club will be taking to bring about significant improvements to our technical program.
Consistent and Quality Coaching throughout House League
Too often, hardworking but inexperienced House League coaches are not given the support and development they need to improve. They directly impact the quality of what we offer as a Club and we must provide better support for them so that all of our players receive a consistent level of quality coaching.
New Coaching Staff Appointments!
We’ll be appointing new professional coaching positions that will give much needed direction and support to all our coaches, not just though coaching Rep teams.
- 16 Age Group Head Coaches will manage each age group and each gender from U11 to U18. Reporting to the Technical Director, the Age Group Head Coach will be the technical ‘point person’ for your child’s age group. They’ll directly coach the Rep A team in their age group, oversee the development of the entire Rep program in their age group and ensure that emerging talent in the House League is properly scouted, assessed and brought up if appropriate. They’ll also help in the development of the coaches in their age group. These positions will be recruited over the summer to start in early fall 2011.
- To drive stronger coach education, we’ll also be hiring a fulltime Coach Development Manager over the summer to commence in early fall! This person will identify coach education and training needs across the club’s entire pool of approximately 900 coaches from U4 and up, and host coaching courses and mentoring programs to develop them. Reporting to the Technical Director, this person will also manage coach assessment and assist in coach recruitment.
Heightened Training for all Rep Players during their Key Development Years
In recent years, the club has run an Academy program geared to provide heightened training for the club’s top youth talent. The program has run at a youth level (U7-U10) and a junior level (U11-U13).While the program has been effective, it has been limited to the small numbers of kids who make up the Rep A program only and has required extra fees from participating parents. Children who are still in their formative years and may develop to become accomplished players, but are playing in Rep B or C are missing out. This is something we want to change.
An Expanded and Restructured Academy Program
We now believe this program should be accessible to all players in the Rep program at key developmental years. As such, the program should be an integral part of the Rep program, included as part of a child’s club Rep fees, rather than managed as a separate, stand-alone program.
- Starting in fall 2011, we will convert the current Academy to larger, stronger, fully-rounded Rep training program. We’ll be removing the term ‘Academy’ and replacing it with a stronger Rep training program for Rep A teams from U11 to U18, Rep B teams from U11 to U16, and Rep C teams from U11 to U14. Under this program, all Rep players will receive two training sessions per week year-round, with their regular match schedule in the summer.
- In order to facilitate this new training regime, we will be introducing a semi-annual winter and summer Rep fee structure. This fee will cover all training costs throughout the year under the new program, as well as other costs currently covered in the Rep fee such as equipment, league/district fees, referee fees, etc. We will also be providing TeamSnap software support to the Rep teams as a complimentary value-add.
- At age groups U8-U10, we’ll establish an Advanced Development Program, which will provide advanced coaching to top emerging talent. Top coaches will be retained to run this program, who will report directly to the Technical Director. This program will be similar to the current Youth Academy (U8-U10). However, the focus will be to bring as many players in to the program as possible, rather than limit it to just a few. A separate fee will be applicable to this program, as currently exists with the Youth Academy.
Substantial Commitment to Formal Player Assessments
Starting this fall, we’ll be committing to ensuring every player at the Club receives a formal assessment by the time they turn ten years old. This is a substantial commitment! But it’s vital that every player is properly assessed and accurately streamed into the right program for their development. This will also allow us to ensure top talent is not overlooked when inviting players into the U8-U10 Advanced Development Program. Beyond this, we’ve invested in advanced online-based player assessment software for our coaches, so your child’s assessment can be delivered right to your inbox while giving you the facility to ask questions and clarify the assessment.
Greater Access for House League Players to High Quality Training
If your child is not selected for the Advanced Development Program or the Rep program, we believe he or she should still have access to extra high quality training. As such, we will be expanding our highly successful Open Development Program to provide top coaching to as many kids as possible who want it.
These are exciting changes that will improve the value we offer you, our fee-paying users. As we move to institute these changes, I urge club users to connect with the club and keep informed by:
- Reading the Technical Development Plan
- Reading our Frequently Asked Questions
- Tuning in to our web-streamed presentation on these changes in August 2011. Families of our players and our coaches will receive a link to this presentation when the presentation is available for viewing
- Attending the question and answer session at the club that will be scheduled the week after the web-streamed presentation is made available. Information on the August Q&A session will be sent to the families of our players and our coaches in a separate communication.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and we look forward to implementing these exciting changes and continuing to provide a better service to you at Oakville Soccer Club!
Chief Administrative Officer
Oakville Soccer Club
Oakville Soccer Club