The primary long-term goal of the Long Valley Soccer Progams is to ensure that our players have the technical aptitude, tactical awareness, and mental strength to succeed at the High School level and beyond.
Former US National Team Player Claudio Reyna said it best:
"Our aim is to produce skillful, creative, confident players."
Star playmaker Xavi from Barcelona FC's famed youth program:
"Some youth academies worry about winning. We worry about education."
The key for Player Development in Long Valley United is that we believe results will come from learning to play the game the right way. While we cannot throw a blind eye to results since they help determine the level of competition we play at the travel and premier levels, our main emphasis is on player development. We will not encourage a "kick and run" style of play in order to achieve results based on flashes of athleticism. While that style can be rewarded at lower levels, teams and individuals will be exposed as they progress up the soccer ladder when they encounter teams that play more of a possession-based, attacking style.
A well-played loss or tie to a quality opponent is more valued than a sloppy win over an inferior opponent. A step back to take two forward is not the end of the world...we want our players to be resilient, to be able to adequately deal with adversity on the field. We see every moment on the field as an opportunity for learning and development...both when things go well, and more importantly when things don't go as planned.
For more detailed information on the style of play being encouraged, please check out the Style and Principles of Play guide, drafted several years back by US Soccer.
Some key highlights are summarized below:
Passing and Receiving:
Passing the ball on the ground with pace from different distances and receiving the ball while keeping it moving will be encouraged in all age groups.
Note: All the tactics in the world can't help if players cannot master the skill of passing and receiving. There will be emphasis at younger ages on mastering this skill through repetition.
Ball Control and Turning:
Players will be encouraged to keep close control of the ball and use different turning techniques to move away from the defender.
Playing out from the Back:
All teams must feel comfortable playing the ball from the back through the midfield and from there to the final quarter of the field.
Possession and Transition:
All teams must try to keep possession of the ball playing a one-two touch game. Players will be encour-aged to support and move, thus creating passing options. Once the possession game is consolidated the team must learn how to transfer the ball in the most efficient way from one area of the field to another.
When possession is lost, players must react quickly and apply pressure to regain the ball. Once possession is regained, players will be positioned immediately to counter-attack.