Part 1: CoachesNet caught up with U.S. Soccer National Staff Coach Roberto Lopez during a recent training camp at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. For this CoachesNet Insider edition Coach Lopez shows us the training journal the team used for the week long camp.
Part 2: Coming up next Coach Lopez answers a series of Insider questions.
The mini-camp took place at the same that U-17 head coach Wilmer Cabrera took 21 players to England. The camp in Bradenton was a mixture of training and games that allowed the staff to evaluate individual players within a competitive group setting. Coach Keith Fulk and his staff held each player to a very high standard and the players were constantly held accountable for their performance. The volume and intensity of training was designed and monitored so that the players would always show at their best.
U.S. U-17 Men's National Team Mini-Camp
IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Keith Fulk (Head Coach)
Roberto Lopez (Assistant Coach)
Rene Miramontes (Assistant Coach)
Peter Mellor (Assistant Coach, Goalkeeping)
- The mini-camp was held as U-17 head coach Wilmer Cabrera took 21 players to England.
- All players on the trip to England were born in 1992 except for four who were born in 1993.
- The team used The Chelsea F.C. training grounds in London during their stay in preparation for the U-17 World Cup in Nigeria.
- Assistant coach Keith Fulk stayed in Bradenton, Fla. to train the 19 remaining players, plus a group of 20 players that were invited to the mini-camp.
- All players invited to the mini-camp were born in 1994.
- The 20 players invited to the camp were recruited from across the U.S. and various leagues and teams.
- The primary goal was to identify potential 1994 birth year players that could be considered for residency next January, leading up to The U-17 World Cup in 2011.
- The U-17 staff plans all their activities in a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly manner (as shown in the picture).
Yearly Planning Chart / Conditioning Chart
- With the exception of the second day, training was limited to once a day for 1.5 hours.
- Each warm-up was done in a dynamic manner with emphasis on form and movement that has a direct bearing on the game, as designed by strength and conditioning coach Paul Caffrey.
- Within the training cycle, one session was devoted to technical training to expose weaknesses in that area of the game. Functional training was another component during training, in order to evaluate the principles of attack and defense within their positions both individually and collectively.
- Players were also evaluated in full-sided games; the group was divided into three teams. Inter-squad games were played and on the final day of camp a game was played vs. the IMG U-18 team.
- Players were introduced to active recovery, nutrition, and were shown a presentation on how the U-17 residency program works and given a tour of the IMG facilities.
Day 1: September 22 – Arrival Day
- Players arrived in the evening and were met by U-17 Coordinator Matt Burke and coach Keith Fulk.
- Each player was given a schedule and arranged into their rooms.
Day 2: September 23 - Morning Training
- Dynamic warm-up with the ball,
- Two groups of 18 players in half a field.
- The two groups were separated in the middle by two rows of small hurdles.
- The activity was comprised of one ball per two players. One player had to play the ball through small gates to a teammate. On command the players stretched and jumped over hurdles. The sequence was repeated three times with different variations, A) pass ball though, B) wall pass and C) three fast passes (see diagram).
- The goalkeepers worked separately with coach Peter Mellor.
- Players then broke into two 9v9 cone games (see diagram. One game was supervised by coach Miramontes and the other game by Lopez while Fulk oversaw the whole session. The game itself had three variations A) hit opponents cone and bring back to own end B) hit opponents cone and bring own cone to opponents end and C) place cones where desired, and upon hitting a cone bring back to own side.
- Cool down and stretch.
- Staff met after the training session to review.
Day 2: September 23 - Afternoon Training
- The afternoon session focused on technique.
- The session began with a 5v2 warm-up with dynamic stretching.
- Miramontes had the players in groups of two, with one ball per group, about 15 yards apart from each other. Players were asked to pass and receive the ball using different variations. There was a two touch limit.
- Receive the ball and pass it back with the right foot.
- Receive the ball and pass it back with the left foot.
- Receive the ball with the left foot and pass it back with the right foot.
- Receive the ball with the right foot and pass it back with the left foot.
- Receive the ball, pass it back, spin off and receive and pass back with opposite foot.
- Lopez put the players in groups of four. Two players lined up 10 yards apart and about 40 yards from the other two players in the group.
- Play a short one-two, switch positions and hit a long driven ball on the ground.
- Each exercise ran for eight minutes. Players used only their right foot first and then switched.
- There was a one touch restriction.
- The same exercise was repeated but this time with long driven balls in the air.
- The session ended with a cool down and stretching.
Day 3: September 24
- The warm-up consisted of movement and coordination exercises and stretching.
- Technical work was done in pairs, including receiving with different parts of the body and heading.
- Coach Mellor worked with the goalkeepers.
- The coaching staff organized a 6v6 tournament.
- There were six rounds of games (two teams with a bye each round).
- Each team played four games (five minute games). The first rounds were followed by semi-finals and a final.
- The session ended with a cool down and stretching.
- The staff met to discuss player performances and training mentality.
Coach Fulk addresses the team after the training session
Tour of IMG Facilities
Cool down after training
Day 4: September 25
- Warm-up with IPI Training Coach.
- 1v1’s, 2v1’s, 2v2’s and 3v2’s to goal with goalkeepers.
- Two groups going on simultaneously, one on each half of the field.
- One group was with Miramontes and the other group with Lopez. Fulk observed both groups.
- Cool down and stretching.
- Teams were then divided by the staff based on the performance of each player up to this point in camp.
Day 5: September 26 (inter-squad games)
- Players were divided into three teams.
- Team One and Two Team warmed-up.
- Warm-up was done in a 20’x40’ grid.
- Players were divided into two groups of five plus a neutral player.
- Two balls were used and players moved between each group.
- Passing and moving the ball within the group but with game like intensity (included 2nd cycle of stretching).
- 5v5+1 keep away game (3rd cycle of stretching).
- 5v5+1 line game.
- Players knocked long balls getting themselves ready for kick off.
- The games were 30 minutes long.
- Team One beat Team Two 3-0.
- Team Three warmed up.
- Team One beat Team Three 4-0.
- Team Two beat Team Three 2-1.
- The staff met to discuss the games and to select a squad (based on performance) to face the IMG U-18s.
Day 6: September 27 (game vs. IMG U-18s)
Coach Keith Fulk addresses the team in a pre-game meeting
- Used the same warm-up as the previous day.
- The teams were chosen based on their performance the previous day.
- All games were 30 minutes long.
- Team Three played IMG U-18s to a 0-0 tie.
- Teams One and Two played each other to 0-0 tie.
- Team Two beat IMG U-18s 1-0.
- Team One beat IMG U-18s 2-0.
- A meeting was held with the players to close the camp.
- The staff met to discuss who should to be invited back to a follow-up camp in October.
- Departures in the evening and following morning for players and staff.
End of Camp
Up next coach Lopez answers a series of Insider questions.
Stay tuned for future Insider postings on the U.S. National Teams.
Questions and comments can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.