U.S. Soccer Supports Development of Player 'Intangibles'
In an effort to continue to provide the elite youth soccer players in the Development Academy with unique opportunities to improve their development, U.S. Soccer has partnered with EXACT Sports, an expert in behavioral assessments and sport psychology tools.
During 2012, Exact Sports will monitor and train the more than 4,000 players and coaches across the 78 Development Academy clubs using the Mental Achievement Program (MAP). The MAP tool will provide a detailed behavioral profile to every athlete in the Academy and provide them with the tools to increase characteristics such as motivation, confidence, competitiveness, leadership and mental toughness.
“The MAP has been successfully utilized by our National Teams and will be another exclusive opportunity for the players in the Development Academy to improve their overall development,” said U.S. Development Academy Director of Scouting Tony Lepore. “Along with the physical and technical tools, mental preparation is an essential component for success in soccer. The MAP should help players better understand the mental attributes required of them to maximize performance on and off-field.”
EXACT’s Mental Achievement Program was developed by a team of scientists that have expertise in the monitoring of athlete development. Development Academy clubs join over 60 professional teams such as the Minnesota Twins, Pittsburgh Penguins, and New York Red Bull, and more than 100 NCAA soccer teams including University of North Carolina, Wake Forest University, and Indiana University, in using the MAP to aid coaching staff and elevate player performance. “There are many elements within soccer that are mental, such as managing adversity during a corner kick, being confident in goal, showing leadership on the field and interacting with coaches and teammates,” said Executive Director of EXACT Sports Barry Tarter.
Each Academy player will have the ability to annually update his MAP behavioral profile. The program will be utilized by his club coaches to assist in Academy training and preparation.
“Development Academy clubs will get unrestricted access to EXACT’s team of mental experts,” said Tarter. Our priority is to assist each club’s coaching staff in better preparing their team and players for success at the highest level.”