CHICAGO (April 14, 2011) – As part of its continuing effort to improve player development in the United States, U.S. Soccer will unveil its new coaching curriculum during the U.S. Soccer + SPARQ Player Development Summit from April 19-21 at Nike International Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.
U.S. Soccer Youth Technical Director Claudio Reyna will present the curriculum on April 20 to more than 150 of the top youth technical leaders in the country, including coaches and technical directors from clubs in U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy.
The curriculum concentrates on improving the youngest players by creating more organized, age-appropriate training sessions, developing coaching practices and creating an environment that is fun for the players.
“Emphasizing proper coaching and training is critical for our ability to produce elite players and raise the level of play in this country overall,” said Reyna, a former Men’s National Team captain and veteran of four FIFA World Cups. “We have created this curriculum to serve as a blueprint for the thousands of coaches across the country working with young players at an important time in their development.”
Attendees will participate in lectures and field sessions led by international and domestic soccer experts, as well as experts in non-soccer fields who will discuss the best ways to develop success. After participating in the summit, these elite youth coaches and technical directors will be armed with the tools to disseminate key messages and areas of focus to their respective communities.
In addition to Reyna, former U.S. Men’s National Team forward Brian McBride will discuss the value of functional training in relation to player development. The three-time FIFA World Cup veteran and first American to score in multiple World Cups will also conduct a field session with U.S. Youth National Team staff.
International trainer Paco de Miguel, a former assistant to Rafael Benitez at Liverpool and Inter Milan, will also be on hand to speak about the creation of a professional training plan and its application on the training field. He will also be part of a question and answer panel with Reyna, McBride and additional U.S. Soccer staff.
Dan Coyle, author of “The Talent Code,” will open the summit on Tuesday evening with a discussion on how expertise is developed and how to foster an environment for excellence. Prior to Coyle’s speech, attendees will watch the U.S. U-18 Men’s National Team face the Portland Timbers reserves. The exhibition match will take place on Ronaldo Field East at Nike International Headquarters, and U.S head coach Mike Matkovich has named a squad that includes 20 current Academy players from 17 different clubs.
On April 21, SPARQ, Nike’s performance division and U.S. Soccer’s partner in performance and assessment, will display the latest methods in functional performance training, a practice critical to maximizing athletic potential in youth soccer players. SPARQ will reveal findings from SPARQ Testing of Development Academy and U.S. Youth National Team players, and provide coaches with an overview on how to effectively integrate physical conditioning work into their technical and tactical training programs.
SPARQ Performance Director Paul Winsper, former strength and conditioning coach for Newcastle United and more recently Toronto FC, will outline SPARQ’s training philosophy and methodology. The SPARQ Science team of Krist Homsi and Eric Hakeman will share information derived from the athlete assessment that SPARQ and U.S. Soccer have been partnering on since 2008. And Damian Roden, Head of Sports Science for the Welsh National Team and formerly with Manchester City, will be discussing training energy systems development in the pre-season.
ussoccer.com will provide coverage of all the summit’s activities, including the full U.S. Soccer curriculum which will be made available for viewing and download. Studio 90 will also be on location providing video updates from the summit and interviews with Reyna, McBride and others.
The presentation of the curriculum is another major step in the implementation of the framework developed by the Player Development Task Force, which was created in 2006 to review all aspects of player development in the United States and recommend a course of action.
The curriculum builds on the successful launch and growth of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, which will hold its annual meeting on April 21 during the summit. Initiated in the fall of 2007 after a detailed review of player development systems in the U.S. and across the world, the Development Academy provides players, coaches and referees a nationally-coordinated program designed to enhance their development environment.
The Academy has improved the training environment; provided relevant, high-level matches on a consistent basis; increased the level and efficiency of scouting for the national teams and provided players, coaches and referees with more structured programming.