"I believe that players should be treated individually. Each and every person that arrives at FutAcademy deserves the opportunity to learn, experience and enjoy playing football. It is our obligation as coaches to give players the tools to play the game we love and push them to reach their potential. All players should have the opportunity to play matches and everyone deserves the chance to be coached.
Our team of coaches follow curriculum guidelines designed on a European coaching model whereby the individual player is at the forefront of the session. Individual technical coaching leads to more gifted players who in turn learn tactics at an appropriate age to put into practice their knowledge, expertise and abilities."
Coach Luke Thorp, FutAcademy Program Co-ordinator
Phase I
Fun, Fun, Fun!

In this phase players should be encouraged to DISCOVER ways to manipulate the football. Senses should be stimulated. The use of hands should be encouraged rather than prohibited.

Balance, co-ordination, gross and fine motor skills should be developed through FUN interactive games.

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Ages 3 - 6 years
Players should be encouraged to participate fully in the class and activities should be short and stimulating.
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Phase II
Let the Game be the Teacher

Players should be encouraged to continue to discover ways to manipulate the football but in a more organised environment. Boundaries should be introduced. Rules & regulations should also be introduced and adhered to.

TECHNICAL coaching commences with introductions to skills such as dribbling, turning, shooting, passing and receiving.

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Ages 7 - 9 years
More formal matches are also introduced whereby players can learn about authoritative figures, limits and boundaries, time constraints etc… Match outcomes are NOT important and keeping score should be discouraged.
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Phase III
Matches are a celebration of Training Concepts

Players are entered into more formal regular competition. Training should focus on becoming more proficient in technical areas. All players should be developing proficiency in both feet.

Players will also begin to learn some very basic tactical skills. This phase sees a transition from a 7v7 match format to 9v9 format.

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Ages 10 - 12 years
Players should be encouraged to rotate positions on the field in order to learn new skills, techniques, roles and responsibilities according to the demands of each position.

This should be taught in monthly blocks; i.e. 4 weeks defensive position then 4 weeks midfield etc… Matches processes lead to outcomes

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Phase IV
Technically Proficient: Tactically Astute

Players should be proficient in most technical areas and learning will now focus more on the tactical side of their development.

Team shape, positional responsibilities, functions in different formations should be taught whilst highlighting the fact that players can make mistakes, but will learn from them.

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Matches should be used to teach players the roles & responsibilities of different positions within 11v11 matches. Player rotation still occurs whilst not so radical.

Players should be tested by playing on both sides of the field and encouraged to see the benefits of tactical fundamentals such as “playing out from the back”, “pressing” and “quick transitions”.

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Phase V
Winning is Temporary, Development is Permanent

Winning becomes a more serious focus in this phase, however it is important to continue to understand that players are still developing. Their tactical knowledge and understanding of the game should become more proficient.

Techniques albeit proficient, must be practised with regularity and tested in competitive training and match environments.

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Players should be encouraged to self-evaluate in order to reach in game solutions as well as reflect constructively on both their individual performance as well as that of their team.
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Player Development Diagram

It is important to understand that players develop at different rates and that everyone is an individual. ALL players that attend FutAcademy classes will follow our Philosophy Diagram (right) and depending on their age will focus on different areas.

The diagram depicts what competitive format players should be playing, whether they should be learning techniques or tactics, whether they should be focused on development or winning and above all ALL PLAYERS should be sufficiently challenged and motivated to work.

We pride ourselves on our ALL INCLUSIVE program. Players of all ages and abilities are welcome to enter into our FA Academy Program. Our responsibility as coaches is to design sessions that cater for everyone, irrespective of their ability, age or gender.

All Inclusive

It is important to remember that we have a responsibility to educate young people. In order to fulfill this obligation DEVELOPMENT is at the forefront of our philosophy. It´s OK to make a mistake, this creates a learning opportunity. Our sole focus up to 12 years of age is DEVELOPMENT, winning is a consequence of this.

Development v Winning

It is important to recognise that players are not adults. Consequently everything, the ball, size of pitch, goalposts, duration of matches, should be adapted to children´s necessities. We promote different formats of competition depending on the age of our players. The diagram above depicts what format a player should be competing at according to their age.

Competition Formats

Players have many years of development in their lives. It is important to understand the long terms goals and focus on technical coaching from a younger age. In line with winning v development, improving techniques should be the sole focus up until 10 years (and continue to be taught through to 14 years) before beginning to look at basic tactics.

Technical v Tactical

At the top and the base of our FA Development Diagram we have our Fundamental principles; To PLAY, to TRAIN and to have FUN. We encourage everyone to adhere to these basic concepts and we shall commit to providing opportunities to learn, experience and enjoy their time with us!


Arsene Wenger is quoted as stating;

"You can tell if a player will become a professional from the age of 14 years."

By that age if any player is not proficient technically then they will not become a professional player. Therefore upto the age of 14 years, coaching should be heavily focused on technique rather than tactical or other conceptual areas.

Positive Character Coaching

Sportsmanship and the development of positive character have long been explicit goals of school sports.

A strong belief exists that sport programs have the power to promote the development of "...sportsmanlike behaviors, ethical decision-making skills, and a total curriculum for moral character development" (Stoll, 1995)