Westlake Soccer Academy Mission and Curriculum Introduction
The overall goal of our Westlake Soccer Academy is to give players the foundation on which they will build all of their soccer success and experiences. Basic skill mastery and an understanding of simple tactical ideas will be our bricks, and a love for the sport will be the mortar that holds it all together. The program is meant to be developmental and fun-based, but we will not shy away from the challenge of teaching them how to play.
Our Academy Program believes in the same fun-based concepts as the Unites States Soccer Federation, but we are also a part of the largest Junior Academy in the nation, which allows us greater means to accelerate our players’ development.
This curriculum has been designed to help our players successfully recognize and solve the challenges of the game on his/her own. Soccer is a team sport, so we will teach them how to use their teammates -- but we are trying to develop players, and it is this aspect that makes working with such young players interesting and unique. Each age group (U8, U9, U10) has its own theme and with that a separate curriculum.
U8 – Build A Culture of Action
The very first thing our U8’s have to learn is how to be effective, how to fend for themselves, and to be confident enough to take part in the game. The most fundamental skill in soccer is individual mastery of the ball and the creativity that comes with it. Our U8 sessions are built around facilitating the development of the skills necessary to move and control the ball well. As these individual skills and the creativity to make them come alive in the game are developed to a level of competence, the finer points, like passing skill and team organization, can be taught. The most common phrase used with our U8’s is, “Dribble!”
U9 – Passing & “Space the Final Frontier”
Academy soccer at U9 is where we see the most significant jump in our players’ abilities and general understanding of the game. With this in mind, we want to try to encourage comfort with the ball and the confidence to use this skill creatively. Our teams at this age should be full of little “dribblers,” so we can start to slowly introduce and organize the art of finding space and using your teammates. The most common phrase used with our U9’s is, “Find Space!”
U10 – Harder, Better, Faster, Smarter
We want our U10’s to be able to recognize and understand how the skills learned in U8 & U9 are connected to solving problems during play. The goal is to develop players who are more clever, and able to quickly and effectively make “soccer decisions.” The most common phrases used with our U10’s are, “Get ahold of the ball.”, “Pick your head up!”, and “Was that a good decision?”