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US Soccer Player Development: Small-Sided Games

 

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    Small-Sided Games

Small-Sided games have been part of the youth soccer landscape for over 15 years and internationally accepted as the best practice for player development.  The previous recommendations are being replaced with the US Soccer mandate.  These new variations on the theme are for the positive development of the young players. Regardless of travel or intramural.

The core objectives behind the small-sided standards, from US Soccer, are as follows:

  • Fewer players on the field means more touches on the ball and increased touches translates to more individual skill. 
  • Players who are more skilled may become more confident and comfortable when in possession of the ball. 
  • The ratio of players to field size is designed to assist players with making the right kind of decisions and improving awareness. 
  • This approach builds on itself as players get older and start playing with more players on bigger fields. 
  • And as players get older, the building block approach also allows them to better integrate into a team model where they develop partnerships with the other players that make up the team. 

 

See the chart below for specific details and standards.

2015 Player Development Initiatives 8
 
 
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