Player Development Philosophy

What is the player development philosophy of MIFC?

By Aaron Byers, MIFC VP of Player Development

Over the past several years, MIFC has embraced a Player Development model rooted in the Dutch and Spanish football methodologies and player development philosophies. At the heart of this methodology, focus is individual skill development within a tactical reference, NOT winning and losing. Our teams should be focused on teaching young players skills that can be used within the game; while teaching the game - Attacking, Defending and Transitioning.

Coaches will teach a possession based playing style which will maximize the amount of decisions and technical execution opportunities for young players. This will help develop players ability to be autonomous players.

Love of the game. At the very youngest of ages, players will first and foremost have FUN. While having FUN, player development sessions will focus on:

*Ball Mastery within the Attacking phase

  • 1v1 core moves such as Cruyff, Pullbacks, Step-overs, Scissors, etc. to help unbalance defenders
  • Dribbling away from pressure - change of pace and direction
  • Dribbling with head up (on a swivel)

*Pass Mastery within the Attacking phase

  • Passing to teammates and not to defenders
  • Passing away from pressure

* Control Mastery

  • Receiving, trapping, control
  • Away from pressure

*Positioning

  • Shape references
  • Triangulation and Diamonds
  • Supporting the ball with triangles and diamonds
  • Space and Time references

Why this approach? These skills are critical for players to learn at younger ages in building a solid foundation for their soccer future. If they want to move up the Player Pathway from Recreational to Select or Premier level soccer, they have to have the IQ and skills in order to accomplish their dream. This is why we will teach skill attainment within tactical references.

We encourage dreaming big. What if the next Messi or Ronaldo were introduced to MIFC, and we just taught them to kick really hard and run really fast, instead of the more important things like Dribbling, Passing, Controlling and Positioning? Every big superstar had a first coach.