OUR PLAYER DEVELOPMENT PHILOSOPHY
SF Glens SC seeks to develop soccer players with exceptional individual skill, the confidence to play the game with joy and creativity, and the soccer intelligence to make a difference to their team on the field.
Our model starts with skills development. From this technical foundation, we work to develop a player’s confidence through carefully planned training that maximize touches and match experiences that emphasize proactive play and participation over results. Lastly, we grow a player’s soccer intelligence and awareness through incrementally increased training and access to more competitive play, and a carefully planned rollout of introductions to tactics.
This means age-appropriate training that emphasizes technical development and skills first, and slowly introduces tactical concepts as the player moves through the following six phases:
Micro (Ages 4-6)
At this phase, the emphasis is on fun and touches of the ball that lead to an ability to manipulate the ball with both feet. Players are introduced to the idea that a game of soccer can involve play that moves in every direction.
Introductory (Ages 5-7)
At this phase, the emphasis remains on fun while building confidence and motivations to play the game. From a technical standpoint, we stress passing and receiving, ball control, shooting, and 1v1 attacking play, and an increased attention to basic motor skills and coordination.
Basic (Ages 8-9)
At this phase, the additional element of competition and cooperation are introduced. The player’ technical skills are expanded to include turning and advanced dribbling with an increasing emphasis on awareness, reactions, and speed. Some basic tactics, such as possession, combination, and build-up play, are introduced.
Advanced (Ages 10-11)
At this phase, players are introduced to the same theme-based, progressive training structure that our older players use while being asked for an increased commitment to their training in general. Players are now pushed on our full array of technical development goals by adding receiving, shielding, heading, crossing and finishing, and 1v1 defending to their skill sets. Additional tactical themes are introduced, including transition attack and defending, principles of defending, creating scoring chances, and zonal defending.
Pre-Academy (Ages 12-14)
At this phase, players have a solid technical foundation and good understanding of the game. A large part of the player development plan shifts to the physical changes players of this age are experiencing. Our program puts a new emphasis on aerobic and anaerobic training, and an increase training requirement on Speed, Agility, Quickness (SAQ) activities. All technical aspects of the game are still worked on but there’s a renewed emphasis on passing & receiving, ball control, receiving & turning, and 1v1 play as players cope with varied levels of size and coordination due to body changes. From a tactical perspective, all major themes are trained on as pressing, switching play, and counter attacking are introduced, and players are asked to demonstrate increased levels of determination and self-control.
Academy (Ages 15-19)
At this last phase of development, an overriding emphasis is placed on training against the complete set of tactical themes, as well as the increased importance of the mental side of the game. A large part of this is an ever-increasing demand for concentration and precision. Players are taught to play with high levels of confidence, motivation, and determination, while recognizing their place in a team through a demonstration of respect and commitment. Overall training loads increase to help establish the strength and endurance required to play soccer at the highest levels.
It’s important to note that each player’s individual progress and soccer journey may vary from the above. We do not see age as the indicator of development phase as much as a player’s demonstration of technical (skills) development. Our club is uniquely positioned to take this flexible approach to player development due to our large number of teams at each age group, which allows us to properly place a player in a soccer development environment that maximizes his or her potential.
Senior Teams & MLS/College/Pros (19+)
Ultimately, as illustrated below on our Player Pathway Pyramid, when our players graduate from the Youth Academy (Light Green Stages) at U19 level or are ready for a greater challenge, they have the possibility of moving on to our Senior Teams (Dark Green Stages), where the gradual development continues. Our Second and Third Teams compete in the historic SFSFL, and our First Team competes in the USL League Two, the top U23 league in America. From there, we complete the Pyramid with Major League Soccer and our local San Jose Earthquakes. A staggering six First Team Glens have gone on to be selected in Major League Soccer's SuperDraft from 2019-21, with three in the first round.
Check out the full list of Glens since 2019 who have gone on from our Pathway Pyramid to either getting drafted in MLS, signing a pro contract, or playing in college.