Learning to play
Opportunities for the Team
A pathway for every team
Many recreational plus soccer leagues have struggled to develop players across the state and far too many talented players have either slipped through the cracks, or have stopped playing soccer altogether because they weren’t provided with the best platform suitable to their development. There are many leagues run by cities that do not follow US Youth Soccer Guidelines and others who are very foreign to the best practices that you will see in European Federations and clubs. But not us. We stay on top of the best practices around the world and are always open to tweaking it for the best interest of player development.
Small-sided games with formats that include: 4 v 4 (U-7), 5 v 5 (U-8-U-9), 6 v 6 (U-10), 7 v 7 (U-11), and 8 v 8 (U-12), have proven to be beneficial to the development of many players from around the world. Oftentimes when we visit leagues around Maryland, we see U-10 players on a 60 x 40 yard field playing 11 v 11 with full size 8 x 24 goals. Now that is counterproductive we feel because the players will not get enough touches on the ball. Players in leagues with this playing format do not develop into good soccer players because they just aren’t getting enough touches on the ball.
The MDSL was created to fight this problem by bringing player development first clubs together by providing top notch coaching for players. As players improve, teams improve, and players will set themselves on the path of becoming great players one day. It starts in training at home and with one’s teams, but it also continues with a league that promotes player development first and this is where we come in.
Players and parents are competitive and want to win. So do we! However, we realize that youth soccer at the U-7 – U-12 age group is not about winning, but about teaching players how to be competitive with the focus on development. We believe that the competitive side of the game happens at the U-13 level, but prior to getting there players and teams must take the proper steps in their development.
Coach while the game is going on at the U-7 and U-8 levels.
At the U-7 and U-8 age groups, coaches have the option to teach players the game as it is going on in a 4 v 4 and 5 v 5 format. No scores are kept in these games and at the U-7 level there are no referees. Eliminating these two components of the game helps with player development and allows the kids to play freely.