Long Term Player Development, also known as LTPD, is the Canadian Soccer Association model designed to optimize excellence and lifelong wellness through soccer. It consists of seven stages: Active Start, FUNdamentals, Learning To Train, Training To Train, Training To Compete, Training To Win and both Soccer For Life (Competitive) and Soccer For Life (Recreational).
“LTPD Is about putting the player first and offering age-appropriate opportunities for kids to enjoy the game of soccer. Making the game fun is key in teaching and coaching, so that players will continue in the game and may even coach or referee as they get older.” (Ontario Soccer).
Grassroots Soccer is the learning environment for players in the U12 and younger age divisions comprising the first three stages of Long Term Player Development (Active Start, FUNdamentals and Learn to Train). The goal of Grassroots Soccer is to provide the best environment for these young players to master fundamental soccer skills while having fun, rather than emphasizing winning at all costs. In the past, the competitive league structures rewarded game winners, often at the expense of player development. Since 2014, game results and league standings for U12 and younger teams have no bearing on where the team will play in the following year, allowing the club and the coaches to focus on player development rather than on winning games. In the end, the only winners will be the players themselves.
“Grassroots is the most important part of the player pathway. This is where we give children their first experience in soccer. Ensuring that this experience is fun and enjoyable and revolves around child-friendly soccer is essential. The coaching objective here is simple: ensuring players come back, with a smile the following season should be the goal for every coach and organization.” (Ontario Soccer).
The Peterborough City Soccer Association has implemented the Grassroots coaching model for U12 and younger players. Our winter futsal, spring training indoor and on Fleming outdoor turf, our U7-U8 Development Program and our Girls and Boys Festivals in June are essential elements of our Grassroots program. Our Technical Coaching team and our volunteer team coaches are well versed in the principles of Grassroots soccer and we are looking forward to seeing the benefits of the program in the coming years.
“Small-sided games are extremely beneficial for young children. Youngsters derive greater pleasure from playing football in smaller teams and with adapted rules. As well as getting involved in the game more often, players learn more quickly and take more decisions during the course of a match. And as the ball is never far away, greater concentration is required on their part.” (FIFA).
– What is Grassroots Soccer? (OSA Pamphlet)
Ontario Soccer has produced a video that can help coaches and parents to better understand the rationale behind Long Term Player Development and the drive to better equip our young players to enjoy playing soccer. Bobby Lennox, former OSA Manager of Grassroots Development said, “I encourage all coaches and parents to take a look at the video and to talk about it with their children and players.”
S4L—Competitive for Life Leagues
Peterborough City Soccer Association’s U13 – U18 and Senior Programs fall within the Soccer 4 Life Competitive pathway which is designed for the player who is more driven and motivated to progress in soccer and that is prepared to dedicate more time to soccer through training to compete at a higher level. A player at this level could move between this level and the Talented Pathway depending on his/her development. However the level of commitment and ability level of the player increases the further the player progresses within the competitive structure. For example a Regional (IModel) League will be a very high standard of soccer where players will be training 2-3 times per week and playing once per week and the season is longer with more games whereas in a district league (e.g. DRSL) players would be training 1-2 times per week and playing once per week. A player could also move to the Recreation for Life Pathway if he/she wanted a soccer program with less commitment and less intensity.
The Talented Pathway was created to provide opportunities for the top players in the province to develop and advance. The basis for the program is the Ontario Player Development League (OPDL) launched in 2014. The OPDL is the primary avenue within the Talented Pathway model for players to be detected into future Provincial Screening Competitions which can then lead to Provincial Team opportunities. For those players who are not competing within the OPDL, they may enter into the Player Talented Pathway via Talent on Location Days as outlined on the Talented Pathway web page.