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Learning to Train – U11 Grassroots Development Program Overview

This stage is in line with the Learning to Train stage of LTPD. It is our goal that once the players enter this stage they are fully equipped with a passion and love of the game as well as fundamental techniques required to introduce principles of play.

At U11-U12, FCD will operate with a complete 4-corner holistic approach which focuses on technical/tactical, physical, mental and social/emotional areas of player development. Physical literacy is always a component of a session.  This holistic approach is critical for complete player development and preparing players for our playing philosophy and game model. Our curriculum and focus can be found in the U11-U12 Overview and Curriculum. Emphasizing wins and losses at this stage is discouraged. Often the result of the game can come at the expense of learning.

There is no maximum number of players permitted in the program and the program is completely open, following the open roster principle (based on the number of players that attend fall open sessions the program may be limited to 1 team).  On game day the maximum roster of each team is 16.  Players will participate in a series of festivals with other Ontario Academies which follow the LTPD principles. Evaluation of these players will be continuous with 2 written player evaluations per year.  Age group will operate under a 40-week calendar (20 weeks indoor and 20 weeks outdoor), with a 3:1 training to game ratio and a 1:16 coach to player ratio.   FCD uses the Player Development Model for sessions regardless of the number of players in the program.  Training sessions are 75 minutes in length with the players having a 13 minute arrival activity.



Playing Format 9v9 (w/GK)
Game Day Rosters Max 16
Open Rosters Yes
Substitutions Unlimited (any stoppage)
Game Duration 2 x 35 min
Team Travel Time OASL
Match Official Referee
Throw-ins Pass in/Dribble in
Retreat Line Yes - 1/3 Way
Offsides Yes
Ball Size 4
Field width/length 42-55m/60-75m
Goal Size (no larger) 6x18
Max competition days per season 20
Number of competition days per week 1
Playing time per player per game Fair time in all positions
Playing time per player per festival Max 80 min
Minimum/Maximum rest between games 30 min/120 min
Memorable Events 4 (2 Ontario/2 US+Canada)
League Structure 8 Festivals of 2-3 games
League OASL
Other Competition Friendlies and Festivals
Indoor League Yes
Training to Game Ratio Indoor 2:1/Outdoor 3:1
Coach to Player Ratio 1:16
Training Duration 75 minutes
Training - Arrival Activity 13 minutes
Player Development Model Yes
Indoor Season Length 20 weeks
Indoor Season Nov-Mar - 2 sessions per week
Outdoor Season Length 20 weeks
Outdoor Season Apr-Sept - 3 sessions per week
Physical literacy Component of each session
Trial Approach Open to all (Based on # of players)
Player evaluations 2 per year
Lead Coach qualifications C + L2T + MED + RIS + MHW + GL
Assistant Coach qualifications L2T + MED + RIS + GL
Coach evaluations 1 self, 1 verbal, 2 written

Coaching Methodology

  • Small sided games – let the game be the teacher.
  • Player Centred – allow the players to make decisions.
  • Use key factors to teach the players.
  • Demonstrate what you would like the players to do.
  • Keep information positive, brief and concise.
  • Create a positive learning environment.
  • Set appropriate challenges.
  • Sessions should have a theme.
  • Use a variety of interventions e.g. Q&A, Guided Discovery, Command.
  • Consider a young player’s self esteem. 
  • Avoid lines, lectures and laps.

Player Development Model


Technical Tactical Physical Social/Emotional Psychological/Mental
Dribbling Possession Agility Listening Motivation
Shooting Transition Balance Cooperation Self Confidence
Running with the ball Combination Play Coordination Communication Competitiveness
Ball mastery Playing out of the back Speed Sharing Commitment
Passing Pressing Basic Motor Skills Decision-making Self Control
Receiving Compactness Perception Respect/Discipline Determination
Fakes, fients and turns Switching play Awareness Fair play/Honesty Concentration
1v1 Attacking Attacking principles Acceleration Problem solving
Shielding the ball Reaction Empathy
Crossing Stamina Patience
Finishing Strength
1v1 Defending

Recent FC Durham Academy 2009-2010 News

Liam Vivian commits to Louisiana State U Shreveport

By Tom Croft 05/11/2020, 3:15pm EDT

May 11, 2020


Congratulations to FC Durham Academy (FCD) 2020 graduating Fullback Liam Vivian on his commitment to Louisiana State University Shreveport (LSUS) starting this fall!

Tom Croft our Boy's High Performance Manager says "Although only with us for a short time ( 2yrs) Liam has made a big impact on our FCD Boy's program. Liam came in and started right away as the right fullback on our 2002 Boys team. Helping them win the OASL League Championship and The Robbie Championship  Liam's work rate up and down the wing is second to none. Always willing to go forward to help our attack he is equally prepared to get back and do his main job as a defender.  Liam's technical ability and his big engine will help him to be a great addition to the already successful Men's Soccer program at LSUS."

Big Thank you to Coach Howard for his work with Liam and the 2002 Boys.

FCD wishes Liam all the best.

Congratulations to Liam and his family!

Owen Silcock commits to Florida Gulf Coast University

By Tom Croft 05/11/2020, 2:45pm EDT

May 11, 2020


Congratulations to FC Durham Academy (FCD) 2020 graduating Midfielder Owen Silcock on his commitment to Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) starting this fall!

Owen will be joining fellow FCD Alumni O'Vante Mullings and Darius Kerr-Cooper at FGCU.

Tom Croft our Boy's High Performance Manager says "Owen has been with FCD for 5 years and over this time he has worked to improve his game with hard work and dedication. Owen is the quiet leader of our Senior Boy's program. Always in the right place always making the right decision.  Coach Cormier is getting a good one.  Owen is just as accomplished in the classroom holding a 4.0 GPA. Owen has been a pleasure to work with at FCD. Always prepared to do his best."

Big Thank you to Coach Dario who has worked with Owen for the last 4 yrs.

Congratulations to Owen and his family!

Kennedy McKenzie signs with U of Saint Katherine

By Rich Hirst 05/06/2020, 5:15pm EDT

May 6, 2020


Congratulations to FC Durham Academy (FCD) 2020 Graduate Kennedy McKenzie on signing with

University of Saint Katherine (USK) in San Marcos, California.

Rich Hirst our Girl's High Performance Manager says "Kennedy has been with FCD for a few years now and has developed a high level of mental toughness that contributed to her ability to keep pushing forward to achieve this goal of playing university level soccer. She has been consistently developing and taking each step forward with an open mind, understanding and patience. Her pace out wide will allow her to immediately contribute at USK. We are excited to see Kennedy reach this positive target and look forward to following her university career down in California!"

Congratulations to Kennedy and her family.