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Fundamentals – U8 Grassroots Development Program Overview

This stage is in line with the Fundamentals stage of LTPD. It is our goal that once the players enter this stage to develop a passion and love of the game as well as a basic comfort in the technique of ball manipulation.

At these age groups the primary focus is on the development of the core techniques listed in our U8 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 the core techniques.

The U8 Grassroots Development Program is mixed gender and players are placed into balanced teams on festival days  using the open roster principle. There is no maximum number of players permitted in the program and the program is completely open.  On game day the maximum roster of each team is 10.  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 1:10 coach to player ratio. All players training with the same coaching staff at the same time and same location using the Player Development Model.  As FCD operates with a holistic approach it is critical that physical literacy and fundamental movement training takes place weekly within the training program.  Training sessions are 60 minutes in length with the players having a 13 minute arrival activity and a 13 min departure activity (Free Play).

Playing Format 5v5 (w/GK)
Game Day Rosters Max 10
Open Rosters Yes
Substitutions Unlimited (on fly)
Game Duration 20 min
Team Travel Time OASL
Match Official Game Leader
Throw-ins Pass in/Dribble in
Retreat Line Yes - 1/2 Way
Offsides No
Ball Size 3
Field width/length 25-30m/30-36m
Goal Size (no larger) 5x8
Max competition days per season 20 festivals
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 60 min
Minimum/Maximum rest between games 20 min/120 min
Memorable Events 1 (Ontario Only)
League Structure 8 Festivals of 2-3 games
League OASL
Other Competition Friendlies and Festivals
Indoor League No
Training to Game Ratio 3:1
Coach to Player Ratio 1:10
Training Duration 60 minutes
Training - Arrival Activity 13 minutes
Training - Departure Activity 13 minutes
Player Development Model Yes
Indoor Season Length 20 weeks
Indoor Season Nov-Mar - 3 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
Player evaluations 2 per year
Lead Coach qualifications C + FUN + MED + RIS + MHW + GL
Assistant Coach qualifications FUN + MED + RIS + GL
Coach evaluations 1 self, 1 verbal, 2 written

Training Recommendations

  • Keep information brief and positive.
  • Show them what you want.
  • Let them make decisions, solve problems based on what they see and experience.
  • Keep the environment positive and happy.
  • Allow and encourage creativity and improvisation. Create the freedom to express themselves.
  • Keep the sessions flowing, with limited stops.
  • Encourage and celebrate success.
  • Be flexible, allow players to deviate and be creative.
  • Keep it safe.
  • Games and activities should mirror the game and tactical implications are within the game.

Player Development Model


Technical Physical Social/Emotional Psychological/Mental
Dribbling Agility Listening Motivation
Shooting Balance Cooperation Self Confidence
Running with the ball Coordination Communication Competitiveness
Ball mastery Speed Sharing Commitment
Passing Basic Motor Skills Decision-making Self Control
Receiving Perception Respect/Discipline Determination
Fakes, fients and turns Awareness Fair play/Honesty
1v1 Attacking Acceleration Problem solving
Reaction Empathy

Recent FCD U8 Fundamentals 2012B 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.