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The Physical and Mental Development of  Youth Soccer Players: A holistic approach to development

Training talented young players is essential for the future of soccer in North America. However, in order for this necessity to be performed in a correct manner (from talent identification to talent development) several steps have to be followed.

Knowledge of the stages in youth soccer are demanded from coach’s and sports scientists. Furthermore, this knowledge will assist, plan, adjust and adapt training methods to the aforementioned stages of learning. The aim of these procedures is to employ the appropriate methodology and drills (age-appropriate) which take into account growth spurts, the pace of learning and the natural potential of the individual.

ECES has the ability to prepare, train and increase the level of performance in athletes. The process of training is targeted to improve the athlete’s performance in a competitive environment.The physical development of youth soccer players is a complex process based  on scientific procedures amongst other factors. Integrated training is a comprehensive training approach that strives to improve all components necessary to allow the player to achieve optimum performance.

Our holistic approach is suited to the development stages where the player adapts efficiently using our dynamic system model of training. ECES uses theDynamic System model in accordance to the age and level of the individual. The Dynamic Systems model is based on “The whole is more than the sum of its parts” which is why we evalute and examine various factors when dealing with the individual (or team, club, community on a larger scale).  When training is contextualized, precaution is needed when generating the appropriate methodology.


To fully understand the concept of player development in North America, we need to take into account the internal and external factors, which determine the player’s outcome.

We are focused on the development of the youth soccer player aiming to improve all aspects of the physical and mental elements needed. This approach is performed based on the level of the player’s development stage, which ranges from a simple to a more complex progression in accordance to the appropriate methodology.

Training should not only offer the opportunity to develop the tactical and technical elements necessary for the game, but also develop aspects of the physiological and mental components needed for development and success. This process includes young people’s personal and social skills.

Excerpt from  E.C.E-Soccer ” A Holistic Approach to Development”


Head of Sports Science – DR. NIKOLAOS KOUNDOURAKIS (M.SC. – PH.D.)

Nikolaos currently works in professional soccer. In his eighteen years’ experience in player development, he has worked with professional organizations and top-level players. As sport science has became an intrisnic part of soccer development, Dr. Nikolaos has assisted numerous soccer organizations by setting up  departments as sport science has became an intrisnic part of soccer development,

He has published a number of scientific articles on sports science. He is also an editorial member of the Austin Sports Medicine Journal, and member of the Publons, as being a reviewer in several scientific journals that are devoted to the topic of sports science. Dr. Nikolaos has been invited to lecture and present his work at numerous international seminars and congresses. To name a few:

The 3rd International Football Medicine Congress at the Swiss Society of Sports Medicine (2008), the XXXIII World Congress of Sports Medicine at The International Federation of Sports Medicine (2014), 7th & 9th World Congress on Science and Football at the Japanese society of Science and Football (2011), and the 8th World Congress on Science and Football at the University of Copenhagen (2015).