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E.C.E.S Talent Identification and Youth Soccer Development Program

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.


Integrated training is a comprehensive training approach that strives to improve all components necessary to allow the player to achieve optimum performance. Youth soccer development is a complex process and should be based on scientific procedures and evidence. A variety of parameters should be trained using:


  • The correct period of time
  • Correct methods
  • Adjusted to the needs of the player
  • Following the rules of physiology
  • Volume
  • Length of exertion
  • Intensity & Frequency
  • Tactical guidelines
  • Technical components
  • Mental


The current talent of the player’s technical ability, intelligence, decision-making and physiology are all processed and evaluated.

Part of the long-term development process is teaching the player to love, enjoy and have fun playing soccer at an early age.

Later on we introduce the principle of learning to train correctly and training to compete is an important factor in creating a winning mentality.

The development stages will follow in accordance to the age and level of the player. Attitude, nutrition and recovery, game understanding, decision-making and ball mastery are all equally important concepts to be learned, along with teaching the player to be accountable.

The end product consists of the players’ ability, to adapt and succeed in all situations and conditions. He/she must understand the roles and responsibilities within the team along with having the mentality, physical and technical ability needed to compete at the desired level.

The coach’s ability to execute, teach and educate is an important factor of development. Creating an appropriate training environment will enhance the intensity and competitiveness for both the team and player.

Along with the yearly plan, weekly micro cycles and training units constructed both for the team and individual goals, an additional visual aid should be used to correct and evaluate performances and trainings.