Guide to Dedicated Player Program for Parents


Guide to Dedicated Player Program for Parents


Every player in Canada is entitled to an enjoyable experience within the game of soccer, regardless of their age, level of experience or ability. For young players between the ages of 8- 12, an enjoyable experience means that they can have fun with their friends and learn new skills that they can then apply in a game context. This is this essence of the Canada Soccer Dedicated Player: To provide an accessible development program for young players between the ages of 8-12 that caters specifically to their developmental needs.

Canada Soccer Dedicated Players will take a nationally coordinated approach to developing young soccer players between the ages of 8-12. Dedicated Players will provide a challenging, enjoyable environment for players to develop and nurture the skills required to succeed in the game of soccer.

Why Dedicated Players:

The traditional model of team selection in Canadian youth soccer revolves around choosing a select number of players at a specific moment in time based on their current performance level, then having them compete against other teams to determine who is better. Unfortunately, this method of talent identification and development is ?awed in several ways: 

  • It does not accurately predict potential or future performance
  • It can often turn away players who might have high potential but who are simply inexperienced at that moment relative to their peer group
  • Early selection prior to physical maturation implies early exclusion of the majority and can discourage players who might otherwise have become as good, or better, a little later if given the chance to develop
  • The characteristics that define “talented” athletes in early age are not the characteristics that define elite athletes later in their career.

Dedicated Players will address these challenges by taking a holistic, player centered approach to selection, development and curriculum design.


Dedicated Player Principles:

To ensure that a holistic development environment exists for players and coaches, the Canada Soccer Dedicated Players will be guided by the following principles

  • Contact time with a ball is high
  • Training will resemble the game
  • Training will be fun for everyone
  • Dedicated Players will be accessible
  • All players & parents will receive meaningful feedback

Dedicated Player Guidelines:

Age Groups:
U8; U9 / U10; U11 / U12
Players loosely grouped by age
Players can move between groups as required

Playing Format:
U8: 5v5
U9 / U10: 7v7
U11 / U12: 9v9

Coaching Requirements:
Lead coach (two per club, one for each gender or individual lead must be present at sessions) will have Canada Soccer Children’s License  - in training; 2022 - certified)
Assistant Coach (as per player to coach ratio) Learn to Train (2019 - trained)

Number of Players Dedicated Player Program:
Guided by the player to coach ratio and field availability

Player Registration:
No tryouts are permitted

Game Day Roster Guidelines:
Open rosters: Any player registered at a club can play for any of the clubs programs

Competitions Days Per Week:
One competition day per week


Competition Format:
Competition may be festival format (two games in one day) or single-game format Minimum / maximum rest between festival games - 20 minutes minimum / 120 minutes maximum

Training Session Frequency:
2-3 training sessions per week (not including competition day)

Training Session Duration:
U8: 45-60 minutes
U9-U12: 50-60 minutes

Program Duration:
Training block duration: 10-22 weeks
Annual duration: 30-44 weeks
Minimum time between training blocks: 2 weeks


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