The mission of the New Canaan Football Club (“New Canaan FC”) is to provide the youth of New Canaan, from the grades of kindergarten thru 8th grade, with organized soccer programs that are designed to allow all participants to learn and develop in a positive environment. All soccer programs are to be designed to follow a New Canaan FC Board approved curriculum, under the guidance of professional coaches, which will teach age appropriate skill development, foster a joy for the game, create positive team dynamics, and provide a path for advancement as players achieve appropriate levels of skill. The New Canaan FC is committed to developing the highest potential skill level in all players, and to creating teams that will be competitive at the highest level of placement.
Travel Program Philosophy (U9-U14)
The Travel Program goal is to develop players and form teams to compete at the highest level in the CT Junior Soccer Association. The program will require a significant commitment from players for practices, tournaments and CT Cup competitions, all of which will be mandatory. Players unwilling to make this high level of commitment to the team are encouraged to enroll in the New Canaan FC’s Academy Program. In general, any team the New Canaan FC enters into the Travel league will go into every game with the express purpose to win the game, within certain guidelines outlined below. Coaches hired by the New Canaan FC will be advised of this philosophy and be expected to adhere to it.
Individual player development must take into account the complete spectrum of practice and game experiences available to a player. On average, during the course of a week, players will have approximately 3 hours of practice time (with an optional one hour skills sessions) and approximately 1 1/2 hours of game time. At the most basic level, there are 5 1/2 hours of organized development time per week for a player – 75% in practice and 25% in the game. Therefore, practice is the primary player development tool available for players to improve and for coaches to assess each player’s unique strengths and weaknesses in managing the team.
In practice: Coaches should give all players the opportunity to experience different playing positions (offense, defense & goalie) to allow players the chance to develop the knowledge and confidence in various positions and to allow the coach to assess a player’s natural instincts and competence in these positions. There should be a conscious effort to provide ample playing time in all positions for all players, particularly in the U9-U11 age groups. As players move into the U12-U14 age groups, the New Canaan FC would expect coaches to begin to have players’ positions become more specialized in practice. A player’s skill level, effort and attitude in practice will directly affect the level of playing time in games.
In games: The coach’s objective is to play players in the positions that will give the team the highest probability of winning, in the context that every player will play in every game. Players are not guaranteed equal playing time in either individual games or over the course of the season. The amount of time a player will play will be dependent on the coach’s judgment and the game situation. Coaches will be given wide latitude on game days to manage the games as they see fit in the context of the New Canaan FC guidelines.
Travel teams will be placed within the highest Southwest District division that the New Canaan FC believes will result in attaining a minimum .500 season for the team. As per SWD policy, teams that win their division will automatically move up to the next highest division. Any team that either wins the highest SWD division or is highly competitive therein will be considered to move into the Premier league.
Academy Program Philosophy (Grades 3 thru 8)
The Academy Program philosophy is to provide players with a comprehensive soccer program that allows them to continue to develop their skills and love of the game under the guidance of professional coaching and a combination of inter-town games and friendlies (for Grades 3 &4) or CJSA Saturday league play (for Grades 5 thru 8). The New Canaan FC believes that the Academy Program should stand on its own as a competitive, fun outlet for players to enjoy the game of soccer and develop their skills. The game day philosophy in the Academy Program should be equal playing time for players over the course of each game.
Skill development proceeds at an individual pace, and all players in the Academy Program should have the benefit of the New Canaan FC’s coaching curriculum and access to professional coaching resources to increase their skill level. The New Canaan FC expects that many players who compete in the Academy Program may ultimately play in the Travel Program.
K-2 Program Philosophy
The K-2 Program philosophy is to introduce young players to the sport of soccer in a fun, fast paced environment that stresses maximum touches on the ball in both practices and games. The program will stress small sided practice and game environments that require players to control the ball and make decisions. The New Canaan FC believes that the K-2 program should focus on teaching players the value of ball control and teamwork to build a strong foundation.
Teams will be kept intentionally small and games will remain flexible to eliminate the need for more than one or two substitutes. There will be no attempt to keep score. Games will not become more structured until 2nd grade when players prepare to transition into the Travel and Academy Programs.