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Ages 8-9 (Desire to Play)

Children's Development

Players at this age are highly individualized in their focus.  They are always learning and growing and generally have short attention spans.  The players have widely varying physical maturity levels and all activities need to be engaging for al participants.  Activities should be short, highly interactive and very focused.

Player Development Goal

Develop a solid foundation in basic soccer skills.  Use the game of soccer to create technical proficiency in the individual player. At this age, players have individualized focus and are not developmentally able to understand tactical concepts or be challenged mentally.  The long-term goal is to develop technically proficient players that have high levels of player confidence and be individually proficient.

Our Philosophy

Giving consideration to vastly different rates of maturity, we attempt to design training around players of all maturity levels and attempt to challenge players of all varying abilities. Understanding that children this age have short attention spans, activities are generally short and focused on learning a single skill.  Placing youth this age in highly competitive situations will reduce the players ability to develop technical skills and ultimately their success as a solid player.  Our emphasis is on the players touch on the ball and a high focus is on small sided game formats; 3v3 or 4v4.


Players age 8 and 9 are provided low competitive “friendly” game situations with the entire focus being on individual player development.  Players that have developed moderate sensory skills along with moderate technical abilities are invited to participate in game situations.  No official teams are formed at this age as all players that have developed the ability to play in games are encouraged to do so.  During game situations the coaches work with each of the players on general concepts of passing and receiving, dribbling, spacing and the concepts of offense and defense.  No focus is given for team tactics with low to moderate focus being placed on game awareness.

Coaching Strategies 

Rangers coaches for this age group focus on a few important concepts that are the building blocks for the future development of the players and teams.

  1. 1.  Technique:
  2. At this age we are laying the foundation for the development of the player for the rest of their soccer career.  Coaching is focused on the proper use of technique and technical development.  There is little focus on team concepts at this age.  All training is centered on the individual and their technical abilities. 
2.  Player Confidence:
With the development of player technique, confidence will follow.  We believe at this age there are NO mistakes and that all decisions made by a player can be used as a learning experience.  With this, the players start to become aware of their surroundings and the game.  Our goal is to create a desire to want to play soccer and to begin forming team bonds.
3.  Attitude:

We want the experience of soccer to be fun and encouraging.  The attitude of the player should be positive, energetic and enthusiastic.  Rangers coaches will focus on making every activity fun and encourage parents to provide only encouragement in all situations.  There are no mistakes at this age, only learning opportunities.

What does your child need from you?

A message from your child:  Mommy and daddy, please be supportive and encouraging no matter what.  I need you to provide me with opportunities to further develop my interest, but please don't push me. Let me enjoy this activity and develop my skills in a way that will allow me to play at a higher level as I get older (if I choose to). Follow my lead.  I am young and new to the game, so I will make mistakes but through making these mistakes I am learning and discovering.  Please do not yell instructions to me or my team members from the sidelines.  Although I have a coach that is instructing me, I hear your voice and I become very confused on what to do.  I love to hear you cheering for me to do my best and I can not wait until the game or practice is finished so I can hear you tell me how great I did and how proud you are of me.   Hugs are awesome too.

Players will need a size 4 soccer ball, shin guards and outdoor soccer shoes.  For practices and games bring a drink.

Fall Training (August through October) 


Fall Practices:

Begin around August 15th.  All players are encouraged to attend their weekly academy practice.  For those interested and ready for additional training, players can enroll in team play.  With this, a second practice is added with “friendly” format games.

Fall Games:

 Our main focus is on small sided games as this format has the highest number of ball touches.  Games are always in a friendly format set up with other clubs. The Rangers coach will divide the team based on the development of each of the players and position the teams against other comparable teams.  Our goal for games is to continue the individual development of the technical abilities of the players.  This will be an encouraging environment and we are not concerned with winning or losing games.

Fall Tournament:

The teams will participate with the Rangers Academy in a tournament that all teams will be attending.  This will require an overnight stay.  We also encourage players to participate in a 3v3 tournament. 

Winter Training (November – February)



The group will be attending their weekly academy practice.  During the winter, the kids may be adjusted around into other age groups at the discretion of the club trainers.  Our goal is to place the individual kids in groups that will challenge them and will promote their individual technical development.


 We will be creating teams with the U9 and U10 academy groups. Our goal is to have each team be as balanced in skills and ability as possible.  Games are generally held on Saturdays and will last 1 hour.  Players may be asked to play on teams in the U11/U12 group in addition to their own age group at the discretion of the trainers.   All games are small sided.


  No official tournaments during the Winter session.

Spring Training (March – June)



Around the first of April, academy practices will move outdoor one time per week.  As with fall, those players interested in additional training can choose to participate in game play and add an additional practice each week.

Spring Games: 

Friendly format set up with other clubs. This will be an encouraging environment and we are not concerned with winning or losing games. 


The Club will participate in a tournament in April or May.  We also encourage the coaches to work with the players in 3v3 recreational tournaments for those that are interested.   These tournaments may require over night stays.

We would like all the players to attend the Rangers Camp held in June and work with the Scotland coaches.