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Ages 12 - 15 (Developing the Player)

Youth Development

Youth at this age are very social.  Everything they do will most likely have a social component.  They are beginning to see themselves outside the small family community they have been part of until now. They are also experiencing radical changes in their bodies and their chemical makeup and with this comes an increase in competitiveness and the drive to win. During this stage, players enter peak height velocity (the growth spurt associated with the onset of puberty, which means that coaches have to differentiate between early, normal and late maturing players. The physical development of the player dictates their physical input into the training program and level of success on the field.

Player Development Goal

With a basic understanding of the game and having high technical abilities, players create a desire to succeed.  With this in mind, we strive to provide an environment that encourages the growth of the team, while continuing to develop the individual player.  Teams shall be placed into leagues that will challenge their abilities and encourage their mental and physical growth and individuals.  As players’ skill and game competence develops, technical and tactical development becomes more of an emphasis. This is a time when players may find it necessary to use time outside of practice and team play to develop their game independently. This may be done through the school of excellence. This is an age where some physical training outside of practice will increase their endurance and play on the field.

Our Philosophy

While a high emphasis is still placed on technical development, the focus changes to an awareness of the game and the team.  Players are increasingly challenged mentally and physically to succeed.  Teams are formed around the true 11 v 11 game format and play on full fields.  Players are pushed to focus on maintaining their physical and mental toughness and creating a competitive edge and a passion for the game.  Team members are encouraged to push themselves and encourage each other to excel.



This is the first year teams play 11 v 11 soccer on a full field and as such we begin expanding the concepts learned on the smaller fields into a full team organization.  Like the U11 being an introductory year to soccer, U13 is an introductory year to full field soccer.  There is an equal emphasis placed on the development of the individual player and on game awareness.


At this age the main focus changes from the individual into the team.  We consider this a highly competitive year of soccer and push the players to excel in their game awareness and physical fitness.  Teams are placed in the highest divisions they are capable of playing and expectations are high for attendance in all practices and games.    Players that have taken advantage of the many learning opportunities available through our Club should have no problem making and being a contributing part to their middle school and high school programs as these should be considered a step down from the competition level they see on their Rangers team. 


This is considered the first year of the development of the professional soccer player.  Tactical and game awareness take precedent over the technical development of the player.  A major emphasis is placed on the physical training of the player and they are expected to be active both on and off the field.

With U16, game awareness, tactical development and physical fitness is the main focus.  At this age, we assume the players have the technical ability to play the game, so our focus is on how to win the game.

Coaching Strategies 

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

1. Commitment: 

Our assumption is that the players join a travel team because they want to be top soccer players.  As such, each player relies on all other players to attend the team practices and games.  With each increase in age group the expectations for commitment also increases.

2. Player Confidence: 

We work with the players on and off the field to develop their individual confidence.     

3.  Conditioning:

As the age group increases, the conditioning expectations of the players increase.  Coaches will challenge the players during practices and games to push themselves and establish recommendations for the players to perform outside of practices. 

4.  Goal Setting: 

The Rangers coaches will continually work with their players in setting goals, then support them as they strive to achieve those goals.   The expectations are that the players will actively work to achieve their own goals without the coach having to encourage them.

5.  Desire:

The focus of training is on developing the players’ natural desire to win.  This concept is fostered by the coaches, but during training sessions the focus is on developing the players talents to win.

What does my player need from me?

At this age, what you can provide to your player that will most directly impact their success is encouragement and enforcement of accountability.  The opportunity to pursue soccer at top levels is driven by the effort that your young adult puts in.  As a club, we provide many opportunities for skill development at this age and the players that typically become dominate are those that put in effort not just during practices and games, but at home as well.  If a player wants to excel at soccer and strive for a starting position, then they will want to take advantage of the many opportunities through the school of excellence, physical training for endurance (with oversight by a professional), and the wealth of experiences that our coaching staff has to offer.  Full player development cannot happen solely through team practices and training. This is the time to begin to encourage your player to own this process by holding them accountable for the responsibilities that they have to their team members and coaches and to the goals they set for themselves.  We do not recommend you forcing your player to do something, rather we recommend you hold them accountable for achieving their goals through practicing and training by themselves.  




The U13/U14 groups begin practicing in August.  The teams practice two times per week with an additional academy practice.  We highly recommend the players to attend all three weekly practices in the fall and spring.  During November and December the U13/U14 groups have no team practices as we are giving the kids a small break.  However, academy practices continue one time per week and players should attend.  The U15/U16 groups begin their team practices at completion of the fall school soccer season. This is generally at the end of November.  Team practices are one time per week, with an additional academy practice one time per week.  In April, teams move outdoors and an additional team practice is added. 



All teams will be placed in the ISL or MRL, depending upon their level of advancement.  We place teams in the divisions that we consider most comparable to their level of development.  With the success of the team, it will advance through the divisions of the leagues. 



The U13/U14 teams participate in a fall and a spring tournament that the entire club attends.  The fall tournament is generally around the end of October and the spring tournament is in April / May.  These tournaments require an overnight stay.  The U15/U16 teams participate in the spring tournament and may attend a fall tournament subject to the desire of the coach and the team.  All teams may qualify for the state cups as well that are in May / June.  The coach for the U15/U16 groups may recommend additional tournaments.



We highly recommend all players in the U13 to U16 group to attend the Rangers Soccer Camp.  This is the age that we begin identifying those kids that may have a future in playing at the collegiate or professional levels.