We’re excited to share more about our collaboration with Arsenal FC of Pittsburgh beginning this fall.
The collaboration benefits all players, with those from the Arsenal Academy Program and the Hotspurs College Prep Phase (U16-U19) having the opportunity to earn a spot with the NPSL or WPSL First Team squad.
The youngest players in our Hotspurs’ Foundation Phase and the Arsenal Junior Academy (2013-2010 birth years) are training in newly developed Regional Training Centers.
Regional Training Centers are eight-week training programs that alternate weekly between interclub friendlies and joint training sessions.
The Regional Training Centers provide four key advantages for young players:
Control of the Schedule and Environment
Our collaboration provides a more stable schedule for our families.
The goal is for our players to arrive at the field and be able to enjoy playing without always having the added pressure of a ‘league result’ or the corrosive environment that it can create.
We will be able to watch our players grow not only in their knowledge and skills, but most importantly, in their enjoyment of the game.
Creating a Developmental & Learning Environment Instead of a Results-Oriented One
The most progressive footballing nations in the world, including Belgium, Spain, and even smaller nations like Iceland, have focused on the players rather than on the score and certainly not on a league schedule. In the Premier League, youth teams play locally. The residual finding is extensive travel at the youngest ages is unnecessary for a player’s development.
While our developmental model will allow our players to play in intense games that test them and identify their strengths and weaknesses, the youngest players are not that stage in their development.
It is critical that a learning environment is fostered, allowing players to discover who they are as players and people, even at the sacrifice of short-term team results.
Players Playing at the Appropriate Level for Their Individual Growth
Each player follows a distinctive and unique path in his or her developmental journey. As such, it is essential that the needs of the team never outweigh the needs of the player.
Throughout a player’s time both Hotspurs and Arsenal, players will be asked to play at different levels within their own age group. Some will be asked to play with older players, others at times asked to play with younger players. Why? In order to assist each individual player in his or her individual developmental journey.
Qualities such as technical proficiency, tactical understanding, leadership, and others will be the driving force behind each of these decisions to make sure that the player continues to progress on his or her journey.
Playing and Training With and Against Progressive-Minded Coaches and Players
The modern game is rapidly evolving. It is essential that coaches and clubs embrace a progressive and sustainable game model.
Unfortunately, many local youth coaches and clubs still favor big athletes, even bigger punts or long balls down the field, all in the name of a results-oriented approach. It is a playing style that becomes more unsustainable as players get older.
Contrarily, our coaches and players are dedicated to implementing a modern, sustainable playing style that emphasizes technical prowess and the proper application of a player’s technique.
Players are encouraged to always want the ball and to have the confidence to take risks and to make mistakes. Environments are structured to help teams build out of the back, to involve all eleven players in the attack, to press to recover the ball, and to play through the lines in a systematic fashion.
By adapting our fall game schedule, we have aligned ourselves with coaches and players at Arsenal FC who share our belief in this style and who are always seeking the latest training methodologies to execute it.