OFC Club Philosophy
Our programs follow the BC Soccer recommended player pathway, and are in line with the CSA Long Term Development Plan (LTDP). At Okanagan FC, the first step with establishing a group is to create the optimum training environment to foster development. For us, this means promoting a safe environment for players where the kids feel encouraged to become the best that they can be. It is crucially important to us that there is respect shown to everybody involved with our academy and teams…if kids are afraid to speak up, try their best, or to otherwise be themselves when they go to soccer then we believe it becomes increasingly difficult to see them realize their full potential. At Okanagan FC, our goal is for every single player to be excited about coming to training, and for our events and sessions to be a highlight in their week.
A second key principle in our development philosophy is our attempt to foster a culture of excellence within our groups. We will never gauge a team’s success by external results against outside opposition, but rather, will look towards the standard of our own groups to determine the desired development outcomes for the players. We demand that the kids strive to better themselves each and every time we see them, both on and off the field. Regardless of the starting point, they are expected to show a desire to improve day after day, session after session, game after game. We believe that this outlook and approach to development is not only something that can aid them in reaching their on-field potential…but also help them in achieving their goals outside of soccer as well.
Another key component in our development philosophy is teaching the kids how to deal with disappointment and mistakes. We aim to turn mistakes and errors into teachable moments and believe that you can learn as much from a loss as you can a win. This is again a reason for why we prioritize our focus on the development of the players, rather than the competitive results of the team.
It is our hope, that once the players have finished our U12 program, that they have ambitions to play in the BCSPL (BC Soccer Premier League). Many of our players have done exactly that ,and several have gone on to represent the Provincial Team Program.
We believe at Okanagan FC, that providing the best possible instruction to our groups is something that sets us aside from most other programs in the region (and even the province). Not only do all of our coaching staff have the relevant qualifications from BC Soccer, but are above and beyond that as well. Every one of our Okanagan FC coaches has a minimum of a Provincial Qualification from BC Soccer as well as having experience with working in the BCSPL (BC Soccer Premier League) which is the level that we hope to pass off our development team players to.
All of our coaches prioritize development over the results of the team and will look for teachable moments in mistakes and disappointing performances. As outlined in our development philosophy, our coaches will look to establish an environment in their groups where the kids can thrive and look to achieve their full potential. Our coaches all work in soccer full-time and have a massive passion for the game, which we hope has a positive impact on our teams and players!
For young players, improving their quality on the ball is a primary focus for us. Their ability to control and receive the ball, their range and capability to perform an effective action with the ball, and the mental capacity to recognize and select the correct solution to a given situation with the ball. Considering this, our teams will always strive to control games by dominating possession of the ball (this starts with our goalkeepers!). This will often lead to us losing some games that we should probably win, but we firmly believe that this approach to the game is one that lends itself to the developmental principals and outcomes that we want to achieve with our groups.
One key tenant of our playing philosophy is the old saying “The keeper is the first attacker, the striker is the first defender.” Every player in our team is expected to contribute to both attacking and defending phases of play. We pride ourselves on the teamwork and cohesiveness of our teams on and off the field and a key component in our playing philosophy is teaching very talented young players how to take their new-learned technical ability, and to combine it with the also-talented players around them in order to produce attractive, exciting, and successful play.
While defending, our teams are more varied in their approach. Our primary focus when we defend is to promote teamwork, and recognition of key threats through good awareness and communication. You may see some of our teams press higher, while some may drop slightly deeper to deal with those threats…the one common theme, however, should be a great togetherness from the group and a unity in working together to execute that team’s strategy. We do, of course, coach the defensive principles of the game in our sessions, however, we most often apply these as counter-principals to our attacking and possession play, as we believe there should be a greater focus on time spent with a ball for players at this early age.
As far as playing time goes, we will never sit a kid on the bench or deny them time on the field purely to win a match. This does not mean, however, that all playing time is equal. There are many considerations that go into deciding the playing time of a match, such as:
– Using extra/less time to motivate a player
– Using extra/less time to discipline a player
– Using extra/less time to reward a player
– Using extra/less time to affect morale
There are also more considerations than just the ones above, but the key point is that we will not deny playing time to kids to win matches. Even with the considerations above, outside of extraordinary circumstances the least that a player can expect to play is around 50%. See our Development Philosophy for the rationale behind this.