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City Academy Player Development Philosophy

Player Development Philosophy - U8 & under

Players are in the “Discovery Phase” at 8 years old. Understanding this is vital to how we approach the development of our young players and people. This is often their first experience with a ball, a coach, an organized team and thus their first opportunity to begin to understand the very basic concepts of the game and playing with teammates. As a result, Safety and FUN and developing a deep love of the game are our TOP Priorities!

Our philosophies and curriculum are in line with the standards and guidelines put forth by the United States Youth Soccer Association (USYSA), United Soccer Coaches, and the American Youth Soccer Organizations.

Our player development model is designed by Coach Jay Hebenheimer and Coach Joren Trimble.

Training Directives, Initiatives, and Strategies include but are not limited to


  • Lead coaches expected to have completed the US Soccer Coaching or Grassroots Course.

  • Players will have a ball at their feet a heavy majority of the time at all training sessions.

  • Play/Rest time should be no less than 60/40 for every player.

  •  Introduce basic soccer actions of running with the ball, using both feet and using all surfaces of the foot to control and manipulate the ball in different directions.

  • Focus is on creating fun environments with instruction that leans towards encouraging players to develop their fundamentals as well as be creative and try new things in a positive atmosphere allowing for them to develop at their own pace.

  • Through continuous praise of one’s effort, commitment to learn and willingness to make a mistake; Coaches will intentionally seek opportunities to speak with players about developing a growth mindset so that our young people begin to see a challenge as a learning opportunity and not a roadblock.


UCC and City Academy look to engage both parents and players at an early age and give them a more direct entry into “the beautiful game.” To that end we will offer a variety of opportunities for players from 6 to 8 years old and offer parents guidance as to the direction their players should take as they move their way into either recreational or competitive soccer. City Academy will be an avenue to Competitive Club Soccer.

City Academy Player Code


  • I will know where the ball is at all times and never turn my back to the ball.

  • I will keep my eyes on the ball, in bounds and out.

  • I will NEVER make a throw-in error.

  • I will ALWAYS communicate NO TALK, NO TEAM!!

  • I will ALWAYS talk with my coaches.

  • I will NEVER put down a teammate.

  • I will NEVER kick a ball out of bounds on a corner kick.

  • I will constantly move according to the flow of play.

  • I will set up passing opportunities.

  • I will strive to play hard and aggressively, giving 100% at all times.

  • I will know what my options are with the ball before I receive it.

  • I will NEVER agonize over my mistakes, I will learn from them.