Mod Academy Overview
About our Mod Soccer Academy Program
Here are some key points about our Soccer Academy program:
- This is a volunteer program that depends on parent volunteer coaches
Coaches receive weekly lesson plans & instructional videos and support & training from the Nortac Mod Academy Staff
- Players will normally train twice per week: once a week with their team and once a week with the Nortac Mod Academy
- Generally, one game will be played every Sunday Afternoon. Teams will also play three-midweek games during their normally scheduled Nortac Academy days
- Participating in the Spring Academy will NOT conflict with tryouts or other Sparta Tacoma program events. If your player is old enough and interested in Sparta, we still encourage them to participate in the Spring Academy.
Please read below for additional information about our coaching, training and program structure.
Each team in the program shall have a designated head coach and at least one designated assistant coach. Coaches for the Nortac Soccer Academy are all strictly volunteers. All coaches who are under 18 years of age must work under the supervision of an adult at all times. All adults who are involved with the team on a regular basis (coach, assistant, team manager) must register through Nortac Soccer Club and go through a simple risk management clearance process before working with the kids.
Our Coaches come from a variety of backgrounds, and previous soccer knowledge is preferred but not required. The ability to work with children and a willingness to follow the program philosophies and guidelines are more critical to success than soccer know-how, and some of our best and most effective coaches in the past have come from limited soccer backgrounds. The coaching commitment is only about 3 hours per week, and ongoing on-the-job training and support are provided by our Technical Directors and staff coaches.
Individual team training sessions
At U6 and above, each team is expected to train on their own once a week. For these ages, one hour is the recommended duration of a training session. The time and location for this training session will be chosen by the team's Head coach. Right now there are no set blocks of space set aside to train, but there are many Tacoma Parks in the area suitable for training and you are encouraged to find a space that suits you. If you decide to try and use any school fields, make sure you contact the school to get permission (it should be free but they will want paperwork filled out)
During your individual team sessions, we strongly recommend that you repeat the Training Plans from the current or previous week's Mod Academy sessions, as the activities have been carefully planned out for the season cycle with the specific developmental needs of the players in mind.
Each player should bring a soccer ball, shin guards, water, and clothing appropriate for the weather to every training session. A soccer ball is included in the registration fee for every player, and these balls will be distributed at the first Academy Session
Academy Training Sessions
In addition to the weekly individual team session, all players and coaches will train together at a weekly Academy Training Session. See the schedule above for times and dates for each age group
Weekly training plans will normally be sent out to coaches on Sunday Evenings. Parents may also receive copies of the training plans by emailing the director of coaching. These training plans are very simple information sheets that will include a diagram and a link to a video demonstration, and written directions and coaching tips for each activity. Coaches are expected to familiarize themselves with these training plans before the session starts.
- Head coaches are expected to attend and actively participate in the Mod Academy Sessions each week. If you cannot attend due to scheduling conflicts, you are expected to send an assistant or a risk-management-cleared adult to help.
- All assistant coaches are invited and encouraged to come to the Academy sessions and take full part in the training.
- Each player should bring a soccer ball, shin guards, water, and clothing appropriate for the weather to every training session
Player Safety and Supervision at Training and Games
Coaches and assistant coaches are expected to do everything they can to ensure a safe training environment, but for players at these young ages, the parents must retain their share of this responsibility too. Parents should not treat their soccer coach or the Nortac Academy as a babysitter. Parents who are not going to be on-site for Individual Team Training or Academy sessions shall designate another parent to be responsible to look after your child in your absence, and not expect that responsibility to fall on your volunteer coaches.
Coaches should never be left alone with anyone else's child except for their own, so parents need to make sure this never happens. Again, if a parent must be off-site during training or games, they need to make sure another parent takes responsibility for their child in the event they are delayed or cannot return before the event ends
Washington Youth Soccer is also considering a requirement that all coaches participate in an online safety program. If this protocol is implemented, coaches will be contacted by the club registrar with details.
Coaching, Staff and Spectators
If you want your players to perform better and enjoy the game more, then less is definitely more when it comes to coaching from the sidelines (or from the field). Kids should be able to play on game day without a constant stream of commands and instructions from the adults, and will almost always play better without that distraction.
Think about your own experiences as an adult. If you need to perform a complex task are you going to do better if you are free to focus and concentrate on that task, or do better if you have someone constantly yelling at you?
Positive comments and feedback are fine, as long as they do not become distracting, but try to limit instructions as much as possible while the ball is in play. At these ages, a brief reminder (ideally one familiar keyword or phrase) or simple instruction while the ball is out of play is the most effective way to coach.
The general tone of any coaching during the game should always be positive, and there is never, ever, a reason to make negative comments to or about any of the players, coaches, or spectators
Parent and Spectator Behavior
As stated above, we are asking coaches to limit the amount of active coaching they do during the game in order to enhance the player's enjoyment and development. This will only work if the parents and other spectators do not try to "fill the void". Parents and other spectators are free to encourage the players on the field, but should not coach or give any instructions during practices or games (even yelling "go" is an instruction). Along with being distracting, the spectators often offer advice contradictory to what the coach is teaching them to do in training (a perfect example is the command "boot it!", something that no young soccer player should ever be ordered to do). Let the kids play.
As with the coaches, no spectator ever has any reason to make negative comments or remarks to opposing players, coaches, or fellow spectators
Coaches are ultimately responsible for the behavior of both their coaching staff and their sidelines. Any issues that cannot be resolved on the team level should immediately be brought to the attention of the Technical Director or the Field Marshall
For more information about why we strongly discourage coaching from the sidelines, please read the article below that Program Director Scott Nelson wrote several years ago for Soccer America Magazine.
The overall program is under the active supervision of the Technical Director and each age group has its own Age Group Director. The directors' main roles and responsibilities include:
- Designing and Organizing weekly Academy Sessions
- Coach training and education
- Parent education
Program Developer - Scott Nelson
Scott has been coaching soccer for more than 20 years. He has coached all ages from 2-year-olds to adults, and all ability levels from recreational soccer to Premier, High School, and the Olympic Development Program. Scott also spent two years coaching the youth teams of the USL Seattle Sounders in the regional Super-Y League. He holds a National C License and a National Youth License from the United States Soccer Federation, The Advanced National License from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Children's and Adult coaching licenses from the Austrian Soccer Federation, and an Expert in Youth Development Diploma from the prestigious MBP School of Coaches in Barcelona, Spain. Scott spent ten years on the Washington Youth Soccer Instructional staff, where his specialty was training coaches to work with very young players.
In addition to his work with the Mod Academy, Scott serves as the Sparta Tacoma Boys 2009 Red and White head coach and previously served as the Nortac and Sparta Director of Coaching.