Canada Soccer believes every player deserves the best possible soccer experience. Whether they dream of playing for Canada's National Team or simply want to have fun with their friends, taking the right approach to the game when children are young sets the stage for a lifetime of enjoyment.
The Canada Soccer Pathway provides a roadmap for players of all ages and aspirations who want to play soccer at the recreation, competitive or high performance EXCEL levels, with the aim of encouraging lifelong participation. The Pathway is built around the principles of Long-Term Player Development (LTPD).
Teacher. Mentor. Role model. Cheerleader. Parent. Occasional disciplinarian.
Soccer coaches wear many different hats, particularly when they’re training young players, many of whom are lacing up their cleats for the first time. You might find yourself leading a fun activity one minute and reining in a distracted player the next. You must be flexible, because a session or drill that was meant to last 10 minutes might need to be switched up after half that time to keep the players engaged. Above all, make sure everyone is enjoying the session—including you.
Being a coach is demanding, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. There’s nothing quite like witnessing the thrill a young player gets when they score their first goal, or make a fantastic pass. And the lessons a child learns from a good coach can last a lifetime. The objective isn’t just to develop better soccer players—it’s to develop wellrounded people who are disciplined, persistent and able to work well with others. Shaping the lives of young people is a tremendous responsibility. As a coach, you must do everything you can to foster a player’s love for the game, and to help them achieve their potential.
Good coaches seek out new ways to develop their knowledge of the game and how players learn. These Canada Soccer Pathway toolkits are designed to get you started. You can also find them on the Canada Soccer website.
The YRSA wishes to acknowledge Canada Soccer for the provision of these resources.
The Canada Soccer Pathway provides a roadmap for players of all ages and aspirations who want to play soccer at the recreational, competitive or high performance EXCEL levels, with the aim of encouraging lifelong participation. The Pathway is built around the principles of Long-Term Player Development (LTPD).
Gives the youngest players the opportunity to develop basic movement skills like running, jumping, landing, kicking, throwing, and catching in a fun setting built around informal play and positive reinforcement.
Allows children to develop their movement ABCs— agility, balance, coordination, and speed—and learn the basics of the game while emphasizing fun, cooperation, and maximum time on the ball.
This “golden age of learning,” when children become less self-centered and are more able to reflect on their actions and learn from mistakes, provides an optimal window for further development of skills. The focus is on learning by doing, building a larger repertoire of soccer movements and teaching the basic principles of play in a fun and challenging environment.