2017_18 Center of Excellence Overview

  “Coerver Coaching has history, it’s authentic, and the best soccer teaching I have seen. I worked with it all through my career, and it certainly made me a better player”

Soccer Legend, Twice World Cup Champion & Twice Olympic Gold Medal Winner


Coerver® Coaching is about developing soccer players with great skills.  Coerver Colorado’s Center of Excellence does this patiently, systematically and in depth over the course of 8, 12 or 16 weekly sessions in the winter months.  COE players become different from others their age – most notably in the skill, poise and confidence (Coerver Confidence defined below) with which they play.  They learn to “use that difference to make a difference” whenever they play.  Now entering its seventh year, the COE has become the standard by which soccer skill development is measured in Colorado. Coerver Colorado

Confidence – An athlete displays a quiet inner confidence based on preparation, her own and that of her teammates. Confidence is a belief based on your daily work habits and your constant progress. This kind of confidence is contagious within a team, built as athletes subject themselves to tough challenges and practices and see the value in hard work. These athletes develop a “go for it” mentality, become unafraid of failure and remain confident in “rough waters”. They prepare hard every day.

*When success follows athletes tell you it’s because of the effort they put into preparation.

The Non – Athlete has a false confidence, not built on preparation, but on factors she doesn’t control. Maybe she is blessed with great athleticism. Maybe she thinks that the team will “carry” her. In either event, she does not put the same effort or attention into practices as do the athletes on the team.

**Having true confidence is a choice.  

 “Skillful Players First”: The Foundation.  “Teach skills and they will play a lifetime.” Soccer skills’ training is important in two respects.  It gives players the tools for life long enjoyment of The Game.  Then, for those who aspire to higher levels of play, their skills become the most important component in achieving the “Vision of Greatness” that is found in an athlete’s highest competitive potential. The best player development models emphasize “Skillful Players First”.

Mission Statement.  The Center of Excellence is built to provide a fearless environment for players to develop the needed mental and physical qualities of a great athlete patiently, systematically and in depth over time in the most challenging environment.

As with all Coerver® Colorado programs, the Center of Excellence follows a detailed written curriculum filled with activities used by Coerver® Coaching worldwide that are proven to be challenging, effective and outrageously fun.

Barriers to Skills Training:  Despite its importance, sustained and systematic skills training is not often found in youth sports, soccer included.

Many coaches – including those who may themselves have strong skills – have not learned to teach them effectively.  U.S. Soccer has recently revised the state level programs for licensing coaches (the “F”, “E” and “D” courses) after discovering that candidates for the National Coaching License couldn’t teach skills.  A further challenge for coaches is to maintain the patience and perseverance that successful skills training requires.

But another barrier, perhaps the greater one, is related to increasing pressures to win more and more at earlier and earlier ages.  This easily leads to the trap of “winning today (at the sacrifice of tomorrow.)”  Here you see training that prioritizes team organization over player development and team environments where a fear of mistakes stifles boldness and creativity (because “mistakes make you lose”.)  At its worst, excessive focus on the scoreboard promotes over-training scenarios, substituting quantity for quality in ways that too often put players’ progress at risk, or in reverse.

Coerver® Centers of Excellence are being established throughout the United States as a means of providing skills training of the highest quality for the most promising younger players.  The Colorado model runs in the winter months.  Players attend weekly training that is as challenging mentally as demanding physically.  The 2017/18 COE, will include 16 — 90 minute sessions in all (12 — 2 hour sessions for the U12’s, U13’s and U14’s and 8 – 90 minutes session for the COE JR Academy) which follow detailed, written lesson plans. Sessions are designed to immerse the most talented players in high level skills training.  They are done in a “climate of fearlessness”, where mistakes are viewed as great learning opportunities.  A relentlessly positive environment promotes spontaneity and daring – qualities which are so important both in advancing to higher levels of play and maximizing enjoyment of the game.

The core of the training is developing technical mastery of footskills, ball moves, striking the ball, techniques of passing and receiving, and using those skills in 1v1 duels with an opponent.  We then build from that “individual option” to combination play in small sided games.

Sessions are competitive, but in the original sense of the word – “striving with”, not “striving against”. Players learn that the ultimate team player uses his or her own best efforts both to get better and to challenge teammates to improve as well. That idea is one example of the COE’s emphasis on developing the character traits found in the most successful athletes.  After all, it’s the Life Lessons you learn through sports that will be more enduring, and are therefore are more important, than anything you’ll learn about soccer. Players will master the “Qualities of Great Athletes” and the awareness of how to use these qualities ON and OFF the field.  

The Colorado Center of Excellence starts October 29th (October 27th for the 02,03 & 04 Infinity Groups) and continues until the beginning of March.  In designing our program, we “started with the end in mind.” This is a description of the players we’d like to see at program’s end:

By the end of the Under-14 year, players will be exceptionally skilled.  They will be poised in play, confident, creative and bold with the ball, and make excellent use of the fundamental elements of team play.  They will have a unique vision of the game and regularly anticipate the coming movements of players and the ball.  They will demonstrate the ability to make good decisions about the mix of individualism (“I can beat you myself”) and team play (“or with the help of my teammates”.)

We achieve this through a focus on:

            >  Superior 1v1 Skills – the ability and confidence to take on and beat an opponent in a one-on-one situation, together with the poise to keep possession of the ball under strong defensive pressure.  Players can expect some sort of one-on-one activity at every session.

            >  A Dynamic First Touch – the skill and vision to place the ball with the first touch to a spot where it can be played again quickly and productively.  This is also found in every session. 

            >  Accuracy and Power when striking a ball – with several surfaces of either foot. Finishing it tight spaces.

            > Mastery of the Small Group Situations (2v1, 3v1, 3v2, etc.) which are the building blocks of team play.

            > Mastery of the Great Soccer Habits that form the basis for a player’s “Sense of the Game” (i.e. “Game Smarts” “Awareness”

Those are features of all Coerver® Colorado programs.  Indeed, those goals are part of our

The Staff.  The core of the staff consists of Nationally Licensed Coaches as well as Coerver MASTER Coaches. These master coaches have been with Coerver for over 7 years and have a true understanding of the culture, techniques specific to Coerver and the best ways to push players to the edge of their comfort zones encouraging mistake based soccer. While some coach teams at the Club level, our program is strictly “club neutral”.  It will not be a venue for scouting or player recruitment, either by coaches or parents.  Its focus will be fully on developing the talents of already talented players.  As the program has grown, we have brought in some of the best coaches from many clubs, as they had the desire to take our “Skillful Players First” approach back to their home programs. We also use assistants (summer staff members training to be master coaches) and “Big Brother / Big Sister” role models, high school players who have grown up with Coerver® and are on the path to joining our Summer Camps staff.

Who Is This Program For?  The Center of Excellence is a soccer program designed for players who are high achievers, who enjoy challenge and competition, who love the game and put a high priority on soccer with a teachable spirit.

Typically these boys and girls will show determination – to get better, to learn all they can, to try things that are new and different.  They will be persistent.  They will have a competitive spirit, and perhaps a splash or two of guile.  And they will demonstrate those qualities not just as athletes, but in most of the things they do.

On the field, these are players with some “field smarts”, who are playing when they don’t have the ball.  They are thinking about how to get open for a pass.  They anticipate the movement of teammates and the ball, not just react to them.  When they have the ball, their play demonstrates composure much more often than panic.

These are not necessarily the players who appear to dominate on the field at the younger ages.  That recognition tends to go to the biggest and/or fastest players, who are often biggest and fastest simply because they are the oldest in the age group.  Speed and coordination are useful traits, but they are less reliable predictors of future success than the qualities listed in those earlier paragraphs.

The Colorado Center of Excellence is designed specifically for players with those qualities, and not every player will be suited to this program.

Nomination to the Center of Excellence.  There is one path to admission of the 2017/18 Center of Excellence. A coach’s recommendation received from participation in a 2017 Summer Camp. In those settings, senior members of the coaching staff will have evaluated the players by the standards listed in the previous section. The invited players have also separated themselves with top performances in our benchmark skills test we call tXgames.

The first wave of invitation letters will be sent out August 21st to selected players. Invitations go out in waves, so as not to have more invitations outstanding than we have places open in each age group. Each wave has a specific location and “RSVP Date” by which to enroll.  An invited player’s place is guaranteed at the designated location until that date.  An invited player may still enroll after that date, but acceptance will be dependent on space available as of the RSVP Date of the then current wave of invitations.

We expect this process to be completed and spots fully enrolled by the week of September 30th.

2017 – 2018 Age Groups.

Our entry “Level Seven” program will be for the Class of 2009,

“Level Six” curriculum for the Class of 2008

“Level Five” curriculum for the Class of 2007

“Level Four” curriculum for the Class of 2006

“Level Three” curriculum for the Class of 2005

“Level Two” curriculum will be for the Class of 2004,

“Level One” curriculum will be for the Class 2002, 2003

As with all Coerver Colorado programs, we want to place players where they will learn the most. Please sign up for your designated location stated in your invitation. The COE provides separate training for boys and girls, with programs designed to capitalize on their different learning styles and social skills.  There tends to be a great deal of difference, for instance, in the ways boys and girls approach play that shows “spontaneity and daring.”

Each “team” will have 12-14 players.  Sessions are designed for groups that size and do not work as well with groups of fewer than 12.  Players in the program (and their parents) must realize the dual obligation that comes with being part of such an endeavor.  This was best summed up by 1991 World Champion Tracey Bates Leone: You owe it to yourself and to your teammates to do everything you can and give everything you have toward your goal of Being the Best.  Neither obligation can be fulfilled by players who are absent; in this program you can quickly fall enough behind to become a hindrance to the progress of your COE teammates.  We know that even at the younger ages there are many things that call upon these players’ time.  But in fairness to others, we ask that players who cannot commit to attend a minimum of 75% of the 16 instructional sessions leave those roster spots spot open for other athletes who can.  

Locations. Center of Excellence will take place at three venues.

  • The Sports Dome, 6959 S. Peoria, Centennial, CO
  • The Foothills Indoor Sports Arena, 3608 S. Kipling Parkway (at Hampden), on Sunday afternoons (1:00 – 2:30) and (2:30-4 pm).
  • The U12, U13 and U14 programs will be outdoors at Infinity Park in Glendale, a lighted all weather surface near Cherry Creek Mall. (12 2-hour sessions on Friday evenings, with extra dates reserved for weather-related cancellations.)  These ages need a larger space both for their larger bodies and to be able to train in the 4v4 to 6v6 environments that are the next levels in developing the “building blocks of team play.

The opening session for all Friday Dome and Sunday Foothills programs,  will be at the Stutler Bowl, Cherry Creek High School, on Sunday afternoon October 29th, times will be listed on www.Coervercolorado.com on October 2nd 

ESP’s (Exceptional Soccer Parents).  Navigating the youth sports landscape is not easy for families.  An important element of our COE involves information and education about how to make the youth sports experience the best it can be for both parents and players.  We draw heavily upon the ideas of the Positive Coaching Alliance and the thoughts of some of the great coach/educators in sports.   Among the topics to be covered are the importance of rest and recovery, the false promise of early specialization in a sport, “ownership” in youth sports, and how to deal with over-training and other common but potentially harmful practices.  (Walking the talk: the U12 and older COE teams will be at Infinity Park on Friday evenings in order to leave the weekend days for basketball, skiing and other sports and activities that will help these players develop personally and athletically.

Costs.  The cost for a year’s COE program is $ 525.00.  That includes the training sessions, an Adidas Coerver® Center of Excellence uniform (New Design) (shirt, shorts, socks) PLEASE FILL OUT CORRECT SIZES ON YOUR COERVERCOLORADO.COM registration to allow for efficient jersey distribution. A $295.00 deposit at the time of registration will hold a place in the program, with the $230 balance due December 1st

COE SUMMER DISCOUNT –  a substantial extension (through March 31, 2018) of the deadline for our 15% “Earliest and Best” 2018 Summer Camp Enrollment Discount.

Questions and Comments. Coerver Colorado’s Center of Excellence is a demanding programs and your suggestions are welcome as we want always improve.  As it’s said,“Let’s Get Better”.  Please let us know what you think by calling 720-255-4911 or an email to coervercolorado@gmail.com