Our Soccer Culture

Our Soccer Culture

A successful club must have and maintain a soccer culture, which includes but is not limited to, a Clear Mission Statement, a Progressive Player Development Curriculum, a Continuous Coach Development Program and a Constant Parent Education Program.  
In the club soccer circles today, an over emphasis is being placed on winning. In sports, we are obsessed with the "outcome" rather than the "process". It seems that as long as we win, we are happy.
Many Clubs and coaches often coach game to game, trying to solve the problems from the last game that will produce a win in the next match.  Quite often this translates into creative recruiting of players in order to find "winning" solutions.  
There is a big difference between coaching to win and coaching to develop. A good coach is able to do both.  I don't want to be caught in a contradiction here.  Every team should "try to win". That is why the game is played. But this should not be the focus of any training session or player motivation. As the players get older, a careful balance between winning and development must be considered.
Development is a very long and endless process that must be undertaken patiently by both the adult (coach, parent and administrator) and the player.  But we still evaluate coaches/clubs only on their win-loss record. What about enjoyment of the process, the journey, the experience and its ultimate influence on us as people, coaches, parents and athletes? What about evaluating coaches/clubs on the improvement, growth and development of their players? After all, we can't control the "outcome", but we can control the "process".  Finally, we must work together in this "journey" and collectively let's spread the word to everyone about our "process" and our "success".

Code of Conduct

Parents Code of Conduct

It is expected that all parents read and understand the Parent's Code of Conduct and follow the guidelines throughout the year.

  • I will encourage my child to play by the rules and to resolve conflict without resorting to hostility or violence.
  • I will never yell, taunt, threaten or inflict physical violence upon any player, coach, official, or spectator at any club activity. I will refrain from the use of abusive or vulgar language, racial ethnic or gender-related slurs at any time at the field or club activity. I will support all efforts to remove verbal and physical abuse from club activities.
  • I will leave coaching to the coaching staff. I will encourage my child to play in a manner consistent with the team's strategy or plans.
  • I will emphasize skill development and a serious approach to practices and explain how skill development will benefit my child and teammates. I also understand that my child's development will suffer by not consistently attending practices.
  • I will not throw objects of any kind on the field. I will not walk on the field during a game.
  • I will communicate all and any concerns regarding inappropriate behavior to the team manager, coach, or registrar.
  • I understand that MassYouthSoccer has set up priority guidelines to refer to when there is a conflict.
  • I understand the benefits from participating in a team sport, the discipline and the social skills learned and acquired.
  • I will remember that my child plays soccer for his or her enjoyment, not mine.
  • I understand that club soccer is a big commitment and must be taken seriously.
  • I understand the negative talk on the sidelines is not tolerated. If I have a problem I will bring it to the attention of the team manager, coach, or registrar. 

Youth Soccer

A guide from the English Football Association for parents and carers:


It explains the reason for our "Parents Code of Conduct" nicely.

What is ODP?

What is ODP?

  • The original national identification and development program for high-level and elite players established in 1977 as the US Youth Soccer Select Team Program

  • The only elite player program with more than 25 years of experience and verifiable results.

  • A well-defined infrastructure in place and the experience to deliver international travel and competition, exposure, scholarships and other exclusive opportunities

  • Not a dream, but a reality with programs in US Youth Soccer's 55 member State Associations

  • The only elite player development program that can claim a majority of current and past players on the United States Men's, Women's and Youth teams as alumni

  • The only elite player development program that can claim members of Major League Soccer and Women's United Soccer Association as alumni

  • An opportunity to train with and compete against the best players at the State, Regional, and National levels

What are the goals of ODP?

  • To identify a pool of players in each age group from which United States Men's, Women's, and Youth national team pools can be selected for international competition

  • To provide high level training to benefit and enhance the development of players at all levels

  • Through the use of carefully selected licensed coaches, develop a mechanism for the enhancement of ideas and curriculum to improve all levels of coaching

How are players selected for ODP?

  • Open tryouts are available to any player

  • Scouting of US Youth Soccer State Association, Regional and National events and leagues

  • US Youth Soccer State Association league and club play

  • Regional pools and teams are selected only from players that participate in sanctioned US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program events

  • Players are evaluated on the four basic components
    • 1. Technique or ball skills
    • 2. Tactical sense or decision making ability
    • 3. Fitness and athletic ability

    • 4. Attitude


Congratulations to the following players for making the Mass ODP Pool for 20011-2012.

Noah Teperow
Greg Enos
Ben Osgood
Jacob Rosenkalt
Mario Prata
Corey McGilvray
Felippe Ferreira
Chris Benson
David Stapleton
Dimitri Makrigiorgos
Josh Makaruse
Jerhan Ponteen
Danielle McGinty
Christian Arbelaez
Daniel Sellers
Simon Shulman
Aidan Garagic
David Luongo
Joao DeSouza
Erik Gustafson
Mitchell Collins
Peter Heckendorn
Lucas Amaral
Sebastian Jaramillo
Ryan Kinsella
Olivia Wingate
Ally Wayne

This is a true sign of the club's philosophy of developing better and smarter players!


Benfica USA Chain of Communication

During the course of the year, there may be times when you see things that you feel are not right, that seem unfair to you, your child, or other members of the club. We, the Club Board, encourage you to make us aware of these issues so that we can correct any wrongs or injustices, or at least offer an explanation. Therefore, based on years of experience, we have established this “Chain of Communication” which provides an efficient means  for the Director of Coaching, coaches, team managers, registrar, and Board members to resolve an issue.
The suggested method for communications is e-mail, unless time is a critical factor (If, for example, safety is involved). E-mail allows one to compose one’s thoughts and to think of the merits of what may be a spur-of-the-moment reaction to an event. The respondent also has time to think before giving an off-the-cuff rebuttal. Follow-up questions may be posed in a thoughtful manner when an e-mail response is sent. Phone calls and face-to-face discussions may not leave much room for reconsideration. Also phone calls may be an intrusion on the private family or business time of the individuals involved in the resolution of an issue.
You are strongly encouraged to read your e-mail on a daily basis. This is how all information will be distributed. It is your responsibility to make sure you are informed.  Please note that when responding to a team or club e-mail, you should not use a “reply all” message to raise an issue or problem.
The following four guide lines should be used when reporting an issue or problem:

1.    Your first line of communication should be to e-mail your team manager.
In addition to a coach, each team is expected to have a parent designated as a team manager. The team manager’s responsibility is to facilitate communications among the parents of the team, the coach, the registrar, and the Club Board. In addition, they also handle many administrative tasks for the team. It is expected that all participating families will fully support, assist, and be responsive to the efforts of the team manager.

2.    For Soccer-related issues you should e-mail your Coach.
All development and playing issues should first be addressed with the team coach.

3.    For financial issues and/or questions regarding paperwork you should e-mail the registrar.
Financial and/or paperwork issues can be addressed directly and confidentially to the registrar.

4.    If there are other issues you would like to address, and you are uncomfortable contacting the team manager or coach, always feel free to e-mail Arthur or Sheelagh.

The Offside Rule

Are you still confused about the Offside Rule? Here is a great animation to help you understand!


US Soccer Development Academy

U.S. Soccer Launches Development Academy to Expand Opportunities for Players Nationwide  

- Grassroots Development Academy Will Provide Improved Soccer Environment for Thousands of Players, Coaches & Referees from Coast-to-Coast

CHICAGO (August 14, 2007) – In a move designed to improve the development environment for players throughout the country, the U.S. Soccer Federation has taken the initiative in formalizing a nationwide development academy slated to begin Columbus Day Weekend, October 6-8, 2007 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif . The U.S. Soccer Development Academy will feature 64 elite youth soccer clubs from around the country in its inaugural season.

Created to provide players with the best possible opportunity to develop, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy is being initiated after a comprehensive review of player development systems in the United States and around the world.

Each Development Academy club will not only serve as a home for the nation’s top players, but also as a destination point within their community for shared learning and experience. One of the major advantages of the program will see players receiving integrated oversight from both youth club coaches and U.S. Soccer coaches, while training in their home environment. In turn, the Development Academy will provide an improved scouting environment for college, professional and U.S. National Team coaches.

“After completing an extensive review and discussion across the country, we feel that it is the right time for U.S. Soccer to lead a change in the sport at the youth level,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “We need to shift the focus of our young elite players from an ‘overburdened, game emphasis’ model to a ‘meaningful training and competition’ model. This will ultimately lead to more success and will allow players to develop to their full potential.”

To begin that process, U.S. Soccer is using the Development Academy to create a wide-reaching movement within the grassroots soccer environment that will educate parents, coaches and players on the value of expanding national player development directly to the clubs. Using the current U.S. Under-17 Residency Program as a model, the youth clubs chosen to be part of the Development Academy will increase the amount of time spent on meaningful training while also increasing the quality of their matches.

"It's a concept that youth soccer in this country desperately needs and our goal is to truly shift the focus towards increasing player development,” said U.S. Soccer’s Under-17 National Team head coach John Hackworth. “I think it will create a day-to-day training environment that will allow players the opportunity to develop to the best of their ability. Right now we have only 40 players in that type of environment (at the U-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla.), but this Academy will allow us to put thousands of elite players in a similar environment, which will help us raise the entire level across the nation."

With an emphasis on creating a superior everyday training environment, teams in the Development Academy will have a clean slate for a calendar and will be required to train a minimum of three times a week, eliminating the growing trend of clubs playing an excessive quantity of games in lieu of consistent training patterns. To maintain an emphasis on training, Development Academy teams will compete against other teams in the program and will not play in any other leagues, tournaments or State Cup competitions, and players will only be allowed to compete on their designated Academy team (with exceptions for high school soccer and national team duty).

Clubs that are not part of U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy will continue to play in traditional youth soccer competitions, with the longtime Olympic Development Program also continuing unimpeded. With Development Academy players no longer being seen at ODP events, those spots will now be open for additional players to be seen at an elite level.

"I'm very excited about the establishment of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Program,” said U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach Bob Bradley. “It is very important for U.S. Soccer to work with our top clubs to ensure that our best young players are constantly being challenged in an environment that best promotes player development. With a tremendous amount of reach, this program will help focus training sessions and matches on the areas that are critical to elevating our young players' ability to compete at the elite levels of the sport."

The Development Academy has been divided into eight conferences comprised of eight teams based on geographic proximity. Academy teams will play 30 matches across a complete season with the winner of each conference participating in the annual Academy Finals at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The Academy clubs will be comprised of Under-16 and Under-18 age groups, with a minimum of 20 players on a roster. Younger players in the Academy system will also be allowed to play “up” within their club.

Academy clubs were chosen by U.S. Soccer’s coaches from more than 150 applications based on number of criteria, including a club’s history of elite youth player development and past success in elite competitions. The Academy will feature 63 clubs, representing 24 states and the District of Columbia, plus the U.S. National Team from U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program, playing at the Under-15/16 and Under-17/18 age levels.

"The Academy is a comprehensive approach to help develop some of the top players across the nation, but it is also designed to be a working model for the grassroots level,” said U.S. Soccer Director of Coaching Education & Youth Development Bob Jenkins. “All the clubs involved will be moving in the same direction giving us a similar approach to player development, and then these clubs will act almost like satellites out in the country helping to spread the message out to the clubs around them."

The Academy will also serve as a better coaching development platform, with each participating club receiving two invitations to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Best Practices seminars. The development platform for U.S. Soccer referees will also be enhanced in the program, with U.S. Soccer assigning referees to all Academy matches.

With the framework of the boys Development Academy serving as a starting point for discussion, a similar initiative to enhance the development of female players will also be explored.


Objective: The focus of the Academy is on player development and providing players with the best possible opportunity to develop to the highest level they are capable of achieving
Standards: A minimum requirement of three training sessions and one rest day per week
Teams: 64 of the top youth soccer clubs in the U.S.
Age Groups: U-16 & U-18 teams (minimum roster of 20 players); providing opportunities for more than 2,000 players
Competition Format: Divided into eight conferences with each team playing 30 home and away matches during an eight-month season. Each conference is comprised of 8 teams based on geographic proximity. The winner of each conference will play in the Academy Finals at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

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