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YSC Soccer Program

YSC Academy students start each day on the training pitch or in the Athletic Development Training room, working on the technical-skill elements of their game and/or their agility, coordination, balance, and power. Each session is individually tailored and carefully monitored to make sure the athlete is given the best possible environment to expedite and enhance personal development. Beginning the school day with these morning training sessions also works to release dopamine, essentially waking up the brain and activating the learning centers, which in turn enhances productivity in the classroom.

YSC Academy’s soccer curriculum is designed and implemented by Philadelphia Union Academy staff to improve the speed and quality of technical skills and decision-making of all players. At the highest level, the game of soccer has rapidly evolved to a phase where speed of play and speed of technical-skill execution are paramount to success. A faster and more highly skilled game requires an even greater focus on technical foundation skills and the decision-making capabilities of the players. How to solve game problems, while performing skills at speed, is at the center of our development methodology.

YSC Academy’s morning training sessions dramatically increase the annual training units (hours) for each player. Typically in the US, elite-youth-soccer players train between 2 to 3 units a week. In Europe, and other parts of the world, elite youth train between 8 to 10 units a week. Our morning sessions enable our players to match their global peer group in terms of total training units while providing them an opportunity to work on their technical skills by improving key fundamentals.

The program is run by Philadelphia Union Academy staff led by UEFA Pro Licensed Academy Director, Tommy Wilson.

Athletic Development Training

The YSC Athletic Development Training program (ADT) is based on the principle that YSC Academy participants can become better athletes through a variety of specialized agility, balance, coordination and speed training methods. Core to YSC’s ADT approach is the simple idea that better athletes make better players. The ADT program is designed to enhance athletic fundamentals and is based on the most current sports-science research in athlete development. ADT sessions are delivered by highly trained, certified trainers led by YSC’s world-renowned athletic reconditioning specialist Bill Knowles. ADT provides our student-athletes the opportunity to develop a broad skill base by focusing on areas of gross motor skills that require specialized, individual attention.

ADT sessions can range from strength training, to footwork drills, to games that focus on balance, coordination, reaction time, or speed. Games are used to simulate a competition where the techniques athletes have worked on earlier in the session must be used at game speed. Student-athletes also have recovery days, which are centered on regeneration through dynamic stretching and yoga.

Sport Psychology Department

The YSC Sports Psychology program provides the student-athletes of YSC Academy with mental training for school and for sport, as well as the opportunity to develop life skills. At YSC Academy, we believe it’s important to teach young players the value behind developing a positive, growth-oriented mindset. Developing the mind is similar to developing the body – if you can train your feet, you can train your mind. Our mental training is integrated into all aspects of the YSC Academy student-athletes’ life to encourage development of important core values such as effort, respect, humility and passion both in the classroom and on the field. The program focuses on the process of learning and growing, rather than outcomes, and works to provide student-athletes with an environment in which they feel safe. The Sport Psychology staff is available to student-athletes who seek individual assistance, in addition to formal meetings held twice a week with student-athletes in a group setting. These meetings are used as an opportunity for them to learn to collaborate and focus on improving their mental strengths and weaknesses.

The program is led by Dr. Cristina Fink, who earned a M.S. in Sport Psychology and a Ph.D. in Psychology, and is a member of the American Psychological Association Division 47 (Exercise and Sport Psychology) and the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. The goal of the program is to assist student-athletes in developing themselves by providing them with an opportunity to learn and develop mental skills for both sport and academic settings, as well as life skills that will serve our student-athletes beyond YSC Academy.

Sport Nutrition Program

The goal of the Sport Nutrition Program at YSC Academy is to help student-athletes find their power zone. Power zone is the zone in which proper nutrition affords the student-athletes maximum energy and recovery to produce peak performance. In order to find their own, unique power zone, student-athletes learn to balance the energy they consume through food and the energy they expend throughout the day, especially during training.

We take great interest in ensuring that all our student-athletes learn about the body and effective ways to keep it fuelled. Young people in this age range require more fuel than any other demographic. We assume this as part of our educational responsibility.

Our scheduling provides student-athletes the opportunity to eat four times during the school day. They are encouraged to eat a second breakfast after training, a heavier meal for lunch, an afternoon snack, and a meal before training. They are also encouraged to constantly hydrate throughout the day. This is an important aspect of the educational program as YSC Academy and the monitoring of student-athletes’ health and wellbeing is paramount.