Union Youth Philosophy

Committed to Youth Development:  Philadelphia Union and YSC are committed to the development of the American player.  We believe the USA is a future global powerhouse of the game of soccer, and are passionately committed to making Philadelphia Union (and the MLS) a key contributor to the evolution of the American game.  We believe in the rich talent pool of youth players in our Home Territory and think it is our responsibility to provide our next generation every opportunity to play a starring role in pushing American soccer forward.  While our investment in youth development is focused on producing players for our First Team at Talen Energy Stadium, we have established a program which we believe provides a meaningful benefit to every player in our system regardless of how far they go in the game.

A Holistic Approach:  We are committed to youth players, and our community.  Our holistic ethodology is outlined below and we believe this approach is not only more effective (as evidenced by its use in some of the leading youth academies in the world), but also represents a more socially responsible way to develop young players.  Our methodology goes beyond simply technical and tactical instruction.  It is player-student centric, and has been designed to enable every participant in our youth development program an opportunity to maximize his/her potential both on and off the field of play.

Ownership: A central theme shared within Philadelphia Union youth development and YSC Academy programs is the concept of player / student ownership.  While coaches, and parents can play an important role in guiding, supporting and developing talent, ultimately it is the athletes and student who must take the central role in driving the learning process.  We believe our players and students are the primary agents in their learning and have designed a program to empower, encourage and enhance ownership in learning.  As an example, every Academy player working in partnership with Union coaching staff take part in the creation of their own Individual Development Plan (IDP). The IDP identifies strengths and weakness technically, tactically, psychosocially and athletically for players to "own" and work on to improve their game.

An American Solution:  While the YSC / Union methodology incorporates “best practices” from youth professional academies in Europe and South America we have modified these ideas to "fit" with American / Philadelphia culture.  What works in Germany or Spain in terms of elite player development cannot be simply carbon copied here in the USA.  We believe it is important to create an American solution and we are constantly seeking to improve our youth development program.  This passion for improvement and learning is what we ask of every Union player and is therefore a critical component of what we believe we must embody as coaches and educators.

Our philosophy is embodied in the following three words:

Dream:  YSC / Union program will provide its players an inspirational learning environment designed to amplify their PASSION for the game of soccer.  We believe the experience of pointing your passion towards a dream will teach valuable and rewarding life-long lessons.  Our program provides an authentic and direct link to the Philadelphia Union and will provide our participants a truly unique and inspirational learning environment.  Why is this important?  Because passionate players are apt to go out and practice more often on their own.  Love of the game is the most important gift anyone in youth soccer could give a youth player.  Our goal is to amplify this passion in every Union Juniors and Academy player.

Perform:  High performance players are technically skilled players.  Consequently, we place tremendous emphasis on technical skill development and individual mastery of the ball.  We will also focus on speed and quality of decision making and speed of play in an effort to enhance Soccer IQ.  Technical skills are the foundation of ALL great players and are the building blocks of positive self-esteem.

Excel:  The higher level you play the game the more important your decision making becomes (both on and off the field).  Sports science data indicates attitude and behavior can be learned or acquired skills and we place heavy emphasis on the mental components of youth development.  Our motto of “if I can train my feet, I can train my mind” declares to our participants the importance of attitude and core values such as effort, pride, and respect.  Our method is designed to develop in our participants an attitude in which hard work is held in the highest esteem.