centre of excellence - program manual - dec 16 by keralaguest




The Saskatchewan Soccer Association’s Centre of Excellence Program was first introduced under the heading of “District
Development Centres” as a part of the Technical Development Plan created by the Sask Soccer’s Technical Planning Work
Group and staff from September 2007 through June 2008. The Technical Development Plan was approved by the
Management Team of the Saskatchewan Soccer Association in November 2008 and is linked to the Strategic Plan as
approved by the Saskatchewan Soccer Association’s Board of Directors in the fall of 2007.

A system of Centres of Excellence will be established to service the Province-wide Sask Soccer membership with a goal of
providing higher quality training opportunities than are currently available to players, coaches and referees. The Centre of
Excellence Program will operate in conjunction with Sask Soccer Districts and Clubs to improve player, coach and referee
development allowing Sask Soccer to better achieve its mission:

The Saskatchewan Soccer Association is a leader in developing the sport of soccer in the province for all,
through innovative polices and quality programs.

Operating within the Sask Soccer Technical Department, the Centre of Excellence Program is a collaborative partnership
with our members and stakeholders at the grassroots level, aimed at building a solid base of high performance players,
coaches and referees within the Province of Saskatchewan. By improving the experiences and abilities of Saskatchewan
players, coaches and referees from their introduction to high performance soccer programming, we will be able to achieve
greater success on the national stage and better prepare our members for opportunities at the national, professional,
college and university levels.

Should you have any questions with regards to the Centre of Excellence Program or the Sask Soccer Technical
Department, you are encouraged to contact Dave Nutt, Director of Soccer Operations at 306-975-0826 or

                                      PLAYER DEVELOPMENT PATHWAY

The Canadian Soccer Association recently introduced the Long Term Player Development (LTPD) model: Wellness to
World Cup, setting the following goals:

   1.   Promote lifelong enjoyment of physical activity.
   2.   Provide structured player development pathway.
   3.   Describe best practices for elite player development.
   4.   Create long-term excellence.

These LTPD goals have become the driving force behind changes currently undertaken within Saskatchewan regarding
player development. In order accordance with the achievement of the stated LTPD goal, the Saskatchewan Soccer
Association Player Development Pathway is outlined below. More information on the Player Development Pathway is
available in the Technical Development Plan and “System Saskatchewan” document, both available on the Sask Soccer
website (www.sasksoccer.com).


                                              CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE


A key component of the Saskatchewan Soccer Association’s Strategic Plan is “ Growing Our Members.” The goal for the
Association is to strengthen and enhance the connections between soccer communities in the Province by facilitating the
delivery of progressive programs and the development of organizational capacity. A core strategy of this goal is to
develop a plan for delivering a high quality, structured system of sport programming across our soccer community.

The Centre of Excellence Program moves toward the achievement of this goal and strategy for the Association. One of
the major obstacles in achieving the goal of improving the player, coach and referee development structure within
Saskatchewan is the Province’s large size and relatively small population. While the cost of Sask Soccer membership in
the most remote locales is consistent with the major centres, the opportunities for coaches, players and referees within
these outlying communities are not often equivalent. The Sask Soccer Technical Department is committed to providing
opportunities for players, coaches and referees from outside the major centres by creating training environments that are
comparable to those provided by the Club structure within Saskatoon and Regina.

In order to achieve this goal, regionalization of player, coach and referee development is essential. Regionalization will be
achieved by introducing a series of Centres of Excellence, which will operate across the Province and provide standardized
programming for player, coach and referee development.

The Centre of Excellence will serve as the hub of player, coach and referee development within the District and
surrounding community. It will act as the initial identification opportunity for talented young athletes, as well as instill
fundamental soccer skills and good training habits, develop physical and mental abilities, and provide a Province-wide
monitoring system for athletes displaying the potential to enter the Sask Soccer High Performance Player Development


The Centre of Excellence Program is administered by the Sask Soccer Technical Department and overseen locally by the
Regional Coordinator for Rivers West and Centre of Excellence Head Coach, Kevin Wagner.

The program will be administered on a user-pay, cost-recovery basis. Future opportunities may exist to off-set program
cost through sponsorship initiatives and/or fundraising. Athletes invited to participate in the Centre of Excellence Program
may also access the Athlete Financial Foregiveness Program (AFFP) as outlined on the Sask Soccer website

The Rivers West Centre of Excellence Program is a locally-driven initiative designed to improve player, coach and referee
development within Saskatchewan communities. These comunities include the Battlefords, Unity, Maidstone, Kindersley,
Biggar, Lloydminster, Rosetown. As such, any revenues over expenses within a specific Centre of Excellence will be re-
invested in that centre to provide additional programming and/or reduce costs to participants.


The Centre of Excellence Program will provide a standardized training program and quality training environment for
talented players across the Rivers West Region in Saskatchewan. Specifically, the program will support achievement of
the following objectives:

       Engage District Associations in the player development process
       Improve the level of players within the Districts
       Identify and train talented male and female players from U10-U16 for potential PTP, RTC oppurtunities.
       Instill good, sound technique in all identified players
       Introduce training of speed, flexibility and agility
       Develop basic individual tactics and game awareness
       Apply technique in a basic and enjoyable format
       Instill passion and love for the game of soccer


The Saskatchewan Soccer Association will partner with interested parties for the development of a Province-wide system
of Centres of Excellence. It is envisioned that the following Saskatchewan Districts for Sport, Culture and Recreation (see
map below for District boundries), through partnerships between Sask Soccer, its member Districts and stakeholders, will
lead the way in creating a Centre of Excellence:

       Rivers West Centre of Excellence (Meridian Youth Soccer Association)
       Lakeland Centre of Excellence (Prince Albert Youth Soccer Association)
       Parkland Valley Centre of Excellence (Yorkton Soccer Association and Qu’Appelle Valley Soccer Association)
       South West Centre of Excellence (Moose Jaw Soccer Association & Swift Current Soccer Association)
       Prairie Central Centre of Excellence (Valley Soccer Association, Carlton Trail Soccer Association, and Saskatoon
        Youth Soccer Inc.)
       Southeast Connection Centre of Excellence (Regina Soccer Association and Weyburn Soccer Association)


Each community supporting a Centre of Excellence is unique, therefore Sask Soccer and its partners must be able to
develop structures to meet local requirements. It is also essential that a number of minimum standards be met by each
Centre of Excellence to ensure the Centre is achieving its objectives with regards to player, coach and referee
development. These objectives can be met by providing a standardized program.

Rivers West Centre of Excellence will be guided by Sask Soccer Regional Coordinator and Centre of Excellence Head
Coach, Kevin Wagner. His responsibilities will include recruitment of additional Centre of Excellence Coaching Staff from
within the local Saskatchewan (Rivers West) District for Sport, Culture and Recreation.

The local organizers will be responsible for providing facilities and equipment, meeting the minimum requirements of a
Centre of Excellence, with the Sask Soccer Technical Department providing the requirements for player identification,
training, monitoring and regular visits.


In order to be accepted in to the program, a Centre of Excellence must meet the following minimum standards for

All paid or volunteer coaching staff must:
      Hold a minimum of age-appropriate Community Coach Certification or equivalent
      Be accountable for the progress of the players
      Be adept at working with and motivating young athletes
      Demonstrate a thorough understanding of age appropriate training
      Be able to demonstrate technical skills provided in Sask Soccer documentation
      Be committed to attend all training sessions
      Be willing to work under the guidance of the Sask Soccer Technical Staff
      Have valid CPIC clearance
      Have completed the Sask Sport on-line harassment course: “Respect in Sport”

It is encouraged that all Centre of Excellence Coaching Staff live in the local Saskatchewan District for Sport, Culture and
Recreation, however, special permission may be granted from the Sask Soccer Technical Department to include out-of-
District coaches.

Participating Centres of Excellence must be able to offer the best possible training facilities given local conditions. Keeping
in mind climatic restrictions, indoor facilities may include gymnasia or other indoor surfaces. Players must have sufficient
space to keep active throughout the training sessions. If space restrictions exist, players may be broken into smaller
groups and trained at different times in order to overcome this obstacle.

All Rivers West Centre of Excellence training weekends will be held at the Common Wealth Center in Lloydminster,

Participating Centres of Excellence are responsible for providing sufficient equipment as follows:
     A minimum of one quality ball per player
             o U10-U12 = Size 4
             o U12+        = Size 5
     Ball pump
     A minimum of three colours of pinnies in sufficient quantities
     Suitable quantity of cones in a minimum of two colours
     Properly stocked medical kit

The Centre of Excellence may also wish to consider the following equipment for use in the fitness component of the
training program:
      Fitness ladders
      Hoops
      Balance Boards


Player Identification:
Centre of Excellence Head Coach, in conjuntion with the appointed Centre of Excellence Coaching Staff, will be
responsible for player selection. Player identification will take place at an identification camp held in October in

Player identification will be conducted fairly and impartially, with identification camps open to any player from the area
served by the Centre of Excellence.

Identified players will receive a written invitation to join the Centre of Excellence from the Centre of Excellence Head
Coach, along with program expectations, training dates, times and venues and any financial responsibilities.

Player identification for the Centre of Excellence Program will be a fluid process, with talented athletes having the
opportunity to be added to the training group by the Centre of Excellence Head Coach at any time.

Player Monitoring:
Within the player development framework of the Centre of Excellence, monitoring a player’s progression is paramount to
assessing improvement.

In order to establish a baseline for performance following player selection to the Centre of Excellence, players will be
assessed on physical and technical ability.

In addition to technical instruction, we are in the process of working on information oppurtunities for Centre of Excellence
athletes to education regarding nutrition, mental training, physical training, rest and recovery, physiology and
neurophysical principles.

The Centre of Excellence Head Coach will meet with parents of each athlete during the program. These meetings will
serve to provide feedback on progress and address any questions or concerns as it relates to the athlete’s involvement in
the Centre of Excellence Program.

At the conclusion of the Centre of Excellence Program, evaluations will be provided to each athlete with regards to their
progress and participation in the program. In addition, copies of these evaluations will be forwarded to the Sask Soccer
Technical Department along with recommendations of athletes deemed ready to progress through the High Performance
Player Pathway to opportunities in the Provincial Teams Program, Regional Training Centre and any other Provincial or
National oppurtunities.


The players are trained, monitored and tested in accordance with a progressive training manual provided by Sask Soccer.
The training manual will provide detailed training materials for the players in the following areas of development:

       Technical Development
       Tactical Development
       Physical Development
       Mental/Social Development

All players will train within their LTPD-appropriate stage based on developmental age. Players will not be permitted to
train outside of their age-appropriate program, unless they can demonstrate excellence in all areas of development. This
will be decided on a case by case basis (player centered approach).

Schedule of Operations:

As with the structure, the schedule of operations for the Centre of Excellence must be flexible in order to meet the unique
needs of the local community.

It is recommended that the Centre of Excellence operate in the winter, however, late-summer and fall programs may be
considered based on the availability of facilities for winter training. It is recommended that the Centre of Excellence begin
operation between September and November, following the identification camps, and conclude the first week in April in
order to allow a brief player break prior to the outdoor season.

All players from the Centre of Excellence will return to their local Associations to participate in the summer soccer
programs provided.

Training Frequency:

In 2010/11, the Rivers West Center of Excellence will operate on a series of training weekends, taking place once monthly
during the fall and winter months. This was considered in the best interest of the athletes to work in conjunction with
local programing, as well as, considering the risk and cost of travel. There will be a try out weekend in October with the
program weekend training beginning in November, December, January, February and the final weekend in March. Each
participant can expect the training weekends to include training on the given Saturday and Sunday totalling 3 training
sessions each training weekend. The program will include 5 months x 3 sessions totalling 15 training sessions. The Centre
of Excellence ensures a competitive healthy program with the focus on the process, not the result.

Standardized Training Program:

Each training weekend will have an organized and focused plan that will be based on the players needs and monitored
through out the individual training weekend, as well as, through the long term program. The needs of the players will
dictate the direction of the program. All curiculum is age and skill appropriate, progressively based on the stage of
development our players and in accordance with how quickly their play and habbits change.

Communication will be key from Rivers West Center of Excellence Coaching Staff, with players and parents during the
training period to indicate how players are doing in our program, and what steps are required to be taken to get our
players, staff, referees and program to that next level.


In addition to player development, coach development is a major objective of the Centre of Excellence Program. Without
quality coaching in the Centres of Excellence, it will not be possible to improve player development.

The Centre of Excellence provides promising coaches with a unique opportunity for mentorship under the Regional
Coordinator or Centre of Excellence Head Coach. This may be done as actuall on field coaching sessions or this may be
done as coaching development weekends allowing coaches to come on field and learn as the sessions are proceeding. A
balance between educating coaches and mentoring coaches has to be made as to not jeapordize the quality of the
training for the players.

Players may also experience “Guest Coaches” that may also come in from out of district to participate in the training of
our athletes.

The Goal: Coach Monitoring:
As with player development, continuous monitoring of the coaching staff within the Centre of Excellence is an important
means of assessing development. Centre of Excellence Coaching Staff will prepare session plans for each topic covered in
the training curriculum for review and feedback.

In addition, Centre of Excellence Coaching Staff will work closely in an apprentice capacity with the Centre of Excellence
Head Coach with a goal of improving the coach’s on-field abilities.

As with players, the Centre of Excellence Head Coach will provide an evaluation of performance during and at the
conclusion of the program, with talented coaches being referred to the Sask Soccer Technical Department for future
opportunities within the High Performance Player Pathway.

Coach Certification Pathway:
The Coach Certification Pathway in Canada, as laid out by the Canadian Soccer Association and supported by the National
Coach Certification Program (NCCP), is as follows:

Coaches will enter the Centre of Excellence with a minimum of age-appropriate Community Coach Certification (i.e.
Community Coach – Youth (6-14 years), Community Coach – Senior (14 years and older)). Through the mentorship
opportunities created in the Centre of Excellences, these coaches should be well prepared to enter the Canadian Soccer
Association Licensing Stream.

In support of opportunities for Sask Soccer coaches to obtain certification, two grant programs have been established:

       Professional Develoment Coaching Grant – reimbursement grant aimed at coaches wishing to obtain National
        Coaching Certification (i.e. National A or National B-Licenses)
       Female Development Grant – reimbursement grant aimed at female coaches and referees wishing to attend
        coach or referee clinics or courses

Further information on these programs is available on the Sask Soccer website (www.sasksoccer.com).


The referee development program component of the Centre of Excellence Program is currently under development by the
Sask Soccer Referee Development Advisory Committee. Further information on this program will become available in the
coming months.

For information on current Sask Soccer referee development initiatives and opportunities, please contact Devin Masch,
Coordinator of Member Programs at d.masch@sasksoccer.com.


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