Palatine Celtic will play 4v4 games on two fields at the same time. This is the recommendation by US Soccer for the U8 age group. The 4v4 format allows players to increase the number of touches on the ball and the duel field allows for more players to be playing at the same time for longer periods. The U8 Academy will not place players in teams, but rather in groups of 10-12 players at a time. These 10-12 players will train at the same time with professional coach provided by Celtic. Again, this age is highlighted by technical ability development along with guidance in simple decision making (tactics) such as when to shoot, when to dribble, and when to pass. We look to develop confidence in each of the U8s with a ball at their foot and that they are creative in their decision making process. This is a development first approach with our players at this age and the goal is for them to enjoy soccer, gain confidence with the soccer ball, and develop some competitiveness when playing in games.
U9-U10 Age Groups
At U9 and U10, Celtic teams play 7v7 (6 players and a goalkeeper). We continue our work on developing confidence in our players both with the ball at their feet and what to do when they don’t have the ball. The U9 & U10 age group will improve their technical foundation: dribbling, shooting, passing, and receiving as they continue to try to master these facets. There is also a stress on developing intelligent players who make good decisions with and without the ball. How do I support teammates, how do I keep the ball under pressure, do I play forward or backward? These are topics our staff focus on through this age group to start cultivating a soccer mind. Player benchmarks are introduced here to aid in the progress of each player.
U11-U12 Age Groups
We play 9v9 at these age groups. We continue our work with players at these ages to be masters of technique. Celtic coaches emphasize the importance of being technically proficient in passing, receiving, dribbling, shielding, and shooting. We take those refined skills and apply them to tactics. This is where skill development really takes shape when applying our technique to pressure and given situations. We look to put our players in common, repetitive game situations, so they may discover the best decisions possible over time. Extra emphasis is put on the physical and mental side of the game where players should know how to be competitive with each other in training and against opponents in matches.
U13-U15 Age Groups
Players now play 11v11. Our training starts to trend in stressing tactics (decision making) in regards to how we want to play as a club. Each training session has a clear objective in guiding our Celtic players in how we want to play the game. Players regardless of level should be competitive in training, challenge themselves in the training environment, so they are prepared for their games on the weekend. Individual develop is still taking place, but it may start to take shape in the skills of their position on the field within the team. Depending on the ability of our players and teams, Celtic will challenge players with appropriate league and tournament (including out-of-town) placement.
U16-U19 Age Groups
Playing and training in these age groups is aimed at preparing players for the future whether playing in their high school programs or beyond. There is an intense focus on assisting players in reaching their potential. Our teams at these levels are coached by our finest staff coaches and they will develop our players to be the best they can be. Our players can look forward to playing in some college showcases, high levels of competition, and a training environment that will challenge all our players.