The U11 and U12 Pre-ECNL players made a significant amount of progress throughout the fall of 2018, and each league game and tournament gave an opportunity to see them better understanding decision-making concepts and better executing a variety of techniques on the ball. The combination of great mentality and effort in training, with fantastic participation in the club’s Technical Improvement Program (TIP) for individual training, creating a high learning curve across the age groups.
The majority of training time in the Pre-ECNL Program is focused on the attacking moment, where players are constantly asked to think and make decisions based on cues in the game (location of teammates, opponents, and the ball). The players’ growing determination to find choices to either pass, turn, dribble out of pressure, or use their body to protect the ball, meant that just ‘kicking’ the ball in panic or excitement became a rarer phenomenon every week. As possession percentages (and consecutive passes) kept increasing, the teams found more and more chances to “break the last line” of their opponents to create goal-scoring opportunities.
By the end of the fall, the U11s and U12s were showing greater confidence and ability in all parts of the game, even under a high amount of pressure. It was exciting to see many even begin to show composure to look over bigger parts of the field and use driven passes (a very difficult technique) to connect with teammates over larger distances.
While these are all concepts that will continue to be worked on for many years, with more and more detail and complexity, the progress this fall was exciting. From the first games in Rockford in September, to local league games in the SECL in October, the players showed better and better ability every week. The development throughout the season was incredibly clear in the quality and style of the final FC Wisconsin League games of the season in November. Watching players from Milwaukee, Madison, and throughout Wisconsin play with the same concepts and understanding, focusing on quality possession and high energy, was fantastic and entertaining.
We are looking forward to seeing continued progress through the winter season!