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What We Believe

The philosophies of player and team development at San Francisco Elite

Vision, Mission, and Values
Vision: To positively change lives through soccer
Mission: To create a development and learning pathway for players from ages 3-18 that provides them the opportunity to maximize their potential, be part of high-performing teams, and compete in collegiate soccer.


Training Values:
Fail Fast - we train at high speed and intensity, accept and encourage aggressive mistakes, and learn quickly.
Compliment and Coach - we collectively celebrate great performances and proactively coach each other in the moment.
Compete in Everything - we commit to maximize effort and total focus to every session and game to maximize our potential, grow, and succeed.
Our Team is First - we put our team’s success first and understand that we develop individually to play a team sport.

The following statements outline the philosophical tenets of San Francisco Elite Soccer Club, and how they define and influence the club’s structure, culture, and methodology.  This is what we believe as an organization.


About the Game
Soccer is a vehicle for teaching values to young players to help them succeed off the field and long after they graduate from the club. These are taught most effectively in a competitive environment where players are challenged and supported while they learn to become self-sufficient and resilient in guiding their own performance.

Soccer is most fun for players when they are in an environment where their personal aspirations and abilities match those of the team and program. A mismatch in those areas between a player and the program in which they participate is the most common cause of dissatisfaction and unhappiness.  In cases of mismatch, players will benefit from identifying and participating in programs with the correct fit.

On the field. Soccer is a dynamic and complex game of manipulating space and time through perception, decision-making, technical skill, communication and teamwork. Success in the game requires utilizing mental, physical, social, and emotional skills effectively together.


About Soccer Clubs
All clubs should have vision and mission statements, with strong core values, that clearly articulate the purpose of the club’s existence and provide the foundation of the club’s culture.

Clubs should have a clearly established playing philosophy and teaching methodology that is utilized across all staff, all teams, all ages, and all players.  Clearly establishing, communicating, and consistently applying player and team development and performance.

A club’s teaching methodology must include what is taught, how it is taught, when it is taught, the frequency of repetition and progression in topics, and more - with consistent terminology and clear guidelines for coaching intervention.

There must be consistency and alignment in training structure and culture from age group to age group, program to program, team to team, and coach to coach within a club. This consistency is the essence of a club and a multiplier for player and team development.


About Players
Player health and safety is the most important consideration in every decision made by any staff member.

Player’s work ethic, determination, and coachability are the greatest drivers of their long-term success. While natural ability will impact the ability to compete at the highest levels, players most frequently reach the level of play that is consistent with their work ethic, determination and coachability. 

“Coachability” is a skill encompassing humility, openness to feedback, and regular, concentrated application of effort in the areas identified by the coach.  Coachable players are able and willing to receive and apply information in order to develop and improve.

Every player must have a consistent commitment to individual work outside of team training to reinforce learning and improve technique in order to maximize their potential.

The most successful players have an intrinsic love of the game and of competition.  While players undoubtedly benefit from support and encouragement from their coaches, family and others in order to develop and express their love of the game, the most successful players are intrinsically driven and motivated.

Players develop at different times and different rates due to physical, social, psychological, emotional, and environmental differences. Player development is therefore non-linear, and the development path for every player will be different. Prioritizing or favoring players who develop earlier will not benefit them or others in the long run.

Every player has unique strengths and weaknesses, and to maximize their ability each player must identify areas where they can uniquely excel or can leverage their own talent.


About Teams
Effective and empowering teams are built with players that share common purpose and goals, and have a culture that supports the actions and behaviors required to accomplish them.  Players that do not share the same purpose or goals, or who act in ways that conflict with the culture, will become unhappy and ultimately undermine the team.

Effective and empowering teams have trusting and caring relationships between players, and between players and coaches, that are built on a foundation of open, honest, and transparent communication.

Effective and empowering teams are composed of individuals who make those around them better through positive energy, willingness to share and be vulnerable, relentless work rate, and a demonstrated commitment to learn and grow. These players understand that a good team performance is the purpose of their individual efforts, and they prioritize the well-being of the team when making individual decisions.

Being part of an effective and empowering team makes every achievement in the sport more meaningful and enjoyable.


About Training
Training should teach technical, cognitive, and perceptual skills at every age. Perception and decision-making must be connected to technical application in order for players to truly understand the game and maximize their potential and long-term achievement.

Training should be both fun and impactful to learning and growth. While the manner in which this is done will vary by age, player maturity, and aspiration, the core requirement of fun + learning must be present at every age.

Training should challenge players to make and execute decisions in a dynamic and rapidly changing environment with physical, spatial and cognitive pressure. Over time, this training environment creates sophisticated decision-making capable of handling the escalating demands of the game.

Training should stretch players outside their comfort zone - mentally, physically, emotionally, and technically.  The ability to “be comfortable being uncomfortable” is a required and teachable skill necessary for players to maximize their potential.

Training should reflect the constraints and pressures of competition and should “look” like the game. Overly orchestrated or prescription training does not allow knowledge transfer from the training field to the competition field.


About Coaches and Coaching
Good character is the most important quality of an effective coach.  It is displayed by actions and behaviors in service of the needs and goals of the players, and that are worthy of emulation by the players. No amount of expertise or knowledge will overcome the negative impact of poor character.

Coaches and players must cultivate and build trust with each other. Players must trust that the coach has their best interest in mind and will provide what is needed for them to grow and improve. Coaches must trust that the players will listen and apply the tools and information they are given. Without trust, coaches cannot provide honest feedback, and players will not stretch themselves to be uncomfortable, risk failure, and do what is necessary to improve.

Coaches must provide clear and honest feedback to players at all times in order to help them understand their current stage of development and to provide a roadmap for future growth. Players can not learn and improve if they are not provided with regular, accurate, timely, and specific feedback.

Coaches have an obligation of ongoing learning and personal development in order to continually improve in not only the techniques, tactics, and methodologies of the sport, but also in their own humanity. Top coaches stimulate curiosity and the desire to grow in players on and off the field, often by modeling these behaviors in their own approach to developing as a coach. 


About Competition
Competing to win, individually and collectively, should be encouraged in every age group and in every training and game.  The desire to win is a skill that can be developed, and competition between teams is critical to development at all ages.

The value of winning on the scoreboard varies greatly by age. At the youngest ages, winning and losing are often decided by factors unrelated to, and independent of, learning and long-term development. Prioritizing certain player characteristics, playing styles, or decision constructs at young ages to increase the chances of winning will simultaneously impede the development that leads to successful players at older ages.

At any moment, winning is rarely an accurate assessment of the amount, quality or speed of learning in a youth environment due to the significant impact of other variables in youth soccer (demographics, player pool, longevity in the club, etc.).

Over time, in a good learning environment, winning will become more frequent as the natural consequences of investing in the long-term development of players.

At senior levels winning becomes a more clear metric of how performance and ability levels of players and teams compare.


About the Player-Parent-Coach Relationship
Parents are a vital part of the player development process, and the quality of the player-parent-coach relationship has a significant impact on the development and performance of the player.  Breakdowns in the player-parent or coach-parent relationship negatively impact the learning and performance of the player, and ultimately reduce the player’s satisfaction and enjoyment.

When parents and coaches are aligned in messaging and communication, the player has a far greater opportunity to learn and develop. When players receive conflicting messages and communication from parents and coaches, the player is put in a difficult position of cognitive dissonance that impedes their development.

The most positively impactful parents celebrate the efforts of their child, support the coach and the learning process, and refrain from criticism of the coach, team, club, or other players in front of their child or other parents.

Meetings and discussions between coaches and parents without the presence of the player rarely result in positive change or improvement because they miss the critical perspective, buy-in, and commitment of the player.

Support from parents and ongoing collaboration between coaches, players and parents provides the most enjoyable and successful environment for the development of young players.

San Francisco Elite is a 501c3 nonprofit public benefit corporation #35-2523738

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