Future Manitous Academy
Future Manitous Academy U8-U10
The Future Manitous initiative is a player-centered program for Boys and Girls in the U8 to U10 age groups. Providing a football learning environment using small-sided games and exercises, individual skill activities, and movement education as our teaching tools, Boys and Girls further develop their confidence as their ability to manipulate the ball improves along with their ability to manage the stress of playing in a reduced time-space environment.
A full seasonal program (August to July) is available within this age group, although the program is flexible and allows for multi-sport athletes to join at different times during the year. The program maintains an appropriate training to game ratio throughout the seasonal year. Boys and Girls are separated into their respective genders in this program. There are no tryouts required for enrollment and no travel for games on weekdays.
A Manitou FC player-centered development initiative for boys and girls
A player-centered development initiative for boys and girls within the age groups of U8 to U10. The Future Manitou’s program assists players to transition from the beginning years of grassroots soccer (ages 5-8) to the years when team selection (U11) and formal league play begins at MFC.
The program is organized to provide three practice-play opportunities each week along with a schedule of friendly games or tournament participation on the weekend. Players are grouped in appropriate age group pool that allow the player to move freely between these pools for training and games. We avoid any formal league play at these ages as we do not believe that midweek games requiring travel is in the best interest of the player’s development.
By structuring the program around a player-centered philosophy we place the player at the center of all decision-making, avoiding the challenges often encountered within a team-centered approach. We also believe delaying the process of player tryouts until they are older and further along the player pathway is in their best interest.
Enrollment in the Future Manitou’s is open to any boy or girl within the birth years offered for that year. No tryouts are necessary for participation as we believe that a trial process at too young of an age creates a de-selection factor and the sports loses potential players. We also believe the multiple opportunities provided throughout the year to view each player is the best way to determine where they are in the development process.
Our emphasis is on creating a ‘winning development environment’ that focuses on improving each player and increasing their enjoyment of playing. We work diligently to avoid the ‘winning games syndrome’ that negatively impacts the learning environment and often forces team coaches into decisions that are not in the player’s best long-term interest and reduces their enjoyment of playing.
The results we value at these ages is based on what is best for individual development. We focus on learning, enjoyment, effort, competing, paying attention, working together, and growing a passion for the game of soccer. We always take the field to do our best and hopefully to be successful, but the game result is the least important factor we use to measure success or assess a player’s development at these ages!
The simple answer is yes because we can control the learning environment more effectively. Through the challenges presented each week in training and by directly managing the quality of friendly games scheduled, we can better control and influence the learning environment on a consistent basis.
Being a part of Future Manitou’s is more than just being on a team. Yes, players will take the field to play as a team throughout the program as part of Manitou FC, but players will be mixed and matched with other players over the duration of the program. Staying connected with all your friends and teammates rather than being separated from them during these ages.
Rather than appoint team coaches who are volunteers, we staff the program using coaches who we directly oversee. These individuals are part of our coaching staff and are employed by Manitou FC. Our club’s Sporting Director oversees the instructional program to ensure that the player-centered philosophy and learning environment is delivered as expected.
Our retention and results at older ages are evidence of good practice. Since the implementation of the Future Manitou’s our player retention at U11 and older has increased significantly. In addition, the participants are better prepared to deal with a team culture and their performance results are evidence that the learning objectives of the Future Manitou’s initiative are being achieved.