Priming a passion

by • May 22, 2017 • Feature, HighlightsComments (0)528

Rush Youth Soccer League helps develop early skills and a love of the game

rysl logoAlaska Rush has long held the belief that soccer is more than just a sport. Through soccer participants learn humility, leadership, passion, tenacity, respect and more. The organization’s motto is “Where the trails of passion and purpose meet, begins the path to victory.”
To that end, Rush offers several programs to teach young players the skills they need to find success.
“We try to develop coaches who help develop players, so they have a love for the game,” said Tyler Jeffres, director of developmental programs with Alaska Rush. “We are always trying to teach life lessons through soccer – learning how to work in a group, and share and work on their coordination. Everything they do through soccer, from running and balance and coordination skills, helps them improve.”
In fact, there are several options for developing soccer skills for players as young as 3. The RYSL covers ages 3 to 9 and has 12-week sessions that start in the fall and spring.
“This summer we also have a summer rec league,” Jeffres said.
While in the league, coaches work with players and try to pinpoint those who might be suited for more competitive play and those who prefer a less structured format.
“We try to transition from developing players to finding qualified players, who at age 10 can join team groups,” Jeffres said.
Once there, players join age-bracketed play, based on birth year.

Alaska Rush’s Youth Soccer League is for players ages 3-9 and helps develop a love of the game from an early age. Nevaeh Dunlap plays goalkeeper. Courtesy Amy dunlap.

Alaska Rush’s Youth Soccer League is for players ages 3-9 and helps develop a love of the game from an early age. Nevaeh Dunlap plays goalkeeper. Courtesy Amy dunlap.

Rush Youth Soccer League’s main goal, Jeffres said, is to create lifelong physical fitness skills while also helping every player reach his or her genetic potential. You never know where the next college soccer star is going to surface, he said. Participating in a program that allows kids to have fun while also building their soccer skillset helps coaches identify and enhance each player’s abilities.
“It’s kind of the core that we try to feed off of,” he explained. “The games are all meant to be fun. They are playing Red Light Green Light and Sharks and Minnows, and little do they know they are learning how to play soccer. … We try to stay away from the three Ls: Lines, Lectures and Laps. We don’t want exercise to be negative.”
The Youth Academy training curriculum is designed to introduce and complement future, competitive match play as well as address the immediate needs of the youth soccer player. The curriculum includes such age-appropriate topics as:
• Dribbling, including shielding and taking players on.
• Finishing, the technical aspects of bending, instep, placement combined with where and how to line-up.
• Passing, striking the ball with a variety of surfaces, deception and the weight of your pass will be introduced.
• Receiving and turning with the ball; shielding, protecting the ball with the body. (Heading, introduced in the older age groups.)
• Offensive, small group combinations, small group shape will be introduced.
• Defending, players knowing to work hard to get the ball back.
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