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Ages & Stages - DBSS Curriculum

DBSS Curriculum Philosophy

We have a player-centered approach. We understand that some players are naturally more genetically gifted than others, however we know this doesn’t mean that players who are not as strong earlier will always be weaker when older. We believe in both early and late developers. We must pour our time and energy into every single player at all ages regardless of their talent at the present moment. Our best player at U9 will not necessarily be our player at U19. We must be patient with the process and the potential.


Our first point of contact with young players is through our academy program. Coaches are calm and provide a fun and challenging learning environment. Coaches (teachers at this age) adopt our club curriculum and philosophy on positive coaching and focus is on individual foot skill and encouraging the kids to dribble and experiment with the ball without criticism. Once players are true U8, they will have the chance to jump up to play U9 travel soccer while also playing academy.


Areas of Focus

  • Technical Ability: Ball Mastery, 1v1 Skills, Dribbling
  • Mentality: Confidence Building, Positive Coaching


A perfect next step from our academy program, we put in place coaches who are trained in the club curriculum to provide a welcoming and learning environment. Focus is still on the dribble and the child making the decisions. We give players many touches on the ball. We teach skill in practice and encourage this on game day. Limited coaching from the sidelines allows for players to learn and problem solve on their own (take risks, fail, and learn). Our approach is unique and comes from the founder of the Meulensteen Method Curriculum, Rene Meulensteen who had great success at Manchester United with his methods. 

U11-U12 "Elite Pathway"

Areas of Focus

  • Tactical Awareness: Decision Making, Team Element
  • Continuation of Technical Ability: Greater Success on the Ball
  • Continuation of Mentality: Hard Work, Selflessness


At this age, we put high level coaches in place to fast track the growth of teams and players. The demand for excellence starts to kick in. We have had great success as a club bringing these age groups to the next level. Focus on this age group is on a continuation of using skill but now also the decision-making progress of when to pass and when to dribble. Players should possess the skills having been with us from U5-U10 and greater success should become evident over these next two years.


Areas of Focus

  • Greater Tactical Awareness: Positional Sense, Emphasis on Team Dynamic, Enhanced Decision Making
  • Physicality: Greater Competition, Puberty/Growth
  • Mentality: Being Coachable, Good Attitude


In some cases, teams would have jumped to the big field (11v11) at some point in the U12 age group. If not, this will be the first experience of 11v11. Coaches now look to place players where they are most comfortable and begin to teach positional play individually. Players can still experience different positions but will learn the team approach to formations and systems of play. Our philosophy is quick movement of the ball in defensive and middle thirds of the field and a creative attacking approach in the final third of the field. 

*Note: If players and teams have come through our DBSS system from an early age, then they will likely play in a premier/state level league with high quality players and coaching staff. Lower-level teams or B teams will continue to play WMYSA (local level) as they did from U8-U12.


Areas of Focus

  • Winning
  • Strong Technical Ability: Accumulation of Hours
  • Tactically Sound: Student of the Game
  • Physically Able: Strength, Speed, Fitness
  • Mentally Strong: Control Emotions, Deal with Adversity


Our approach at this age is similar to U13-U14, however, this age group is now about winning – per our curriculum. If players and teams have come up through the DBSS system, they should be competing at a high level where winning is the end goal. (In some cases, we still form new teams and will be an exception to the above as we still offer soccer for players of all abilities when possible.)

*Special note on U15: This is considered a “trapped year” for soccer players given U15 teams typically have a mix of 8th and 9th grade players.  9th graders will typically shift to become a half year club player (girls – fall, boys – spring) and half year HS player. For those only going into 8th grade, or those that do not wish to play HS or those who don’t get selected for HS, we try our best to provide an option to play year-round club. 

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Address: DBSS PO Box 2078 Portage, MI 49081

Phone: 269-924-8704

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