Chilliwack FC is moving away from a cookie-cutter approach to player development, introducing a new ‘Skills Centre’ model that will be tailored to each player’s needs.
Chilliwack FC head coach Glenn Wilson said CFC’s existing academy and prospects programs are being absorbed into the new “enhanced” offering.
“The main difference between what we were doing and what we will be doing is we’re going to take more of a player-first approach,” Wilson elaborated. “A lot of clubs, and ours is just as guilty of it, take that cookie-cutter approach where you register X amount of players and you put them through a curriculum of practices and what-not, not necessarily focusing on what each individual player needs.”
The Skills Centre looks to change that. It will primarily be focused on players U11 and older who will go through an initial evaluation process before launching into a 12 week program.
“We may recruit a group of 24 players, and based on their needs they’ll be broken up into small groups that work on those needs,” Wilson explained. “As an example, we may have a player who is very gifted technically with their ball skills, but may lack in speed or agility. So we’ll implement some of that into their 12 week program. We may have a player that lacks technical skills or a player who needs a better understanding of their positioning and soccer sense, and their particular program will be designed to address that a little more.”
The Skills Centre will offer small-group and one-on-one training, and Wilson said players will be able to participate in position-specific sessions. He also said the coach-to-player ratio will be a lot tighter than it has been.
“We may offer a six-week program on the art of finishing or the art of defending,” he added. “We may have a goaltending program.”
Chilliwack FC is following the lead of the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA), the governing body of soccer in Canada, and Wilson has a laugh talking about the program’s name.
“A lot of people are asking, ‘Well, where is this Skills Centre?’” he said. “They get the impression there’s a building somewhere, and there isn’t.”
Exhibition Field will be home base for the Skills Centre with other Chilliwack pitches being used as well.
Recently re-elected CFC chairperson Andrea Laycock said the Skill Centre isn’t “just for Chilliwack FC but the entire community as a whole.”
“Over the last few years, we’ve developed many, many players who’ve graduated from our programming and moved on to the Metro and B.C. Premier Soccer League levels,” Wilson explained. “There are many youth players who live in Chilliwack who play elsewhere, and those players are welcome to enroll in the Skills Centre program.
“In addition, children in the community who aren’t playing community soccer who want to learn the game, this is open to them. It’s not just for Chilliwack FC registered players.”
Anyone wanting info on the Skills Centre can email the Chilliwack FC office at email@example.com or visit the CFC website at chilliwackfc.com.