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North Shore FC, Lake Forest

North Shore FC, Lake Forest

Mission Statement

Winning is not necessarily the first goal of the training but by improving each player’s skill level and knowledge of the game, winning will be the result. Our objective is to teach players the fundamentals to become the best soccer player they can be by improving each player's developmental growth.

Club Vision

Long Term Player Development 

We want players to join early at U8-U9-U10 and stay for the long term through High School and leave at U18 – U19s  accomplishing every personal goal they set ready to play College level soccer. We want our teams to compete at the highest level locally, regionally and nationally getting there through club development of our players with high level training and attracting quality players to the NSFC family. 


Development of soccer players is a continuum that overlaps age groups. The following are the top 10 objectives that NSFC is undertaking  in the development of a soccer player: 

  1. Develop the child’s appreciation of the game. 
  2. Keep winning and losing in proper perspective. 
  3. Be sensitive to each player’s development needs.
  4. Educate the players to the technical, tactical, physical and psychological (four components of soccer) demands of the game for their level of play. 
  5. Implement rules and equipment modifications according to the players’ age group.
  6. Allow players to experience all positions
  7. Players need to have fun and receive positive feedback. 
  8. Training should be conducted in the spirit of enjoyment and learning. 
  9. Provide the appropriate number of training sessions and matches according to the player’s stage of development. 
  10. Strive to help each player reach their full potential and be prepared to move to the next stage of development.


Develop the Player 

Individual player development is what our professional staff is dedicated to maximizing your players full potential, within the game and at the players own pace. Our individualized approach to develop the whole person, not just the player, is what we pride ourselves on.


Develop the Club 

We pride ourselves on creating a club culture where every player, no matter the level, are given the same opportunities to succeed if they choose to. It is important that our players are exposed to an array of information which is why they are exposed to all of the NSFC staff throughout all the developmental steps while in the club. You will also see many of our NSFC teams, and players, training with other teams in their own age group, as well as older groups. This helps to establish a club atmosphere, and not have players, and teams feel as if they are disconnected from the club and staff. There will be opportunities throughout the year for players to guest play and train with other NSFC club teams. Guest players for games are personally invited by the head coach of the requesting team and is an opportunity that is earned by the player, not granted by a parent request. A decision will be approved by the Director of Coaching. Should a player be unable to attend their team practice, we encourage that player to attend an age appropriate club session as a make up.

Develop the Team 

As the players become better, through individual growth, by way of the developmental avenues provided by the club it is inevitable that the team becomes better as well. In order to have a successful team you must have successful players. There are players that take ownership in their own development, and bring that enthusiasm to the training environment. We understand that team results vary by age, players and gender, but we do not use results as a gauge of success in the younger age bands. As teams and players get older and develop through theses processes we are confident that results will come in the older ages.

Other Clubs Vs NSFC 

NSFC Player Development Plan

Player Development Pyramid

Stage 1  FUNdamentals - U5-U6

Stage 2  Learning to Train - Development -  U7-U9

Stage 3  Training to Train - Understanding of the game - U10-U12

Stage 4  Training to Compete - Preparation - U13-U15

Stage 5  Training to Win - Commitment - U16 & Older


FUNdamentals | Stage 1

U5-U6 Age Group 


Training sessions are 60 minutes long. The main areas of focus: movement education, starting the process of learning to master the ball, and developing a love for the game.

  •     Fundamental Motor Skills
  •     Agility, Balance, and Coordination
  •     Introduction to mastering the soccer ball
  •     Individual Technical Ability

Warm up: Activities will focus on body movement that can be done with or without the ball.

Main Activities: The main activities are ball control and individual problem solving. Each session should progress to a 3v3 game to small goals.

  • Example of games: Tag, Maze Games, move of the day
  • Each session ends with 3v3 or 4v4 games to small goals.


Learning to Train - Development - Stage 2

U7- U9 Age Group 

Training sessions are 60-75 minutes long. The main areas of focus: mastering the ball, learning how to train properly, and creating a foundation for team work.

Warm up:  Activities focus on different variations of ball control and continuing to develop body movement.

Main Activities: The main activities are developing ball control while learning how to problem solve individually and with teammates. Players learn several new activities that create a foundation for their training environment as they progress over the years (Learning to Train Phase). Each session ends with small sided games to goals.

Activities: Different variations of passing & dribbling. Each activity can build into higher level variations that help to develop technical abilities & combinational play.

  • Example of games: 1v1, 2v1, 2v2, 3v2, 4v4
  • Games can be played to end lines or with multiple goals.
  • Handball can be played to help teach possession and teamwork

Each session ends with small sided games to goals.



Training to Train - Understanding of the game - Stage 3

U10-U12 Age Group 

Training sessions are 60-90 minutes long. The main areas of focus: continuation of mastering the ball and learning principles of play. Players transition into a Training to Train Phase now that a foundation has been set from previous years of playing. New tactical concepts: Principle of Attacking & Principles of Defending. Several of these principles are very complicated and at this stage of development the focus is creating a foundation based on these principles.

  • Principles of Attacking: Penetration, providing support, movement off the ball, width & depth, and improvisation/creativity.
  • Principles of Defending: pressure & cover, delaying, balance/team shape, compactness, control & restraint (not diving in), and counter attack.

Warm up: Games or activities that work on different variations of ball control and team problem solving.

Main Activities: Games focus on individual and team problem solving. Players work on mastering activities learned from previous years and expanding on those activities with more complexity.  Each session should end with small sided games to goals.

Activities: Different variations of passing & dribbling. Each activity will be building into higher level variations to improve technical abilities, combinational play, and problem solving.

  • Example of games: 1v1, 2v1, 2v2, 3v2, 4v3, 6v6
  • Games can be played to end lines or with multiple goals (4 or 6 goal games).
  • Possession games with and without neutral players
  • Introducing principles of attacking & defending
    • Switching the point of attack, playing out of the back, width & depth
    • pressure and cover, where to force the ball, not diving in.

Each session ends with small sided games to goals.



Training to Compete - Preparation - Stage 4

U13-U15 Age Group 

Training sessions are 75-90 minutes long. The main areas of focus: developing tactical concepts of the game while continuing to develop technical abilities. Training sessions will be similar from the previous stage with the areas of focus becoming more complex.

Areas of Focus

Formation & Style of Play

  • Players will learn to play in various formations: 4-3-3, 3-5-2, 4-4-2, etc.
  • Players will learn to play an Attacking/Possession based style of soccer.

Attacking & Defending

Attacking Shape

– Width & Depth

– Off the ball movement

– Ball Movement / Pattern Play

– Various ways to attack

Different ways of attack

– Down the flank

– Weak side

– Outside to the middle

– Crossing & finishing

– Combination play to goal

– Counter attack

– 1v1 to goal

Defensive Shape

– Pressure, cover, & balance

– Defending from front line to the back line

– Areas to force the ball

– Delay / Recover

Defending as team

– Defensive Shape

– Pressure, cover, and balance

– Zonal Defending

– Defending from the front to the back

– Pressing as a team

– How to delay and recover as a team

– Line of confrontation

– Using offsides & spacing to aid in defense



Training to Win - Commitment -  Stage 5

U16 & Older

Training sessions are 75-90 minutes long. The final phase of player preparation aims to maximize player performance in all aspects of the game. A player’s capacities are becoming fully established while training to peak for major competitions. Training is characterized by high intensity and relatively high volume with frequent periods of rest.

Areas of Focus in addition to Training to Compete Phase

  •     Ability to improvise within game situations
  •     Independent decision-making
  •     Further development and refinement of soccer specific skills
  •     Automatic and consistent performance of soccer specific skills
  •     Development of effective competition strategies and ability to adjust within games
  •     Successful tactics, strategies, and necessary variations needed to win games
  •     The importance of variation/options on set-pieces in attack & defense
  •     Maintenance of physical capabilities with the view of maximizing performance
  •     Well-developed, refined and individualized mental skills and routines
  •     Frequent prophylactic (preventative) breaks


North Shore FC, Lake Forest
150 Boardman Court 
Lake Bluff, Illinois 60044

Phone: 224-401-5662
Email: [email protected]

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