Grassroots News

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Mini Stars Winter Training registration is now OPEN!

As the Fall season approaches, so does registration for the Mini Stars Winter Training. The Mini Stars enters its 6th Winter season under the guidance of Grassroots Development Manager, John Clubb, who is excited about the development of the outreach centres.

“The City Centre Programs have always been well received and successful and we are hoping to continue to build the program and opportunities for players throughout the Province.”

The program is open to players within the Learning to Train Stage of development (2006-2008) and offers individual player development curriculum, which seeks to support those players with a passion and desire to take their game to the next level. All programs are coached to an Alberta Soccer curriculum and by certified coaches.

In addition to Edmonton and Calgary, outreach centres will operate in Medicine Hat, Red Deer, Fort McMurray, Fort St John, Grande Prairie, Cochrane, Carstairs, Camrose, Eastside Memorial, and Bonnyville.

For further information or to register on one of the Mini Stars Programs please visit the Mini Stars webpage 

FREE Girls Soccer festival in Calgary

On September 23, from 1:30-2:30, Alberta Soccer is running a FREE Girls Goals soccer festival for 100 players born in 2006-2007.

The Girls Goals program aims to create more opportunities for women and girls to play and coach soccer in Alberta. As such, Alberta Soccer’s Grassroots department is offering an introductory coaching program for female coaches in our province. As part of this session, there will be a girls-only training festival for players in the Calgary area.

This event will take place at the Calgary Soccer Centre and will follow the LTPD Preferred Training Model of delivery.

To register a player for the Festival, click here

The first 100 registered girls will also receive a free Girls Goals T-Shirt.

Return visit to Fort McMurray for youth soccer camp

The Grassroots team are on the road later this month for a return visit and soccer camp in Fort McMurray. We hope this popular return to school camp will encourage more local youngsters to get back on the soccer field as Fort McMurray’s grassroots program looks to take a new lead and continue to enhance its reputation for developing talent in Alberta.

  • When: Monday, Aug 28 – Thursday Aug 31
    • Full day (6-16 year-olds): 10am – 3:45pm
    • Half day (4-6 year-olds & goalkeepers): 9:30am – 12pm
  • Where: Syncrude Athletic Park, Field 24
  • Fees:
    • Full Day: $175
    • Half Day: $75

For further details on the camp, please click here.

Multi-sport summer camps kick off

Did you know that research supports children and teens participating in multiple sports – as opposed to specializing? In fact, studies show that over 80% of post-secondary and professional athletes played more than one sport as a child. So whether your child aspires to playing soccer at a professional level, or they simply want to play for the love of the game, there are several benefits to playing more than just one sport:

  • prevent injury due to repetition and overuse
  • develop a well-rounded set of athletic movement skills
  • strengthen emotional skills such as resiliency and creativity (different sports require different types of mental focus)
  • reduce chance of burnout due to boredom

It’s for these reasons that Alberta Soccer has teamed up with Volleyball Alberta and Basketball Alberta to offer a series of multi-sport camps this summer. The first week of camps is underway, but there’s still space available for the remaining sessions. Get more information and register at the Volleyball AB website

Festival Feedback: why children play soccer

The following results were obtained from a direct pen and paper survey provided to 7-year old players at this year’s FUNdamentals Festivals. Below are the top stated answers:

  1. What do you like best about playing soccer? Scoring and having fun
  2. What do you like least about playing soccer? Defending and losing
  3. When I play it is important that I.. Pass to team-mates / Keep the ball
  4. I wish my parents would.. Play with me / Support/watch me
  5. I wish my coach would.. Show me more tricks and skills / Play with us
  6. When I play soccer I feel… Happy

Some significant player responses:

  • “I wish my parents were pro players”
  • “I wish my coach wouldn’t wear sunglasses”
  • “Soccer makes me smell bad”


As always, when asking children a question, you’ll get interesting (and sometimes brutally honest) results.

In a previous study (2015) the most significant response was that 80% of children want their parents to play with them. This assumes they are not – a theme that again permeated this year’s responses. The other significant take home note for all grassroots parents and coaches is the player’s desire to be taught more skills.

The players within this survey were from the FUNdamentals Stage of Long Term Player Development – a stage where the player personality characteristics are still predominantly upon discovering ‘me’ and the recommended developmental focus is ball mastery. Children within this stage are eager to learn and experiment with new moves and actions. So why, despite this, do so many players feel it is important to pass the ball in a game?

Soccer is perceived as a team game, and it is, especially within the later stages of development. However, at the age of 7-8, the child mind is more focused upon the individual. Good players become good team players when they have mastered the ability to manipulate the ball against others in a game. Yet, it appears many coaches emphasize passing ahead of individual technical development. Why?

Many new soccer and grassroots coaches are placed within a team environment where the main parameter of success is to win, forsaking player development. So the coaching focus is upon passing and team play in order to win.

From an organizational perspective, this research demonstrates the need for supporting grassroots coaches and parents in ‘how’ to develop better techniques and skills for them and their players. We will attempt to address this within the coming year with ‘soccer parent’ clinics. For more info on this, please reach out to John Clubb

Coaches need to be encouraged to focus on the importance of player development over team success.

Once this is addressed, perhaps the next most pressing issue is finding a way to keep the kids from becoming “smelly!

23-in-one initiative: 10 visits complete

The Grassroots Development team continues to meet and greet its districts – recently visiting another two members as part of the 23-in-one initiative. The Calgary United Soccer Association (CUSA) and Canal Links districts welcomed John Clubb for meetings and support for Alberta’s grassroots game.

“Given that we’re striving for players at the grassroots level to continue playing into adulthood, the meeting with CUSA was key,” said Clubb, Manager of Grassroots Development.

If John hasn’t visited your district or community yet, and you’d like Alberta Soccer to work with your Board, technical team, parents, and/or coaches to help nurture grassroots soccer, send us an email and we’ll be in touch.

“Success in soccer is measured by playing the game with passion – not by the medals and accolade”

Mini Stars Outreach Program

(June 19, 2017) This year’s Mini Stars season is quickly approaching and Alberta Soccer’s Grassroots Department is excited to partner with new and returning member districts to offer its winter training program.

Alberta Soccer Mini Stars is an open technical program that supports young players within the Learning to Train stage (8-11 years) of Long Term Player Development who aspire to play at a high performance (Provincial Program) level of soccer. The program has been successful in past years due to the positive focus on individual technique and the engaging approach of the Alberta Soccer program instructors.

In hosting a Mini Stars program, your community will be afforded further district outreach support opportunities to mentor coaches and develop your grassroots programs. If this is something you’re interested in for your district – contact your local office for more details. You can also touch base with John Clubb, Alberta Soccer’s Manager of Grassroots Development

Please note, there are program hosting criteria that interested communities must meet – contact John for additional information.

Summer of Coaching

(June 9, 2017) Last weekend marked the completion of a busy season of FUNdamentals Festivals. These coach training events were widespread through Alberta – from Fort McMurray and Fort St John down to Medicine Hat and several communities between. This program, which offers coaches training and support, has impacted 725 young players and trained 165 new coaches to lead their communities’ Grassroots Programs. The events focused upon the FUNdamentals stage of Long Term Player Development and it’s importance in growing future soccer players.

Parents were also enlightened in terms of the One Rule for soccer, from John Clubb Manager of Grassroots Development:

Never kick the ball: Let the players play by dribbling, passing and shooting.”

The Grassroots Team will continue to support districts, clubs and communities across Alberta, for further information, click here


(May 24, 2017 - Red Deer)
The May long weekend witnessed the fifth annual Mini Stars Residential Camp, with 60 playersResidential Camp 17 Collage attending in Red Deer. Those involved were happy to dodge the weekend’s usual wet weather and instead enjoyed playing in the sunshine.

As in recent years, registration to the Residential Camp reached maximum capacity within a matter of minutes, and Alberta Soccer is grateful to everyone involved in making the camp such a success.

The camp is an ‘Introduction to Excellence’ program offered by Alberta Soccer’s Grassroots Development department.  It’s designed to provide Mini Stars’ athletes with an opportunity to experience a Provincial Team Program training environment and introduce them to a potential ‘next step’ on their soccer journey.

“There was tremendous talent and team spirit demonstrated by these young Alberta players,” saidThree wise coaches Manager of Grassroots Development, John Clubb, who was full of praise for the commitment and application of the players during the camp. “There were some very strong players who I anticipate seeing on future Provincial Teams.”

The emphasis of the camp was to prepare players for a bright future, and part of that included asking thoughtful questions of the participants during the weekend’s workshops. One such question, ‘What is the different between winning and success,’ is one many of us could benefit from considering.


(May 15, 2017 - Cochrane)
John Clubb, Manager of Grassroots Development, returned to Cochrane this past weekend to instruct a20170513_125416_resized FUNdamentals training course for the community. “The wheel continues to turn”, expressed John, “Many of the attending youth coaches used to be players in the program during a time when I previously supported the program as its technical director.”

The FUNdamentals Festival is essentially a coach development opportunity for communities to grow their coaches, and as a result, their future programs. 20170513_125745_resizedJohn was delighted to see many of the girls he once coached as young players now taking up the reins as coaches themselves. John described how this cycle benefits soccer, “When a soccer coach started out as a player in the sport, it bodes well for future player development.”

If you’re interested in having John visit your community, complete the online district outreach form.

Grassroots News