Grass Roots Soccer Program and Free Play

MHYSC executes a class leading Grass Roots program that focuses on inclusiveness. At the Grass Roots level we are not looking to build just soccer players. We are looking to help build good human beings, good athletes and also good soccer players by using the holistic approach to mostly self guided development.

MHYSC believes that free play allows for self guided discovery and expression; both elements inadvertently being sifted out of the game, robbing participants the element of pure enjoyment. Our new Summer Free Play Soccer Angels program is a monthly, simple drop in program using volunteer parents as supervisors that oversee whilst keep everyone safe. Players of all abilities and ages are encouraged to come out and simply enjoy. Every event is different; different team sizes, ages, field size and certainly varying ability levels.

All training sessions focus on 4 main areas of the child's development. They include psychological, technical, physical and social concerns. Our Grass Roots Head Coach (GRHC), designs, distributes, and advises Mentor Coaches (MC) to deliver a weekly session from an annualized curriculum tailored by age group to focus on the 4 pillars a child’s development. The custom tailored curriculum is taught through interactions with coaches, parents and of course fundamental soccer teachings adopted by the LTPD stages of development.


MHYSC Program Summary

  1. Summer Grass Roots/ House League programming (U3-U12)
  • Inclusive, holistic program from U4-U12 with a 4 corner holistic attitude
  • 1 Guided discovery session (U4-U6) and 1 game per week(U7-U12) plus other developmental opportunities
  • 1 Paid Grass Roots Head Coach (GRHC) with OSA Provincial B License oversees program delivery and curriculum
  • 6 paid Mentor Coaches deliver the full 14 week curriculum written by GRHC
  • Curriculum & game day operation adheres to LTPD principles and advocates physical, sociological and psychological literacy
  • Either Game Leader or Game Official led as applicable by age
  • Mount Hamilton Youth Soccer club -
  1. I Love Soccer Festivals
  • A summer monthly program designed to attract more keen players and families
  • Slightly more regimented sessions themed to engage and recruit potential future Festival/Travel players and coaches to pursue the game at a deeper level
  • Integrated as a discovery platform to the Competitive for Life Pathway
  • Sessions designed and coordinated by the GRHC
  • Focuses on players U7-U10 players
  • Jamboree format, where players cycle through eight stations: four skill stations and four game stations
  1. Free Play Soccer Angels
  • A monthly community outreach program intended to bring more people to the game and club
  • Roaming venues in communities not traditionally capable of or tending to register with the club
  • Inspired by John Herdman - Canada's Women's National Team Coach
  • Volunteer Parents or "Soccer Angels" set-up, promote and schedule events
  • Volunteers "Angels" do not teach but only offer a level of basic supervision and organization
  • Free play is encouraged, every event brings a different mixture of ages, abilities and gender
  • Concurrently, Club coaching staff reaches out to local schools and community groups to offer free soccer sessions within their programs and promotes upcoming events
  1. Summer Technical Program (Summer Academy)
  • A program intended to augment Festival and District competitive team training to bring practice ratios up
  • Sessions designed and carried out by GRHC and/or Competitive Head Coach plus other senior coaches
  • 16 Weeks of LTPD, age specific training, once per week (see Academy link for example of curriculum & Club Development Matrix spreadsheet for plan details)
  • Targets U8-U12 players
  1. Winter House league programming
  • Simply Free Play on a weekly basis with basic age appropriate game rules
  • 12 Week program using volunteer coaches
  • Officiated games
  • Inclusive of all players U6-U12

Through the various Grass Roots programs at the entry level of the MHYSC developmental "mountain", MHYSC offers completely inclusive discovery or open development opportunities to engage players and coaches. The periodic "I Love Soccer Festivals" throughout the summer months are where players and coaches at the Grass Roots level get more advanced training to wet their appetite for additional development.

Leaving all of this Grass Roots programming to volunteer moms and dads is not enough. MHYSC, through its paid mentor coaches, deploy themselves each operational night and endear themselves to other coaches, players and parents building momentum, moving all who are vested together in one direction to promote physical, psychological and social literacy.

Building, identifying and organizing player and coaching talent is also critical to our club. Within our Grass Roots system we seek out adept parents to consider the coaching pathway and assist in  collecting useful U6-U12 player metrics to help in evaluating a players skills, needs and the best pathway to serve our players. Our Mentor coaches will personally evaluate the Grass Roots U7-U12 players.

Soccer For Life, Competitive for Life & Talented Pathway Preparation (U8-U12)

  1. We understand that players and coaches vary in abilities,desire for competition or methods of training. It is because we understand this, MHYSC has built all inclusive plus target/development style preparatory schools and academies to offer a place for almost any player with varying skill levels who want to pursue an accelerated training path.

    1. Winter Skills School programming
    • Continuation of the ABC's of Technical competency
    • 2 x 8 week modules are offered, 1 weekly session in a turf facility
    • Focusing on players U6-U12 to build individual skill
    • Sessions designed by GRHC and derived from FUNdamentals & Learn To Train objectives
    • Each session led by Intermediate (Senior/Pre-B level) coaches with the aid of GRHC
    • See Club Development Matrix spreadsheet for curriculum focus

    In the Fall/Winter we offer a "Skills School" that is open to all players in 8 week blocks. The program continues to build foundational technique and familiarize players with a more regimented training regime.

    The Skills School, like ‘I Love Soccer’ festival programs facilitate the club's bridge to further developmental opportunities within our ‘Competitive For Life’ or preparation for ‘Talented Pathway’ opportunities as players grow.

    MHYSC's development plan for talented players is squarely focused on developing eager and capable youth who want to pursue the ‘OPDL’ or ‘Talented Pathway’ but it also prepares and continues to support players who stay on or choose the ‘Competitive For Life’ pathway.

    1. MHYSC - TFC Affiliated Premier & Elite Winter Academy (U8-U12)
    • Intensive 16 week program
    • Open to U7-U12 players (Only one stream for U8s)
    • Regiment includes 2 Technical field sessions, 1 Futsal session plus a complimentary sport each week
    • Complimentary sports sessions run by local contractors offering Dance/Gymnastics & Martial Arts to focus on strength, agility, balance and discipline
    • Premier & Elite streams are identical but are separated by the intensity and technical capacity of players
    • The club invests in Elite level players as they receive a club subsidy to encourage their year round pursuit of the Talented pathway (OPDL)
    • Curriculum designed by Competitive Head Coach following stage specific LTPD technical requirements
    • Delivery of Curriculum is predominantly through the CHC or GRHC with the aid of other senior Provincial B, Pre-B coaches. A total staff comprises of 1-UEFA B, 2-Provincial B & 3 Provincial Pre-B coaches
    • Comprehensive player evaluations are given at the program's end
    • Well being seminar held to introduce players to healthy lifestyle choices including online resource for caloric and nutritional monitoring of food intake
    • Scouting by OPDL & Toronto FC, KIA training centre opportunities including clinics

    Our competitive league builds on the skills developed at the Grass Roots level through our "I Love Soccer Festivals, and the ‘Fall/Winter Winter Skills School’. With the aid of our youth soccer mentors evaluating keen players, we invite all those willing to consider participating at a competitive level in the U8-U12 academy styled developmental squads.

    The Academy styled opportunity is to increase their exposure to soccer training from one or two nights of practice and one game per week to up to three training sessions per week. Within the various age groups we offer several inclusive options to participate in either a Target and Development styled program that differentiates itself mostly by commitment level with some checks and balances pertaining to competency at any particular age. MHYSC strives to assign our most passionate and experienced coaches to these squads. Those individuals not quite ready for this regiment still have the MHYSC ‘Skills School’ to help them get to this level.

MHYSC Academy Curriculum Overview

During the Fall and Winter months (U8-U12) Target and Development teams are encouraged to ramp things down as we switch focus towards developing individual competency through our MHYSC/TFC affiliated academy. Our affiliated academy boasts up to 48 training session in a 16 week program with technical competency training, futsal, alternative sports, such as dance or martial arts, nutrition tracking and sports motivational teaching. Only our most experienced coaches ranging from UEFA B to Provincial Pre-B levels are allocated to this program. The Fall/Winter Academy will conclude with a comprehensive player evaluation.

Our academy program is renowned throughout the district and the region for providing stellar training in a professional environment that mimics the requirements of OPDL. It is inclusive for various talent levels and financial capabilities. Every club player passes through a unique opportunity window to receive free training for up to 3 years. MHYSC have partnered with area clubs to off this to out of club players as well.


MHYSC takes the preparation of players for the Talented Pathway very seriously. The unique, year round programming options are designed to provide periodisation for athletes that are class leading within the youth soccer community. Every season is mapped out with programming to ensure development cycles are efficient and packed with best practices.

MHYSC and Hamilton United elite Soccer Club Affiliation

MHYSC is an affiliated and financial partner with Hamilton United Elite Soccer club (HUE). HUE Academy instructors are used as coaches within the Talented Pathway (OPDL) HUE franchise. This gives our players direct access to coaches who are seeking the next group of talented athletes while helping the club tailor its’ curriculum to prepare players with the training requirements & competencies expected of the Talented Pathway.

  1. MHYSC - Soccer For Life / Competitive For Life / Travel Team Programming (U13-U18)
  • Competition level ranging from House League, to District tiers through Regional level and Provincial leagues
  • LTPD Complaint league associations
  • Senior level or appropriate
  • LTPD level certified coaches with access to CSA LTD curriculum & introduction to Yearly Plan
  • Minimum 2 to 1 practice vs. game ratio
  • Coaching Mentorship through CCHC that teaches both Practical & Technical/Tactical coaching
  • Tournament attendance with focus on scouting / University prospecting for older elite age groups

MHYSC Additional Player Opportunities

MHYSC offers opportunity to players who are not chosen for or do not wish to participate in Talented Pathway training and competition. The C4L & S4L streams allow participants to choose their level of commitment to the game while balancing other interests. Participants interested in focusing on school, work or alternative sports can find a good fit via the various levels of play & coaching styles through involvement in either House League, District League, Regional League and Provincial Leagues. MHYSC has representation at all levels.

More progressive teams at district, regional or provincial levels continue to prepare players for possible College and University opportunities. Coaches at this level are encouraged to learn about proper periodisation, the importance of FIFA 11 and timely rest and recovery cycles as provided by CSA S4L sessions to help organize seasonal training.

The main intent of this level of programming is to ensure we nurture a lifetime love and the continual participation in soccer. Through this particular group of individuals we tend to find future coaches and officials who want to "give back" to the game.


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