General Info

Florida Gulf Coast Dutch Lions FC Youth Academy

The foundation of the Dutch Lions FC Youth Academy is the highly successful and worldwide recognized Dutch Development Philosophy, ranked by FIFA in the highest category of quality. Dutch Lions FC will only utilize experienced and licensed coaches that complete the Dutch training program, to guarantee top player development on both the technical and tactical levels.

The key objective is to prepare young talented players to play at exceptional levels, whether it be in high school, college, or a professional soccer career path. To guarantee the quality of the Academy the Dutch Lions FC has established a partnership with Dutch Premier League club FC Twente.

The Florida Gulf Coast Dutch Lions FC offers two separate programs: Youth Academy and Training School.

The Youth Academy offers two sorts of teams between the ages of U7-U17: Premier teams and Development teams. The Premier teams are the teams with the best players in a certain age category. The Development teams are the 2nd teams in a certain age category. The FGCDL FC Youth Academy does not have more than two teams per age category. The Premier teams usually have coaches with a higher coaching license,  and play in more prestigious tournaments. The season runs from August until May.

Florida Gulf Coast Dutch Lions FC works with an FGCDL FC Coaching Manual to make sure that all coaches train, play, and coach their teams the same way as far as game tactics and player development.

Development Model

When looking at the different stages a player goes through when playing for the Premier Academy of the Florida Gulf Coast Dutch Lions FC, we recognize 6 stages that can be found in our programs:

  • Age 5-8 Skills/games/fun
  • Age 9-11 Advanced skills and Basic game tactics (introduction video analysis)
  • Age 12-13 Advanced game tactics and Learn how to train
  • Age 14-15 Train to grow
  • Age 16-18 Train to win
  • Age 18+ Train to excel

As you can see in the 6 stages shown above, winning is not the main goal of our philosophy until the players are in the 5th stage (age 15 and up). Of course, like you, we want to win games, but this is not our main focus. In all of the early stages, the primary focus of our programs is to develop each player to the highest possible level within their range of abilities, desire and commitment.

During the youth season, you will recognize FGCDL FC’s distinct style of play when you see the Academy teams during a game. At all ages our coaches teach the players to build up from the back, put pressure on the opponent and to set up combination play in the scoring zone. While the younger ages might lose the ball more often while attempting these methods, compared to their opponents who might simply be kicking “the long ball”, running as fast as possible, and attempting to score or scoring without much skill or technique, we continue to play our style. We do understand that, sometimes, it might be frustrating to watch as a parent. However, we must remain consistent and realize that the best way to learn how to play soccer is when a player is allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. We want our players to learn how to use ball skills during the games, and if that means we might lose the ball or the game, we have to accept that. We will always choose development of the individual player and in turn the team, over winning a game in the youngest age groups! As more advanced Dutch Lions FC Academy teams can attest to, transitional teams in the U13/U14 age groups and especially the older, more experienced U15 to U20 teams, are taking their skills to the field with an added focus on winning and mental aspects besides the advanced tactical skills.

The Florida Gulf Coast Dutch Lions FC believes the unique combination of technical, tactical, physical, and mental development will give players a better chance to develop themselves to the best they can be within their ability and, if started at a young age, have a better chance of making the high school starting team, obtain a soccer scholarship for college, or even becoming a professional soccer player.

To sign up for our Premier Academy tryouts please click here.

The Training School offers high quality skill training for players of all ages. Not individually but in groups. Anyone can sign up and it is not linked to playing league games. The Training School schedule, locations and fee structure can be found here.