Games, Play Time & Preparation

League Games

State League (SL) vs. Other Leagues:

All TFA High School Academy teams participate in the Ohio North State League. One of the main reasons we participate in the SL is down those leagues' philosophies aligning with ours. Our Junior Academy teams participate in the Northwest Ohio Youth Soccer League, while Youth Academy teams paricipate in either Ohio North State League or Northwest Ohio Youth Soccer League.

Ohio North understands the demands of players. This results in fewer games, the ability for player movement between age groups, and a policy that coaches need a minimal qualification, so they understand the importance about development within the game. It is always difficult placing a team to make sure they have the right competitive environment to learn in.

When scheduling SL games, all coaches try to be accommodating with travel, i.e. scheduling 2 away games per day to alleviate traveling costs. This is easier in the fall than spring, as it is a longer season with more weekends to choose from.

Other leagues still do not cater to our Academy development; they continually make every team play at least 10-12 games per season-which is fine if teams do not participate in tournaments. However, for the boys to play that many games as well as tournaments is simply too demanding.

TFA prides itself on uniquely developing players within Northwest Ohio, resulting in players equating to the 4-to-1 ratio (4 practices to every 1 competitive game played). This is part of our makeup and reflects in our Mission Statement and Philosophy.

Playing Time

At TFA, we guarantee every player at least 50% playing time over the seasonal year and 40% for high school players over their spring season; however, we ask our players to compete for everything, including playing time in games. This is determined by attitude, attendance, accountability and timeliness.

If a player commits to The TFA program, we expect them to make the necessary practices, games and tournaments. Failure to do this without a legitimate reason will result in the player not starting the game, and subsequently playing less time than the other players.

Our attendance requirement is two practices per week; however, we offer the option of up to four training sessions. We strongly encourage our players to attend optional sessions. However, this does not equate to MORE playing time. This improves the individual player and allows him more touches on a day-to-day basis, improving the practice to game ratio.

Arriving late will reduce the player's playing time. If a player fails to make the 30 minute warm-up time (we state that a player needs to be at a game 45 minutes before the kick off time to prepare), they will not play a significant period of the first half or any of the game (depending on when they arrived). Please understand as your player progresses through the ranks and ages, the mental approach to the game becomes higher. At TFA, we hold timeliness in very high regard.

If you are struggling to meet the timeline, please notify the Team Administrator who can contact the coach about what is happening. Our staff understand families have a lot going on in their lives other than soccer. Have the Coach's and Team Administrator's cell number programmed into your phone; a phone call often alleviates the tension caused by a late player.

The coaching staff fully understands the importance of players getting the opportunity to play in games, and we will structure our annual game schedule to allow many opportunities for players to play in games.

However, it is important for parents and players to understand that a player's development takes place over the course of many months of practices, training and games - not in any one particular game. The coaching staff is instructed to manage the playing time of each player over the course of the entire program year (10-11 months); this results in our game to practice philosophy of four practices to every one competitive game. Ideally, we would like this ratio to happen more regularly in this country; however, games sometimes seem to override the importance of practice.

All of the above decisions are at the discretion of the TFA coaching staff and Managing Director.

Here at TFA, we place the importance back into training and commit to players who are committed to TFA.

Please remember we do not recruit, nor do we advertise... players join our Academy because of YOUR positive comments and actions about our club.

Game Preparation

The expectations of TFA coaches for games is to arrive 45 minutes ahead of the kick-off. That being said, at tournaments and even league games, sometimes this is extremely difficult with our schedules (heading from game to game with multiple teams). Sometimes this timeline changes due to the amount of games played or the weather.

However, ALL players within TFA are expected to warm themselves up both physically and mentally, without any supervision. All players (not just captains or leaders) need to take responsibility; going into the game being prepared is up to the player. The coach prepares them to the best of their ability in training during the week.

All TFA coaches constantly talk about game preparation with every team in every age group. Thus, the younger player experiences what they need to go through to 100% prepare themselves for their upcoming fixture.

People, and even the players, do not always realize that as players get older, the mental part of the game becomes more significant. Their focus and preparation takes a lot out of them physically and mentally.

During our annual Europe Tour for U16 and above (this is optional), this is the biggest element we address and the players soon realize how important it is to their game on their return home. Because of its importance, we want to emphasize game preparation at all ages.