Copa Academy:  Principles – For the Coach, the player and the team


Must use activities that allow the players to improve their technical ability based upon the Club and Copa Academy philosophy, Passing & Receiving, Ball striking/Shooting, Ball control & Turning, 1v1 Moves

  • Understand and implement United’s Coaches Guide document
  • Possession games are means to improve both the technical and tactical understanding of the players
  • Opposing players are used to increase the speed of play, tactical awareness and competitiveness of the players, e.g. 3v1, 4v2, 5v3 to even teams
  • High intensity games based on technique and speed



  • Have Fun: #1 priority, love the game.
  • Give 100%: Always try your hardest for yourself and your team mates.
  • 1, 2 or 3 touch: Minimizing the number of touches improves the speed of play and game.
  • Keep the game simple: Do not force situations, over dribble or be careless with the ball.
  • Keep the ball on the ground: A ball on the ground is easier to control and can be moved more efficiently by the team
  • Accuracy and quality of the pass: Passing must be firm and accurate with the appropriate weight.
  • First touch: Make a clean, controlled first touch without stopping the ball.  Take the touch away from pressure and into open space.
  • Perception and awareness: All players with or without the ball should constantly scan (look) the field.
  • 1v1 situations: Players must be comfortable in situations to beat a player, preferably at speed.
  • Individual transition: Players must react quickly when possession change from offense to defense and vice versa.
  • Shooting: Always keep an eye on the goal, all players are encouraged to shoot.
  • Take risks: Soccer is an error prone sport and mistakes are part of the game and learning process.  Players are encouraged to take risks in training session to increase ability and the speed of play



  • Players must understand the positional numbering system.
  • All players must attack and all players must defend: All players must be involved in the game as a unit.
  • Numerical advantage: Try to create numerical (overloads/numbers up) advantage in attack and defense.
  • Flow of the ball: The ball should keep moving from inside to outside and outside to inside.
  • Triangle principle and passing options: The player in possession of the ball must receive constant support and have at least two passing options.
  • Speed of play: Quick movement of the ball creates 2v1 situations.
  • Movement off the ball: Find the best available space to create passing options for the play in possession of the ball.
  • Pressure as a unit: Organized pressure forces the opponents to commit errors.
  • Transition: Improve transition by reducing the number of passes to opponent’s goal after winning the ball back.
  • Direction of the game: The game flows in two directions, important to remember this in practices.
  • Take initiative during the game: Team breakdowns will occur.  Teams must be capable of adapting to new situations and imposing their own style of play during the game.