New York Red Bulls Approach to Development


The New York Red Bulls Training Programs follows a researched and proven approach to player development. The following information introduces our philosophy, player development rationale and the methods that are used to deliver our curriculum. Click below to watch the curriculum in action:

Mission Statement

To offer unparalleled support and education to the youth soccer community.

Player Development Philosophy

Create a FUN and CHALLENGING environment where players have the opportunity to LEARN.

Player Development Rationale

The New York Red Bulls Academy operates a building block approach to Player Development. Players follow an initial path heavily focused on technique and skill development, and as competency increases tactical elements are introduced. Within each building block an extensive curriculum is designed to focus on the necessary skill set. Proficiency within each block is important to ensure that the player has acquired the required skills to support their development at the next stage of the curriculum. Each building block is tied closely together. As a player progresses through the system they will continue to work on elements of preceding stages to ensure they are consistently and simultaneously challenged on both fundamental and advanced levels. The following diagram illustrates the New York Red Bulls ‘Building Blocks of Player Development’.


Building Blocks of Player Development

The table below provides a description of: (1) Building Block Age Span (2) Building Block Description (3) Building Block Topics.  Appendix A provides an in-depth matrix that clubs should implement as their basic strategy for age appropriate coaching.

Building Block Phase Age Span Description of what's happening (what, how, why)
Motor Skill Development 4 +
What:  Fun based soccer activities.
Why:  Aid in the development of basic motor skills and inspire players to love and grow in the game.
How:  Short, fast paced games that relate to a players understanding of the game.
Technique & Skill Development 7 +
What:  Technical based soccer activities
Why:  Prior formation of motor skills enables introduction of soccer specific techniques.
How:  Activities that maximize ball contact and repetition.
Individual Tactics 9 +
What:  Activities that focus on 1 v 1 attacking and defending situations. 
Why:  Prior formation of technical development enables introduction of individual tactics, forming the foundation to build group and team tactics.
How:  Introduction of fully opposed activities that develop decision making skills.
Group Tactics 11 +
What:  Focuses on groups of players working together in attacking and defending situations.
Why:  Introduced so that players are comfortable in dealing with ‘outnumbered’ game situations.
How:  A range of numbers up (ie: 2 v 1), numbers down (ie: 2 v 3), and balanced numbers activities are used to teach group concepts.
Team Tactics 13 +
What:  Situations where multiple groups of players are working together to develop full team concepts.
Why:  Players transition to the 11v11 game, functioning within an adult framework and standards.
How:  Team tactics are typically taught using 7v7 to 11v11 scenarios that connect the three lines of team shape (defense, midfield, attack).

Note:  An experienced coach should be able to adjust training sessions based on the specific needs of each player and should not feel confined by the curriculum which acts as a starting point

Coaching Methodology - How we teach

The New York Red Bulls Training Programs youth coaching staff focuses on three methods to deliver the building blocks of youth player development.



Method Description
  • Players need to develop a motivation, desire and passion to work hard during training sessions as wel as during their own time away from structured sessions.
  • Every player - coach interaction serves as an opportunity to develop a passion and love for the game
  • In order for a player’s ability to improve, they require accurate and concise information, combined with specific and immediate individual feedback.
  • An adaptive coaching style is used to ensure that every player is developed during the training session; the objective is to create players who are skillful, proficient and  independent thinkers.
  • Repetition and deliberate practice is the key to learning. To master new skills players need to receive a high frequency of realistic situations that offer maximum contact with the ball.
  • Players must be challenged to work at a high intensity that replicates a game environment.


Session Structure

All New York Red Bulls training sessions follow a deliberate format; the following table provides an overview of
how a typical session would be structured.

% of time
Key Points
15 mins prior session start
  • Inspect area to ensure a safe playing environment
  • Set up session in advance of player arrival
  • Players check in
Warm Up
  • Main focus is to maximize contact with the ball
  • Dynamic activity to prepare mind and body for training session
Main Activity
  • Focus on one main theme per session
  • Technical application to skill mastery
  • High frequency of repitition and variety
  • Techniques introduced on a scale from low pressure to full pressure
Conditioned Play
  • Small sided group play
  • Conditions added to reinforce the application of skill
  • Directional activities featuring an element of transition with numerous attacking and defending opportunities
  • Session ends with a competitive scrimmage
  • Reduced coach interactions to encourage specific learning through play
  • Review of daily topic and homework assignment
  • Players check out


For more information:

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Red Bulls Academy, 600 Cape May Street, Harrison, NJ, 07029