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El Paso Locomotive FC Youth Soccer Collaborate with U.S. Soccer to Implement U5-U6 Game Format Project in El Paso

By EP Locomotive FC , 11/30/23, 11:30AM MST


EL PASO, Texas (Nov. 22, 2023) – Since August, El Paso Locomotive FC Youth Soccer, in collaboration with the United States Soccer Federation, has been the only team in Texas implementing a new youth development project aimed to determine the best game formats and rules for U5 and U6 players.

“We are dedicated to El Paso area players and finding the best development methods for them,” Director of Youth Soccer Programs Colin Herlinger said. “This new project allowed us to explore new ways to train that would be beneficial to Locomotive FC Youth Soccer and the U.S. Soccer Federation for future player development.”

Per U.S. Soccer, the modified game formats and rules utilized in the U5-U6 Game Format Project provide coaches with flexibility in training sessions while simultaneously fostering environments that are much more enjoyable and beneficial to the development and retention of young players.

Before the launch of this new project, U.S. Soccer previously recommended its member associations and clubs to adhere to some of the following Player Development Initiatives (PDIs) for U6 players (No PDIs existed for the U5 age group):

  • 4v4 game formats with no goalkeeper
  • Two goals, size 4’ x 6’

Under the new project led by U.S. Soccer, Locomotive FC Youth Soccer instilled the new PDIs for 138 players within the U5-U6 age group of its Lil’ Locos programs:

  • 2v2 and 3v3 game formats with no goalkeeper
  • Four goals, size 4’ x 6’
  • “New ball” restarts

The new research guidelines would aim to increase scoring opportunities and decision making for young players as well as increasing player involvement within games, providing young players with much more positive and developmental experiences.

"From the beginning to the end of our program, it was very apparent how much more receptive our players were and how their decision making has changed,” Herlinger said.

By working in collaboration with U.S. Soccer’s Technical Development Department, Locomotive FC Youth Soccer continues to uphold its mission of increasing and retaining youth participation in soccer within the local region to ensure young players are receiving the highest quality of athletic development and opportunity.