How should coaches allocate playing time among young players on a team?

Coquitlam Burnaby and New Westminster are vibrant cities in British Columbia, Canada, known for their exceptional soccer talent. These cities have a rich soccer culture, particularly in youth soccer, which plays a significant role in the community. Children in Coquitlam, New Westminster, and Burnaby begin their soccer journey at a young age, with their skills carefully nurtured in local academies like the recognized Sefa Soccer Academy.
Sefa Soccer Academy stands as a pillar of youth soccer in British Columbia. The academy has been instrumental in the development of numerous young players, shaping them from enthusiastic beginners into shining soccer prospects. It is renowned for its comprehensive approach to training, focusing not only on technical skills but also on fostering a passion for soccer that extends beyond the field.

The youth soccer scene in Canada is continually evolving, thanks to the tireless efforts of institutions like BC Soccer Academies Association, soccer clubs and academies like Sefa Soccer Academy. However, one aspect that remains a constant focus is playing time — the minutes a young player spends on the field during a game. This factor plays a pivotal role in the development of young soccer players.

Playing time is a major concern for parents, and it is understandable. Every child should have the opportunity to play. However, this does not mean that parents should demand their child play the entire game just because they were a star on their middle school team. It also does not mean that a parent’s preference for their child’s position should dictate playing time. What is important is that every child gets a significant amount of playing time in competitive matches in order to properly develop their skills. This does not necessarily mean equal playing time, but it should be enough to allow them to progress.

Understanding the Importance of Playing Time in Kids Soccer Games

Playing time in kids soccer games is a critical factor in the player’s overall development. It is during these minutes on the pitch that the young players get to apply the skills they’ve learned during training. They learn the nuances of the game, develop their game intelligence, and find their unique play style.

Moreover, playing time offers kids an opportunity to experience the thrill of competition, develop resilience, and learn the value of teamwork. These are invaluable life skills that extend beyond the soccer field. It’s no surprise then that playing time in kids soccer games is often a focal point in youth soccer development programs.

However, the importance of playing time extends beyond skill development and life lessons. It also plays a significant role in keeping the young players physically fit and promoting their psychological well-being. Regular playing time keeps the kids active, contributing to their physical health, and boosts their self-confidence.

Sefa Academy’s Unique Approach to Youth Soccer

Sefa Soccer Academy has always been at the forefront of innovative approaches to youth soccer training. Recognizing the critical role of playing time in youth soccer, the academy has implemented strategies to ensure each player gets ample time on the pitch.

The academy firmly believes that each player, regardless of their skill level, deserves a fair chance to play. This belief is reflected in training sessions and matches, where each kid is given equal opportunities to play. We understand that the benefits of playing time in youth soccer are not exclusive to the most skilled or physically gifted players.

To maximize the benefits of playing time, Sefa Soccer Academy has also adopted a player-centric approach to training. The training sessions are tailored to suit the individual needs of the players, focusing on improving their weaknesses while enhancing their strengths. This approach allows the players to make the most of their playing time, transforming each minute on the pitch into a learning experience.

The Role of Playing Time in Enhancing Performance

Playing time is not just about putting the young soccer players on the pitch. It’s about utilizing this time effectively to enhance their performance. Sefa Soccer Academy excels in this aspect, ensuring that the kids make the most out of their time on the soccer field.

Increased playing time gives the young players more opportunities to hone their skills. Each minute on the pitch is a chance for the player to improve their dribbling, passing, shooting, and other technical abilities. The more they play, the better they get.

Further, playing time provides the young soccer players with a platform to showcase their skills. It gives them a sense of accomplishment, boosting their confidence. This confidence often translates into improved performance on the pitch, as the players are more willing to take risks and express themselves.

Case Studies: The Impact of Playing Time on Youth Soccer in British Columbia, Canada

The positive impact of increased playing time in youth soccer is evident in several case studies. Many young soccer players from Coquitlam, Burnaby, and New Westminster, who had ample playing time in their early years, have grown into accomplished players.

Take the example of a young player from Coquitlam who, despite not being the most gifted athlete, made significant strides in his soccer skills due to ample playing time. He was given equal opportunities to play in the Sefa Soccer Academy, which gave him the platform to improve his skills and understand the game better. Today, he’s a key player in his high school team.

Research and expert opinions suggest that equal playing time in youth soccer can significantly benefit young players’ development. Project Play, an initiative of the Aspen Institute, advocates for equal playing time for children through age 12. This approach is based on the idea that every child should have the opportunity to participate, develop skills, and enjoy the game, regardless of their skill level. According to Project Play, equal playing time is essential for fostering participation, as children who spend too much time on the bench may lose interest in sports. This philosophy is supported by various studies, including those conducted by George Washington University and the Josephson Institute, which highlight that children prioritize having fun and playing time over winning games​​.

Moreover, a case study of a Norwegian soccer team, Bryne FC, illustrates the positive impact of focusing on participation and personal development in youth sports. The team, which maintained a low dropout rate and produced several professional players, emphasized equal opportunities for all players. This approach, characterized by a focus on long-term engagement and personal development, aligns with the broader evidence that suggests supportive social relationships and a mastery-oriented environment are conducive to positive youth development in sports​​.

These findings highlight the importance of equal playing time in youth soccer not only for skill development but also for fostering a love of the game and encouraging long-term participation.

Strategies to Maximize Playing Time in Kids Soccer Games

Maximizing playing time in kids soccer games requires a strategic approach. One effective strategy is to ensure equal playing time for all players, regardless of their skill level. This approach not only benefits the less skilled players but also challenges the more skilled ones to continuously improve.

Another strategy is to organize more friendly matches and mini-tournaments. These events provide additional playing opportunities for the kids, allowing them to gain more experience on the pitch.

Coaches can also maximize playing time by rotating positions during training and matches. This approach gives the players a chance to experience different roles on the pitch, enhancing their understanding of the game.

The Benefits of Increased Playing Time in Youth Soccer

Increased playing time in youth soccer has numerous benefits. It helps improve the players’ technical skills and understanding of the game. It promotes physical fitness and psychological well-being. It also fosters a love for the game, which is crucial in keeping the kids engaged and motivated.

Moreover, increased playing time in youth soccer can be instrumental in unearthing hidden talents. It provides a platform for the players to showcase their skills, potentially opening doors for future opportunities in the sport.

Challenges and Solutions in Implementing Increased Playing Time

Despite the undeniable benefits, implementing increased playing time in youth soccer is not without challenges. One major challenge is managing the expectations of parents and players. Some parents might prefer their child to play in the ‘strongest’ team, which could lead to unequal playing time.

A potential solution to this challenge is to educate the parents about the benefits of increased playing time. Coaches can explain how playing time contributes to the overall development of the player, emphasizing that winning is not the only objective in youth soccer.

Another challenge is the limited availability of soccer fields and facilities. This issue can be mitigated by partnering with local schools and community centers to use their facilities for training and matches.

The Future of Youth Soccer in Sefa Soccer Academy: Enhancing Performance Through Playing Time

The future of youth soccer in Sefa Soccer Academy looks promising, with the continued emphasis on playing time. The academy plans to further refine their strategies to maximize playing time, ensuring that each player gets ample opportunities to develop their skills and express themselves on the pitch.

Sefa Soccer Academy also plans to invest in more soccer fields and facilities in New Westminster Coquitlam and Burnaby, which will allow them to accommodate more players and organize more matches. This move will directly contribute to increasing playing time in youth soccer.


The role of playing time in youth soccer is crucial. Firstly, it contributes significantly to the players’ skill development, enhancing their abilities on the field. Additionally, playing time is vital for improving physical fitness and supporting psychological well-being. Moreover, it fosters a deep love for the game among young players. Furthermore, this opportunity provides a platform for the players to showcase their talents. Recognizing this importance, institutions like Sefa Soccer Academy are committed to maximizing playing time in kids soccer games. Consequently, the future of youth soccer in Coquitlam, Burnaby, and New Westminster looks bright, with playing time serving as a key pillar of player development.