Junior Academy Philosophy

Our directors and coaches strive to create the most comprehensive personal and athletic developmental environment. Bend FC player development is influenced by the 3 “C’s” of Bend FC TOVO Methodology.  Every session, every communication, and every competition is designed to develop your child’s Cognition, Competence and Character. Let’s define them:

  • Cognition: Many people think that soccer is a game that is all about technique, but that is a misconception. Soccer is a game for thinkers. It is a game about understanding, finding and exploiting space in which every player must be able to do the following actions moment to moment:
    • Perceive the field around him/her
    • Conceive of solutions to solve the problem the game presents (Do I pass, dribble, shoot, step, drop etc?)
    • Decide upon a solution
    • Deceive the opponent if needed
    • Execute the choice with technical precision
    • Assess the choice and do it all over again 

As you can see, four things happen in a soccer game before technique, and these must be developed in your child. Training will reflect the cognitive demands of the game so that your child develops not simply technique (the ability to perform a move or action) but skill (the ability to deploy it in the game environment.) Practices will NOT have endless lines and cones; they will have defenders, decisions, direction and thousands of game-like moments.

  • Competence: In order for players to exploit the space they find, they need technical, tactical and physical competence. We train five areas of competence:
    • Ball control such as passing, receiving, shooting, dribbling, heading, as well as defensive techniques
    • Movement to develop physically, which includes strength and flexibility, core stability, and dual force activities that develop overall athleticism and help to prevent injuries
    • Position Play so that players first develop an understanding of positioning (do I need to create width, depth, expand or contract the space, play 360 degrees or 180 degrees, etc) and then specific positions on the field. 
    • Principles of Play refers to the moments of the game that players must understand, such as when we have the ball, when the opponent has the ball, moments of transition, and more.  We use TOVO’s fourteen principles of play
    •                            Manage Oneself

1. Perceive & Conceive

2. Decide & Deceive

3. Execute & Assess

                                                  Manage Space

4. Create & Close Space

5. Attack 1,2,3

6. Pressure Quickly on Transition

7. Organize When the other team

has the ball

8. Defend 1,2,3

                                                  Manage the Ball

9. Keep It Simple

10. Play What You See

11. Receive With Intent

12. Pass With Purpose

13. Keep & Move The Ball

14. Advance The Ball


  • Systems of Play refers to the formation we use in games. Players must develop competencies in all formations but our basic formation will be:
    • 7v7 1-3-2-1


  • Character: many athletes have talent that takes them to a place that their character cannot sustain. At Bend FC, we are dedicated to developing your child’s character that will not only help them become better soccer players, but more importantly, better people. Every day we will work to develop their performance character (grit, resilience, competitiveness) but their moral character (respect, joy, integrity, diversity) through the beautiful game of soccer. 


Player Development and Movement:

Our goal at Bend FC Timbers is to provide every player with the best opportunity to develop individually and within a group. Children develop physically, cognitively, and socially/emotionally at different rates as well. Player placement and movement is critical in Junior Academy. We are committed to giving every player every opportunity to train and play with players of similar ability. 

Junior Academy Players can expect:

  • Age group training: players within an entire birth year will all train together. Age group training will occur throughout the summer months as players come and go on family trips, and will continue during the Fall and Spring. 
  • Opportunities to train with higher level groups: players will have the opportunity to train with older age groups inside and and outside of Junior Academy. 
  • Opportunities for extra practices: All Bend FC players are encouraged to develop through extra training through our TPA Program, winter training and futsal. There will be opportunities at the discretion of coaches to make up missed or do additional practices with other teams in the club on a case by case basis. 
  • Opportunities to guest play or move teams during the season: Junior Academy players may have the opportunity to move up to our Under-11 and Under-12 Program. Players showing proficiency and a willingness to make a move to our year-round competitive program will be approached by the Junior Academy Director.


Playing Time

Junior Academy Players are guaranteed 50% playing time over the course of all play dates and tournaments. Playing time is influenced by a variety of factors, including but not limited to attendance, attitude and effort at training and games, physical readiness to play the minimum minutes, injuries, weather, etc. We always welcome conversation with team coaches and program directors if you feel this minimum is not being met. Additional training and playing opportunities are available for Junior Academy players with older Bend FC teams. Playing time in games with older teams may affect the amount of playing time in a Junior Academy competition.


Positional Play

We aim to create the total player by allowing each Bend FC player to experience the total game. Players feature in a variety of positions at the beginning of their development and specialize in positions as they get older.

Junior Academy will be asked to play several positions in training and games. Experiencing the game from multiple perspectives is critical to developing the total soccer player.


Player Numbering System:   US Soccer has assigned different numbers to different positions on the field, so you may hear your child saying that they “played the 6” or “played the 9” instead of playing center midfield or striker. If you want to learn more about this system this is a great article that explains it.


Multi-sport Participation and Commitment to Bend FC Timbers

Bend FC Timbers supports and encourages multi-sport and multi-movement (martial arts, yoga, strength and conditioning) activities for our players. Developing overall athleticism is an important component of becoming a successful soccer player, and throughout the club history many of our players have been very successful multi-sport high school and college athletes. At the same time, soccer is a team sport and team commitment is very important at certain times of the year. 

We understand that there is overlap at times with other sports and at those times our players/families are expected to communicate closely with coaches to arrange schedules, make up missed practices, and determine availability for games. During our non-peak months, players may miss training yet again, are expected to communicate with plenty of notice if they will be missing events, and do their utmost to make up missed practices. As we mentioned above, we have had many athletes be very successful multi-sport participants. All we ask is for a prompt and consistent line of communication about your schedule and prospective absences.