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The Canada Soccer Pathway provides a roadmap for players of all ages and aspirations who want to play soccer at any level of soccer, with the aim of encouraging lifelong participation. The Pathway is built around the principles of Long-Term Player Development (LTPD).



LTPD is a model of athlete development that parallels what doctors and psychologists have long used to better understand human development: as a series of distinct stages, which takes us from infancy through to adulthood. A person's abilities, behaviours, and emotions, as well as their understanding of the world around them, varies from stage to stage.

Similarly, experts in sport science have identified seven stages of development — each with its own physical and psychological characteristics —that form the basis for LTPD. When young soccer players are able to train and compete in an environment that's appropriate to their stage of development, they not only perform at their best, they also have more fun.

LTPD is player centered, coach driven, and supported by administration, sports science and sponsors. 

LTPD is designed to facilitate the following:

  • promote lifelong enjoyment of physical activity

  • provide a structured player development pathway

  • describe best practices for player development

  • create long term excellence. 



LTPD is a program for soccer player development, training, competition, and recovery based on biological age (i.e. physical maturity) rather than chronological age. It is player centered, coach driven, and administration, sport science, and sponsor supported.


• Eliminates gaps in the player development system.
• Guides planning for optimal athlete performance at all stages.
• Provides a framework for program alignment and integration, from volunteer club coaches to national and professional teams.
• Follows scientific principles and practical coaching experiences.

Benefits for players & parents:

• Better understanding of what makes a good soccer program.
• More players learning at their level and having fun.
• Appropriate game and league structures (e.g. size of balls, goals, field etc.).
• More opportunity for players to realize their athletic potential.
• More coaches who are knowledgeable in leading safe, effective practices.

Benefits for coaches & clubs:

• Information and education on effective coaching and practice methods.
• Guidelines for appropriate game structures.
• Guidelines on appropriate competition levels.

• Established pathways for player development for all levels of ability and ambition.
• Affirmation of best practices for coaches and club administrators.

Benefits for all:

• Competitive behaviour is fostered in players, while over-competitive behaviour is discouraged in adults (e.g. coaches and parents).
• Players, parents, coaches, and administrators understand that players are unique and therefore different in interest and aptitude.
• Players stay involved in the sport throughout their lives (as players, coaches, referees or club administrators).
• Soccer grows, and lifelong wellness is promoted for players of all ages, genders, and levels of ability and disability.

The Canadian Soccer LTPD model, is designed to optimize Canadian excellence and lifelong wellness through soccer. By ensuring fun playing experiences for children, a suitable player development pathway for youth and opportunities for lifelong participation for all players regardless of age, gender, ability or disability, LTPD provides a framework for the growth of the beautiful game in Canada.

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