D.F.C. Dragons is a youth soccer club based in Duxbury, Massachusetts. We have a passion for the game of soccer, known around the world as the beautiful game. D.F.C. Dragons provides an optimal learning environment for developing committed young soccer players that reside in Duxbury. Our goal is to foster a love for the game and to develop ambitious, creative, and skillful players.
What sets D.F.C. apart? We have carved out a unique niche in the local club soccer landscape. First of all, let’s discuss what we are not: we are not trying to be all things to all people, we are not trying to become a huge club, and we are not interesting in turning a profit. Instead, we have developed a terrific player development curriculum and built a staff of phenomenal professional coaches to complement our amazing group of committed volunteers. We channel these resources directly to the benefit of players – we offer an ideal learning environment and world-class soccer instruction in the intimate setting of a small, high-quality club that is deeply committed to delivering the very best player development experience possible (we aren’t interested in being the biggest, but we are fully committed to being the best).
Best of all, we are doing all of this as a 501c3 non-profit and are staffed predominantly by volunteers from our community. In fact, the only paid members of the D.F.C. staff are our world-class professional coaches. This allows us to offer our players and their families much more than other local soccer clubs, but with a much lower fee structure, as our club director, administrative staff, parent coaches, and team managers are unpaid volunteers.
D.F.C. Dragons is a single-town club that operates under the Duxbury Youth Soccer Association umbrella. As such, we work closely with DYSA to make sure that our program dovetails with DYSA’s other programs so that collectively we can offer each youth soccer player in Duxbury the appropriate level of soccer.
As a single-town club, we do not recruit in the way other soccer clubs do. Our players come through our town program, Duxbury Youth Soccer Association, where the most committed players naturally seek to enroll in the D.F.C. program. They know that our players receive the best professional soccer instruction available while still having the opportunity to play with their friends from school in the comfort and convenience of their hometown.
Our Philosophy – More Development for More Players
Core components of D.F.C.’s philosophy:
- We are passionate and knowledgeable soccer people
- Our coaches are trained and licensed at the highest levels by UEFA, USSF, and NSCAA
- Our coaches are teachers and guides
- Our curriculum and approach are player-centric and age-appropriate
- We focus on long-term player development rather than talent identification
- We place player development ahead of winning – wins will come as our players develop
- We see a player’s level of commitment and passion as key indicators of future success
- We develop bold, creative, technical soccer players
- We are inclusive rather than exclusionary
- We believe that the game belongs to the children (not the coaches or parents)
D.F.C. is all about taking highly motivated and committed young soccer players from Duxbury and helping them to fulfill their soccer dreams by inspiring them and providing them with the very best soccer instruction and training. Our approach is inclusive rather than exclusive or exclusionary – we want to give more children an opportunity to develop, not fewer. Tryouts are a difficult reality in club soccer, but we make sure our tryouts are fair and thorough, and we attempt to find a spot for every player we believe is truly ready for a club-level soccer experience.
We pride ourselves on taking the long view on each player’s soccer potential, as we embrace the notion that each child develops differently and at different rates. Our motto is “More development for more players” and it speaks clearly to our approach to helping as many qualified club-level soccer players from Duxbury as possible to achieve their long-term soccer goals. Rather than cut a young player with some potential and a passion for the game and thereby running the risk of turning them away from soccer before they ever had a chance to blossom, we prefer to extend their runway on by a year or two in order to give them the chance to develop under our tutelage. It works out more often than not, but even when it doesn’t work out it is a small price to pay for giving a child a real shot at catching on.
Central to all of this is the concept of the qualified player, which is simply a soccer player that has the emotional and physical abilities as well as the level of commitment required to effectively participate in club soccer in his or her respective age group. Obviously, the specifications are age-appropriate and change each year as the children progress through the various age groups of our program. The point is that although we try to be as inclusive as possible, we certainly don’t believe in throwing a child into the deep end of the club soccer pool before he or she is prepared, as we don’t want any child to be overwhelmed and, as a result, lose their interest in the game.
At the youngest age groups, below U11, we do our best to avoid cuts and prefer instead to develop a larger player pool. Again, we use the concept of the qualified player as a guideline. This provides our youngest players with extra time to sort out how they feel about soccer, develop some confidence, and also gain a bit of control over their bodies. It makes no sense to run tryouts for players that have just started to learn how to play – you end up selecting the children that are either physically precocious or have older siblings and turning away some players that may have more long-term potential and passion for the sport.
Our Player Development Approach
Everybody likes to win and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. If you speak to our coaches, you will quickly learn that each one of them is extremely competitive and has experienced tremendous success as a soccer player in their respective playing careers. However, we have all come to realize that this is no longer about us – we’ve had our opportunities. Youth sports are not for the benefit of coaches or parents, they are about and for the children we are trying to teach. We have learned that making “winning” our highest priority as coaches may feed our egos but it undermines our long-term player development goals – it changes what we teach and emphasize, it changes what players we select in tryouts (athletes or future soccer players), which ones we play on the field, how much they play, and what positions they play. Focusing on winning limits our willingness to allow these young players to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from game at their own pace. At D.F.C., we place “winning” in the proper context — the big picture — and redefine it to include achieving the true goals and objectives of our program. Ultimately, we win as a natural outgrowth of our success in developing players.
The prioritization of player development over winning enables D.F.C. to (1) create a positive learning environment in which the players are comfortable taking risks without fear of harsh criticism, and (2) employ a player-centric development approach (as opposed to team-centric approach) designed to optimize the long-term development of each individual player. Players must be given plenty of opportunities to experiment and fail, to take risks and to find solutions to soccer problems for themselves — by nature, this cannot be accomplished sufficiently in games, as competition drives players to do only what they think will succeed. A combination of structured training based around small-sided games and free play (street soccer) are at the heart of our player development approach. Small-sided games and free play are essential in developing spatial awareness, decision-making and creativity, as well as skill (technique under pressure). We use matches as a guide to help us determine what is needed in training by highlighting weaknesses that may be addressed over time.
D.F.C. utilizes a building block approach to player development. At a young age, mastery of the ball is vital for a child’s future development. Players follow a path focused on technique and skill development and, as competency increases, tactical elements are introduced. Through age 12, our curriculum is heavily weighted towards technical training with lots of repetition as an important element, but then begins to shift steadily toward group and team tactics.