about LA FINCA
La Finca has a developmental pathway designed to start at 3 years old and continue until 9 or 10. It is absolutely possible to enter our pathway later, and we also offer programs for youth players 11 - 16, but the primary focus of our model is a progressive training program, so it's important to start with the appropriate level.
Our programs begin with our Clinics, though the player has to be ready even for these.
LEVEL I Clinic Training
Because we aim to teach ball competency to every young player, our introductory programs start there. Becoming confident with the ball is the basis of our entire Clinics Training program. Starting with children as young as five years old in what we call our Level I programs, our clinics are designed to develop advanced foot comfort with the ball. Whether starting on age-target, or slightly older, all players must achieve a certain level of ball expertise to progress to our Level II programs. This can happen by the time a player turns 6, but if they aren't there yet, we will recommend our Level I clinics.
Though our clinics programs don't start until a player turns 5 (with exceptions for advanced players), we offer programs for children as young as 3. The difference is our Guardian & Me classes for 3 and 4 year olds require guardian participation and they are about adult education as much as player development. At this age, and it's the right age to start, caregivers are the key influence. This is both because children this age are generally more comfortable with a family member or close adult friend and because the family is the key to early youth development. Our early youth programs, therefore, aim to teach the caregivers how to "play soccer" with their children in a way that is both fun and effective for soccer development.
Whether your child starts playing in our early youth programs or not, to benefit from our clinics a player must already have developed a modest level of ball comfort. You might be wondering, How is this possible if they haven't ever done our clinics? The answer is, self-training. We offer several FREE self-training programs to help get players ready for our clinics. Even our advanced clinic players, at all levels, would benefit from self-training. It's important to understand the limits of clinic training. For real development, players must play far more outside of clinic times than in them.
LEVEL II Clinic Training
When players' technical development reaches a level determined by our trainers -- it varies somewhat by player -- they will be invited to our Level II clinics. This can happen as early as 6 years-old, though it is typically closer to 8 or 9 when this kind of differentiation takes place. This is why the age divisions in our clinic titles are merely suggestive. We may even at times recommend, say a Level II 10-12 Clinic, for an 8 year old. Age and size are not important in our clinic programs since, again, these are a purely skill-based, developmental training programs.
LEVEL III Clinic Training
This is our highest level of clinic training, reserved for only the most elite futbolers. Most Level III clinics are for players 12 and up, though at times, when our player community warrants such a program, we will offer Level IIIs to younger age groups. In time, we hope to be offering Level III clinics for 7-9 year olds on a regular basis. This would signal a healthy youth soccer culture in our community.
Ballers/Pickup/Free Play Developmental program
(open play, mixed age, freestyle, creative play...)
Advanced players of any age will be invited to represent La Finca in tournament competitions. We typically look for small-sided tournaments. We compose teams made up of our weekly clinic players. These form for the event; we don't have enduring teams (with the exception of LF '13). When we compete, we play to be challenged and to win. This means we typically play up in age or skill-level. We believe competition is a key training tool but only for players that are already highly skilled. We know this is a controversial position. Many parents like to see their kids compete, no matter their level, and some kids enjoy this too. It's just not how we do things at La Finca.
Invitations to the Competition Program are seasonal. Your player could be invited one season and not the next. If you accept the invitation for the season, you will be contacted with a list of potential tournaments for that season. You can choose to do none, one or all of them. Fees are calculated per event.