Long Term Development Program

What does LTPD mean?

LTPD stands for Long Term Player Development. It 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 take us from infancy through adulthood. A person’s abilities, behaviour and emotions, as well as their understanding of the world around them, varies from stage to stage.

How does LTPD pertain to soccer?

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. In other words, LTPD is designed to give players an optimal soccer experience at every stage by putting their needs front and centre.

LTPD GIVES ALL PLAYERS THE BEST CHANCE OF SUCCESS IN SOCCER by tailoring training, competition and coaching to their needs at the appropriate stage of development.

Why use the LTPD model?

We don’t expect kids to compete in spelling bees without first teaching them their ABCs. When activities and expectations don’t match with a child’s developmental stage, this can set them up for failure. The same is true when young children are thrust into a soccer environment that over-emphasizes winning at the expense of developing skills and having fun. The negative consequences can last a lifetime: Some kids develop bad habits and poor skills and can become discouraged. Many don’t achieve their performance potential. Others end up leaving the sport altogether because they don’t enjoy the game.


Respecting the developmental needs of players is the number-one priority. This means making sure recreational players have fun, and also that those with special talents are given opportunities for further development as they move along the Canada Soccer Pathway.


A handful of players may follow the Canada Soccer Pathway’s EXCEL program all the way to a National Team or professional club, but LTPD is also designed for the 99% who won’t. It’s about giving everyone the best possible soccer experience every step of the way.


The fact that there are no standings for players under 12 does not translate into a lack of competitive spirit. When kids play in an environment where learning is put ahead of winning, they’re less afraid to make mistakes and more willing to take risks in order to try out the new skills they’ve learned during practice. They’re free to play their own best game without worrying they’ll be chastised for a poor match result.


WHEN CHILDREN LEARN THE RIGHT SKILLS AT THE RIGHT TIME — supported by a caring soccer community of parents, coaches, officials, and volunteers — they become more confident in their abilities and have a lot more fun. This means more of them will grow into healthy, active adults with a lifelong love of the game.