benfica spirit

who we are

Benfica Soccer School, Washington, DC is a part of SL Benfica’s global network.

Benfica Soccer School, Washington, DC is a partner of SL Benfica’s worldwide network of soccer schools. Ranked the best youth system in the world in 2015, SL Benfica focuses on developing the best coaching methods, trainings, and community to develop players to their full potential.

As part of the SL Benfica network, our players and coaches employ the same methods and trainings used in Portugal. Player development is managed by residential staff from the SL Benfica’s youth coaching cadre and assistant coaches who are trained and mentored on the Benfica way - including spending time at Benfica’s academy in Lisbon.

Our club is headquarerted at Gallaudet University, where teams will play their home league games. There are two training locations - in Fairfax, VA, and College Park, MD - and players choose which of these locations will serve as their training location.

After three years of conducting clinics in the area, we are excited to launch a youth club starting in 2019. We will have club teams for boy and girl players of all ages.

For younger players, we have three ‘pre-travel’ programs:

Our “First Steps” program introduces three and four year old players to the game and basic soccer skills through fun games in five week programs that run throughout the year. Learn more [link to First Steps page]

Our “Pequeno” programs for five and six year olds focuses on building individual skills and comfort with the ball, with small sided games on the weekends during the fall and spring. Learn more [link to Pequeno page]

At ages seven and eight, players join “League Benfica,” where they continue to develop their soccer skills and learn to play with teammates on teams that stay together throughout the season. Learn more [link to League Benfica page]

Travel soccer begins at ages 9 and up, and players can try out to play on teams that will compete with other clubs in the region. Learn more [link to Travel page]

Regardless of age, our programs are developed and overseen by our residential coaches from Benfica - including practice sessions and games.

Who We Are

Benfica Academy DC is a world class youth soccer club with training clinics and team programs that cater to various age groups and skill levels. As part of the global network of Benfica Soccer Schools, we host coaches from SL Benfica’s youth academy in Portugal. These resident coaches will train players and assistant coaches to instill the Benfica system and philosophy here in Washington, DC.

where we are

We conduct Benfica Soccer School training sessions in three locations - Takoma Park, MD, Frederick, MD, and Fairfax County, VA and College Park/Silver Spring, MD. Benfica Academy DC (travel soccer) teams are based in Takoma Park, MD and Frederick, MD.

what we do

Sessions are high paced and challenging, while always appropriate to the age and skill level of the group. Practices often include multiple teams, with several coaches conducting and overseeing the session. Exercises combine technical skill training and tactical understanding, with a focus on developing ball mastery and the confidence to attack. Training programs are the same used by SL Benfica's academy and designed and overseen by SL Benfica's technical staff in Portugal.

who is it for?

We have programs for players ages 3-18. For younger players (ages 3-7) of all skill levels, we have affordable programs to introduce your child to soccer and help their early development. Starting at U9, players participate in our travel soccer program.

mission

Our mission is to help players excel by using the best coaching methods available in the world and conducting comprehensive training - systems that have made SL Benfica’s youth program one of the most successful in the world.

values

SL Benfica's values are built around the concept of "mistica benfica" — roughly translated as the 'Benfica Spirit.' We use the 'Benfica Spirit' to define the values we expect of club coaches and players.

vision

An inclusive soccer community that serves as the model for youth development in the Washington, DC region; built on developing excellence, providing opportunities, and instilling a life-long love of the game.

Coaches

The coaching staff is led by our residential SLB coaches, all UEFA licenced with years of experience in the Benfica youth system. They are working with our licensed and experienced American coaches to instill Benfica's training methods in the United States. Our coaches are evaluated on their performance in seven categories.

B

Belief

Coaches must instill in players the belief that they belong in the Benfica community and are capable of always improving. Coaches must believe that the club’s philosophies will, in the long term, help their players reach their full potential.

E

Education

The club supports all our coaches to improve through education. Our American coaches are sent to Portugal to learn directly from SL Benfica coaches at the youth academy in Lisbon. We also conduct regular coaches' meetings, where our staff can learn from each other and practice sessions and games are reviewed to improve coach performance. Coaches are evaluated on their soccer knowledge and their ability to share that knowledge with their players.

N

Nurture

Everyone at the club has a coach in our past who made a lifelong impact on us and we have a duty to pass that experience to the next generation. Our coaches must produce better people, not just better soccer players, by caring about individuals beyond simply their role on the field.

F

Focus

To maximize time with players, coaches will come prepared with a designed plan for practice and maintain their focus during the session on their players. They will develop team expectations about player behavior so that practices run crisply and distractions are minimized. As a club, we expect parents to respect this focus and allow coaches to run sessions and manage games without disruption.

I

Influence

Players learn best by discovering solutions themselves. Our coaches’ job is to influence the atmosphere so that players feel comfortable in exploring solutions (and dealing with the repeated failures that usually occur in that learning process) and to help direct players towards solutions when they get stuck. We expect to see the influence of our coaches in the mental and technical development of players and in increasing their love of the game.

C

Community

Benfica strives to not simply be a collection of soccer players and teams, but to build a community that supports and encourages youth development. Coaches are a key part of that. We expect them to build a strong dynamic within their team and encourage interest and support in the club.

A

Accountability

Development occurs when adversity is faced directly and overcome - a process that can be hard. Coaches will develop a culture of accountability within their team, where players support and respect each other. We will also maintain a culture of accountability in the club. Coaches and staff, with club support, are expected to hold themselves and their colleagues accountable.

coaches

Our coaches are supported and evaluated on 7 values.

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01
Belief

Coaches must instill in players the belief that they belong in the Benfica community and are capable of always improving. Coaches must believe that the club’s philosophies will, in the long term, help their players reach their full potential.

02
Education

The club supports all our coaches improve through education. Our American coaches are sent to Portugal to learn directly from S.L. Benfica coaches at the youth academy in Lisbon. We also conduct regular coaches meetings, where our staff can learn from each other and practice session and games are reviewed to improve coach performance. Coaches are evaluated on their soccer knowledge and their ability to share that knowledge with their players.

03
Nurture

Everyone at the club has a coach in our past who made a lifelong impact on us and we have a duty to pass that experience to the next generation. Our coaches must produce better people, not just better soccer players, by caring about individuals beyond simply their role on the field.

04
Focus

To maximize time with players, coaches will come prepared with a designed plan for practice and maintain their focus during the session on their players. As part of this, they will develop team expectations about player behavior so that practices run crisply and distractions are minimized. As a club, we expect parents to respect this focus and allow coaches to run sessions and manage games without disruption.

05
Influence

Players learn best by discovering solutions themselves. Our coaches’ job is to influence the atmosphere so that players feel comfortable in exploring solutions (and dealing with the repeated failures that usually occur in that learning process) and to help direct players towards solutions when they get stuck. We expect to see the influence of our coaches in the mental and technical development of players and in increasing their love of the g

06
Community

Benfica strives to not simply be a collection of soccer players and teams, but to build a community that supports and encourages youth development. Coaches are a key part of that. We expect them to build a strong dynamic within their team and encourage interest and support in the club.

07
Accountability

Development occurs when adversity is faced directly and overcome - a process that can be hard. Coaches will develop a culture of accountability within their team, where players support and respect each other. We will also maintain a culture of accountability in the club. Coaches and staff, with club support, are expected to hold themselves and their colleagues accountable

Players

Our goal is to help develop players into the best version of themselves — as people and as soccer players. Our training method focuses on skill development and tactical understanding so players have the ability to deal problems on the field. We also train players to respect themselves, each other, and the game. We focus on six traits of a player, looking for age appropriate development.

S
Skill

Comfort on the ball is fundamental to the game and essential to young players’ enjoyment. First touch, ball striking, dribbling, and defensive fundamentals are emphasized throughout the program.

P
Passion

Passion means different things at different ages. For our youngest players, passion is about having fun and developing a joy for the sport. As players get older, it’s fostering their love of the game and wanting to improve. As players reach their teens, passion should drive them to push themselves to get better and enjoy competition.

I
Intelligence

Soccer is a player’s game. While coaches can help players prepare and offer instruction, in games, players must be able to see plays develop and make their own decisions on how to react. Decision making, seeing the field, anticipating player movements, and understanding positional roles must all be developed as the player grows.

R
Resilience

Overcoming adversity is central to developing as a soccer player and as a person. Players need to be taught that failure is only permanent if you don’t learn from your mistakes. We encourage players to take risks, try new things, and understand that failing is always a part of getting better.

I
Innovation

Soccer frequently puts players into difficult and different situations. Players need the ability to innovate and find the right answer to those scenarios. Understanding how to combine their individual strengths with the needs and expectations of their teammates should allow them to design creative solutions and solve problems for themselves.

T
Team Spirit

Players will respect their teammates and coaches - as people and as players. As players develop mentally, they should transition from a self-centered view of the game to a mindset that stresses using their ability to help the team. As players mature, we expect them to provide a good example to younger players in the club and hope those younger players see role models they can aspire to become.

Players

Our goal is to help develop players into the best version of themselves — as people and as soccer players. Our training method focuses on skill development and tactical understanding so players have the ability to deal problems on the field. We also train players to respect themselves, each other, and the game. We focus on six traits of a player, looking for age appropriate development:

01
Skill

Comfort on the ball is fundamental to the game and essential to young players’ enjoyment. First touch, ball striking, dribbling, and defensive fundamentals are emphasized throughout the program.

02
Passion

Passion means different things at different ages. For our youngest players, passion is about having fun and developing a joy for the sport. As players get older, it’s fostering their love of the game and wanting to improve. As players reach their teens, passion should drive them to push themselves to get better and enjoy competition.

03
Intelligence

Soccer is a player’s game. While coaches can help players prepare and offer instruction, in games, players must be able to see plays develop and make their own decisions on how to react. Decision making, seeing the field, anticipating player movements, and understanding positional roles must all be developed as the player grows.

04
Resilience

Overcoming adversity is central to developing as a soccer player and as a person. Players need to be taught that failure is only permanent if you don’t learn from your mistakes. We encourage players to take risks, try new things, and understand that failing is always a part of getting better.

05
Innovative

Soccer frequently puts players into difficult and different situations. Players need the ability to innovate and find the right answer to those scenarios. Understanding how to combine their individual strengths with the needs and expectations of their teammates should allow them to design creative solutions and solve problems for themselves.

06
Team Spirit

Players will respect their teammates and coaches - as people and as players. As players develop mentally, they should transition from a self-centered view of the game to a mindset that stresses using their ability to help the team. As players mature, we expect them to provide a good example to younger players in the club and hope those younger players see role models they can aspire to become.

We encourage players to take risks, try new things, and understand that failing is always a part of getting better.