"The boys were very successful there [in Holland], and at that point we decided that they were ready to be assembled as a team this fall," said Smyrniotis.
The goal with all new teams playing for Sigma FC is to achieve a greater understanding of the Sigma way, which means playing an attractive brand of soccer based heavily on the Dutch training methods. According to Smyrniotis, the D1 squad has a pretty good head start towards these objectives.
"The most important thing with this group, and it is a good thing, is the core knows the way we want to play and the structure we want on the field."
"We are not talking about complex tactics, but rather things like playing out of our system," he said.
The Sigma training plan for this age group will also tackle some important technical development that the players will need to acquire.
"We still have two years left to instill motor development," explained Smyrniotis. "We try to provide them as much skill as possible."
But he quickly added, the D1 squad is already a skillful group. Their early success as a team bodes well for them this season and in the future.
"Coming together as a team at such a young age will only benefit them going forward, they will be able to advance in their tactics as a group, and as individuals, much greater than some of our older teams," said Smyrniotis.
"Basically when we look at their age group, we want to look at a set amount of games a year. We are looking, at this age to play, about 40-45 games in a season," he said.
"Of that we want to make sure a certain amount of those games are at a challenging level. We are not looking to play 40 games at the top level, what we are looking to do is mix that amount of games in with their training to get a ratio that gives us proper development. If you are looking at the best youth clubs in the world, they are not playing every game against the strongest competition [especially at the youngest ages]. We've put them in an age group, one year older in order to challenge them physically, which is important."
Quote: "Coming together as a team at such a young age will only benefit them going forward, they will be able to advance in their tactics as a group, and as individuals, much greater than some of our older teams."
SIGMA D1 (1997)