Why SSC Shadow?


Development comes first for every player in our training curriculum - The SSC Shadow Way
This is the high standard of play and development we teach, coach and develop in ALL of our players. When WE have the ball, we work to keep it as long as possible to increase our odds of scoring goals: a possession-based game. We CONTROL the ball in a variety of ways; keeping possession WITH our teammates, rather than kicking it without purpose. WE keep the ball under OUR control.

Possession = Development = The SSC Shadow Way!

Credibility - Our Technical Director oversees all areas of the club from its coaches to its operations. Learn more about our Technical Director.

Talent - A coaching staff, hand-picked with a wide variety and combination of coach licensing, collegiate players, collegiate coaching and tenured skills, all to be passed on to young soccer players. Our coaching staff is unrivaled in terms of soccer experience and coaching licensing.

A place for every player - Our "premier" teams are defined as ECNL RCL teams. These teams play at the highest level of competition in Washington state--the Regional Club League. Each of these teams are provided advanced level coaching and competition along with appropriate developmental challenges. Our Select Program is for the player seeking advancement from recreational play and development influences from the premier level. Learn more about our different programs:

  • U9/U10 Sounders Discovery Progam
  • U11 Premier and Selct Programs
  • U12 Premier and Select Programs
  • U13-U18 Premier & Select Programs

Variety - SSC Shadow players “graduate” from one coach to another. Emphasis lies at the feet of the player and not in coaches building teams for the coach’s sake. Just as in the classroom, it is important to expose players to a variety of coaches and teaching styles.

Success - SSC Shadow players consistently find success at the state and regional Olympic Development level, contribute significantly to their high school teams, and several move on to play at the collegiate level.


Simply put, SSC Shadow provides a level of competition no other club in our region can offer. Competitive play for the competitive player!

Appropriate Placement - SSC Shadow players are placed at the most challenging, yet, appropriate level for their age group. We won’t sacrifice your child’s safety or developmental success to win games.

All levels of play - U9/U10 developmentally appropriate training with players of similar abilities, U11 and U12 local league play to minimize travel, U13 and above play at the highest level Regional Club League (RCL).


SSC Shadow is a club both on and off the field - About 25 million Americans are playing so ccer, 80% are kids. Youth sports have big benefits both to participants and the community as a whole. Research links participation to better grades and self esteem, long-term improvements in education, employment and physical/mental health. SSC Shadow emphasizes the opportunity to promote and encourage well-being through soccer.

SSC Shadow provides a club of soccer not just teams - Early U9 and U10 programs to engage players in a higher level of instruction, opportunities for players to train with other players at other levels, opportunities for players to serve as mentors to younger players, coaches who collaborate and work with a variety of teams throughout the season.

Volunteers - We are a club who attracts hundreds of generous volunteers. From college coaches to teachers to business professionals to stay-at-home Moms, SSC Shadow brings and entire community of support together for your child. We look forward to you joining us!


Having fun is part of the game! - We emphasize enjoyment of the game at all levels for our hard working players. We also stress the importance of parents relaxing with this time in their child’s life to enjoy watching them play. It is play, after all!

"Soccer is a beautiful game because it belongs to us all," Coach Arsene Wenger famously states. "Across every continent, now more than ever, soccer is a common language and a culture shared … the game is at the heart of growing up, at the heart of life itself, for millions of children all over the world."


The SSC Shadow Way

As people, we all can recognize THAT something is good even though sometimes we can’t explain WHY it’s good. As Shadow parent, you’ve been told that we play soccer the right way and I’d wager that a huge majority of you agree. Some of you have opinions on why it’s the right way to play, some of you trust the club, and some of you may still seek clarification…

Why do we do what we do?

The SSC Shadow Way

SSC Shadow teams play a possession-oriented style of play that involves playing the ball in our defensive third to draw the opposition into our half and open up space in their defensive half of the field. Creating space in the opposition’s half allows us to use our technical skill, passing, dribbling, combining, to create goalscoring opportunities. We seek to dictate the tempo of play, stamp our authority on the game, and have faith in our ability to solve problems.


We want our players to be problem-solvers.

If we have a goal kick, throw-in, free kick, or the ball is in our goalkeeper’s hands, we look to play it short quickly. This helps us establish a rhythm in ball circulation, building our confidence with each touch on the ball, and places us in the driver’s seat. If our opponents deny us the chance to play short, there will be space elsewhere and our players will look for it. Our players will encounter these problems and solve them. Whether they succeed or fail in solving these problems, it’s very important to their development as players.


The word development is a buzz word in this country. When I use the word, I want to talk about a kid becoming a soccer player: Improving technical skill each day, experiencing new situations on the field, building confidence—this is what development means to me.

Our young players, specifically U11-14, are taught a certain way to play that is good for their development but very risky to the outcome of the match. Short goal kicks, playing your goalkeeper’s feet when being pressed, trying to connect four short passes in a crowded midfield, these are all risky and challenging tasks mid-match for young players to navigate. However, they’re also crucial to developing confident, capable players who are able to solve problems.

We look to teach the players the correct way to play and the kids love it. They believe in it and appreciate that we, as a club, believe in a style of play. It’s also important to recognize that young players lack the maturity to succeed in this (or any) style of play for 100 percent of a full game. They will make mistakes, individually and collectively, and with our style being so risky, they will lead to conceding goals which will impact the result of our matches.


We will lose matches implementing the SSC Shadow Way. We could win matches by playing territorial soccer—kicking the ball as far from our goal as possible, hoping for a mistake from our opposition, and pouncing. These results mean little to the development of a player because they’re not replicable in the long run nor do they contribute to long-term player development.

The result we are looking for is a clubwide style of play, implemented from top-to-bottom, that creates intelligent soccer players who are capable of achieving their goals both individually and collectively. Everything SSC Shadow teams do is with that goal in mind and, as a coach, it’s fantastic to be a part of this process at this club.

Thank you for all the patience and trust you place in our coaches and in the club. Long-term player development is a challenging road and with everyone—players, parents, coaches—working together we can literally accomplish anything.


Mike Pellicio
Director of Coaching
SSC Shadow and Spokane Sounders