Mental Health and Performance


At YSC Academy we provide Cognitive and Neurocognitive Strategies for Elite Student-Athletes.  

Our curated Mental Health and Performance resources are designed for elite soccer athletes aiming to excel both on the pitch and in the classroom. Students will explore how these strategies enhance performance in both domains and gain insights into mental health, wellness, nutrition, and sleep for holistic development.

On the Pitch – Cognitive Strategies for Soccer Performance

  • Cognitive Awareness in Soccer
  • Game Intelligence
  • Speed of Thought and Reaction Time
  • Memory Enhancement for Soccer

In the Classroom – Cognitive Strategies for Academic Excellence

  • Executive Functioning Skills
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Study Techniques and Time Management

Off the Pitch – High Performance 

  • Mental Health and Wellness
  • Nutrition for Performance
  • Sleep and Recovery


Mental health education and awareness is vital for every adolescent. Our small school size and our Mentor system provide close adult relationships, and help prevent our students from falling through the cracks; our boys are known and feel cared about. In addition, we bring in local experts to educate the boys about mental health issues, including how to ask for help for themselves or others. The nationally recognized Say2Safe program “teaches youth and adults how to recognize warning signs and signals, especially within social media, of individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others and say something,” by using their anonymous reporting system. In the event a student is struggling with a mental health issue, we have a network of professionals we can recommend to get him the specialized care and guidance he may need.


Healthy sleep routines and nutrition-rich eating habits are vital for our students to excel in all aspects of their lives. Philadelphia Union Head of Academy Performance & Development, Efthymios Kyprianou, presents our students with current research on what our young scholar-athletes need to keep their bodies and minds fit and nimble. Using a mix of lecture and individual discussions, he helps ensure that our students are prepared to take ownership of keeping themselves well-rested and properly fed.


We offer a sport psychology focus for our middle and high school students. Lauren Ruhl, our Mental Health and Performance Counselor, focuses on the importance of mental skills training optimizing athletic performance. Lauren’s small group sessions will occur at scheduled times through the year and include topics such as:

  •   Stress Response/Stress Management
  •   Relaxation/Breathing Techniques
  •   Mindfulness Training
  •   Identity/Values Development
  •   Self-Awareness and Self-Talk Strategies
  •   Focusing on Controllables
  •   Emotional Awareness/Emotional Vulnerability
  •   Goal Setting and Reflection