November 2016 issue of The Academy News,
a monthly newsletter from the SF Elite Academy
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IN THIS ISSUE:
As we wind down our fall season and begin a short winter break, it’s worth noting how far the Academy has come in only two years.
We now have 14 teams competing at the top levels of competitive youth soccer; we’ve launched the first and only US Soccer Development Academy in San Francisco; we’re sending a record 5 teams to the nationally-recognized Surf Cup College Showcase; we have several teams competing this weekend in the NorCal NPL Showcase where over 125 college coaches will be in attendance; and we have multiple teams that have either clinched division championships or are on the cusp of doing so.
And, of course, we’re just getting started. The Academy is working hard to expand the breadth of our programmatic support for players as well as our funding in order to further meet our commitment that no player be turned away for financial reasons. In just two years, we’ve already committed over $130,000 in financial aid and we will be doing more in the years ahead.
But, for now, let me emphasize just how proud we all our of our players, families, and coaches. As we continue forward, we will stick to the core values that have helped us build a truly unique and special player development program—respect, excellence, perseverance, and community.
Lastly, we will be announcing our winter training program shortly. For those who are away with high school play, we wish you the best of luck with your teams and a happy, healthy season.
Joe Dugan, President
I’m often asked by players about what they can do to help themselves in the college recruiting process. The first step is just getting out and looking at different colleges. There are basic considerations to be made: Do you want east coast, west coast, mountains or beaches? This is a decision only you can make! And it’s important to remember you are the one going to school there as opposed to your mom or dad or anyone else.
Honestly, you can begin evaluating colleges at just about any age, and initiating this process early in your sophomore year is a good start. Over the past five or so years, the recruiting process for soccer has really sped up, so the sooner you start thinking through the essentials of this process the better.
Another tip is to not plan more than 3-4 unofficial visits in a week. If you try to do more, everything you see, hear, and do will start to feel the same. So what do you once your on campus? Start by educating yourself and making sure you get a campus tour. And also contact the soccer coaching staff to see if someone can spend 10-15 minutes with you in order to share a little about the expectations of their program and academic demands."...you can begin evaluating colleges at just about any age, and initiating this process early in your sophomore year is a good start."
Of course, there is a lot more to learn: public universities and private universities can differ dramatically; the cost of a college education is substantial and may drive the determination of where you can go; class size differs between schools as well as overall enrollment numbers. As you look at different schools, you will start to gain more information and knowledge of each institution, and you will gain an informed picture of determining what kind of school you want to attend. From there, you will be ready to take the next step to find out if the school’s soccer program is interested in you, which is a subject I will speak about soon at our upcoming Academy College Night in February.
Jim Millinder, Girls Director of Coaching
AROUND THE ACADEMY
Tryout Window Approaching
While some discussion remains across the city about a viable tryout window and process for accepting player registrations for the 2017-2018 playing season, The Academy is allowing interested players and families to fill out our prospective player form online at www.SFEA.org. Filling out the form now will allow us to be in touch when tryout dates, times, and locations are finalized.
Cultivation Event to Support Our Funding Campaign
We would like to warmly thank Courtney and Seth Dallaire (USDA U12 Parents) for hosting a Cultivation Event for several families in the club as well as prospective parents. Joe Dugan and Eddie Soto described in great detail the inception of The Academy, the overarching pillars of success and the club’s mission and philosophy on coaching and player development, as well as efforts toward outreach and inclusion. It was a great evening of introduction to our capital campaign with astute questions, fantastic dialogue, and amazing insights into The Academy. Our goal is to get full participation from the San Francisco Elite Academy community in the campaign's efforts. Individual meetings are occurring and Foundation grant proposals are in the queue. Anyone who would like to be involved in the campaign please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Few Team Updates
The following teams are heading to the Fall NPL Showcase this weekend…2001 Boys, 2000 Boys, 1998 Boys, 2002 Girls, 2001 Girls…the 2002 Boys clinched their NPL 2 division this weekend with two late goals to secure a 3-1 win over MVLA…the 2001 Boys can clinch their NPL division with a win and a tie at the showcase…2002 Girls got a hard-fought, 1-0 win last weekend against DeAnza North…the 2001 Girls are in 3rd place in NPL 1 and have a big game this weekend against Force 01G ECNL who sit atop the table…the 2003 Girls NorCal team has locked up second place in NorCal Premier Gold after a great 7-2-1 season.
ACADEMY COACHING PROFILE
2000 Boys & 2002 Girls Head Soccer Coach, SF Elite Academy
What do you feel makes a great soccer coach?
What makes a great soccer coach is communication and understanding that every decision we make as coaches has an impact. There are so many coaches out there with an amazing understanding of the game, but the best ones can communicate clearly to the players the techniques of the game and offer different ways to solve the problems the game provides. It is also critical that coaches understand that every decision has an impact on a player. The best coaches make decisions purposely, skillfully, and with the team’s best interest in mind.
What is your soccer and/or player development philosophy?
My soccer philosophy is that proper technique leads to a greater number of positive outcomes. I do truly believe that their are numerous solutions to every soccer problem a player confronts on the field. The quicker a player can digest what touch is needed and how to do it, the more effectively they can move on to what pass, dribble or shot to execute. The better a player is at using both feet (and all the surfaces of those feet) the more options they will have and the more creative they will play. In the end, it’s the creative players that can make a unique decision and keep the game simple, which is a goal for any player and team.
Why do you work with players at the SF Elite Academy?
I think SF Elite Academy is huge for the city. It has brought together the best players and the best coaches. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that! On top of the amazing environment, I work with the players because I want to match their thirst and energy for soccer and make them keep wanting to learn more and more. It is this search for the "more" that I think each SF Elite Academy player has; and, as a coach, it is a huge motivator for me each and every day.
Who was/is your favorite soccer player?
I get this question all the time, and it might sound cliché, but my favorite player is Zinedine Zidane. I was able to go to France for the 98 World Cup and watch Zidane in person. It changed how I viewed the game. His ability to see the field, his first touch, and his weight of his passes opened up passing angles I had never seen before. He controlled the game from start to finish, all while being able to score some of the most amazing goal ever scored.
Who was/is your favorite soccer coach?
My favorite coach would be Pep Guardiola. He understand the game better than most of his contemporaries, and builds a culture of creating angles and opportunities through movement and passing.
What's been your favorite moment as a soccer coach?
It is hard to pick just one moment. I would say what brings me the most joy is to see the large numbers of players that I have coached or interacted with throughout my coaching years in San Francisco and with the SF Elite Academy. It is great to see these players’ development, and to watch how they have matured as players and people. Seeing them on the field, in practices or games, reaffirms why I decided to coach—to not only develop a players ability but also their passion so that they can reach the highest levels of soccer.
TIPS FOR PARENTS: CHOOSING SOCCER CLEATS
One of the beautiful things about soccer is the lack of equipment needed to participate in the game. Perhaps the one key piece (beyond a ball) that most players in structured play require is that which they use to manipulate the ball—soccer cleats. Any parent can tell you they’ve seen the price of soccer cleats skyrocket over the last several years as a dizzying array of brands, styles, types and looks get marketed aggressively to a worldwide consumer. And, as most coaches will tell you, the soccer cleat should be an important consideration for your player athlete. Unfortunately, there are countless examples of players developing repetitive use injuries that can be traced back directly to their choice of footwear on the field.
Start by thinking about where your player will use their soccer cleats. Will they be playing primarily on hard ground, soft grass, or field turf? There are different types geared for all of these surfaces, most offer a different kind of stud on the bottom to provide the ideal traction for the paying surface. However, as you will quickly notice, these studs can vary too—from blade-style patters to the rounded nubs that were once the only thing on the market to something in between. The idea behind these variations is better performance (traction and balance) on different surfaces. Nonetheless, these variations often affect stability in the shoe and abrupt changes in cleat style and/or pattern can take a player a little time to get used to. It’s important the player feel comfortable, confident and balanced; otherwise, they are only increasing the risk of injury and the possibility of a rolled ankle or worse.
Another consideration is the material. For some players this is driven by comfort; for others it’s about longevity of the shoe and/or cost. Again, the proper thinking should be about fit and stability so that the player essentially forgets about their cleats. If something in the cleat isn’t right or is drawing a player’s attention away from the game, find another pair.
Lastly, a portion of the soccer cleat often overlooked—yet important—is the insole. Some are attached and some are removable. For many, a removable insole is critical, especially if the player wants to use orthotics (prescribed or over-the-counter) in order to increase support or otherwise improve their movement dynamics. And one big advantage of removing an insole is that a player can get a close look at just what and where their foot is supposed to ride during play. If they are looking at a narrow sole, consider if their foot will be properly supported and likely to pronate or supinate during play. Of course, if you and your player have significant concerns, possible repetitive use injuries, or just want to learn more, please consult your physical for guidance and help.
Some final thoughts on cleats:
For more information please see: http://www.soccer.com/guide/soccer-shoe-guide/
Copyright © 2016, SF Elite Academy, All rights reserved.
The SF Elite Academy
Our mission is to provide an elite level program for soccer players in San Francisco.