Best Academy?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Shawn, Dec 5, 2015.

  1. TKBC

    TKBC Established Member

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    I do certainly agree we need alignment and collaboration. I honestly believe there should be a top level. If this is academy only, NFP only, or a mix of the two that will be determined by the talent these orgs put on the field and the level of coaching they can hire.

    But right now, it is BCSA themselves who have isolated the talent and alienated their community. They require kids to be on BCSPL to even have a shout at PTP and the Whitecaps require kids to be in BCSPL to then make their academy. Thus, they only want kids who can afford it. Then you have a BCSPL that claims to have standards, but the only one they somewhat enforce appears to be the coaching certification. Because, the training I've seen does not match the theory behind the league IMO.

    I definitely agree with the theory of BCSPL. Have coach standards. Have training guidelines. Have the best playing with the best. But when you force kids to play in that league to have a shot at provincial, national, Whitecaps etc you alienate folks because many can't afford it. There are MANY kids in MSL and Div 1 that are good enough for BCSPL that can't even consider it for financial/travel reasons. BCSPL itself is exclusive. Why is it so expensive? I've not seen numbers, but have heard from a very very reliable source who has that the percentage of the cheque parents write that goes to the coaching is very high. And definitely not always justified. And, if we are in it for the kids - the fees should be lower so the best can play with the best.
     
  2. TKBC

    TKBC Established Member

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    Private academies and BCSPL are absolutely trying to claim bragging rights for developing the most pro's etc. That's exactly what they are designed to do. There's nothing wrong with that. What's wrong is the pyramid ends at MSL - because BCSPL is a separate exclusive entity. But without being in BCSPL you have almost no chance at achieving anything in the sport in this province - unless you can walk on to a university/college team at one of their open trials, or you have a Euro or South Am passport and can arrange your own pro trials after high school.
     
  3. 4_the_kids

    4_the_kids Active Member

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    Last night I read an article on the TSS website about what role BCSA should be playing. While I don't agree with all of what was said it did change or open my perspective on a few things. As such I think two new threads should be opened, one What Role should BCSA play , and what role and where to private academies fit in.

    Elite Soccer programs is essential the technical staff of Surrey United, and its geared to both levels of play. Surrey United's BCSPL U13 Intake is run through this academy as well. On their home page it says ELITE is the official provider of developmental soccer programs
    of the Surrey United SC BC Soccer Premier League.
    Welcome to Elite Soccer Programs - Elite Soccer Programs

    I want to be clear that I never suggested these academies shouldn't exist, I offered that in my opinion given how things currently operate they maybe hurting overall development more than helping it.

    TKBC you suggest it is not the purpose of NFP (I assume by NFP you are referring to community clubs) to train elite national team players.
    I ask then who's purpose is it? If we leave to private business who operate to make money doesn't that now make such training even more exclusive? I maybe misunderstanding you though, as of course NFP wouldn't be training national team players , but they certainly play a role in the development of future players, no? Accessibility to programming is paramount , leaving such accessibility to academies who don't operate in every district doesn't improve it.

    Anyways I will open new threads to continue this conversation under more appropriate headings.
     
  4. TKBC

    TKBC Established Member

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    BCSPL kids are supposed to play for their own BCSPL team and no private academies. This is to ensure periodization is followed properly (then it's thrown out the window for PTP and national competitions but that's a different discussion). Are BCSPL teams following periodization properly? I don't know. I've seen and heard about plenty that weren't. But that's a very small sample size. My point is, if Surrey Utd is running it's intake teams through an academy, I am sure that's just fine because it's before the BCSPL is formally organized. BUT, is the TD then double dipping? Who is paying for that time? Are parents being charged twice? This raises a lot more questions than that. Are the lower level Surrey United teams helping fund this program? And so on and on and on.

    Nationa/pro level player development is and should be left to professionals. By this I mean full-time private academies, Whitecaps, Provincial Coaches. It's my position that the provincial program should become almost a year-long, regional program. Have many small "provincial teams" and have them coached by our full-time professional provincial coaches. Their job is to develop players for the next level - it's impossible for them to do that in the very short periods of time they have players. It takes years of dedicated time and development by trained, experienced coaches to develop into a pro or national level player.

    NFP's are simply not cut out to be developing this type of player. You have volunteer parents, mom and pops as assistant coaches, 1-2 practices a week, a TD that sees kids sporadically, and not on an intimate basis (meaning, large groups of players being coached by TD's at "academies"). The odd NFP team that has a more qualified coach still has to work with players that may be good enough for MSL, for example, but are still rec players with regards to their mentality. You then have talented players mixed with quite honestly kids who are way out of their depth and then sticking a pretend label on it "elite." Private academies attract serious players with a competitive mentality. I hate to compare, but look at Burnaby Winter Club or the Kelowna Winter Club and compare them to their counterparts in the NFP orgs. No contest. And, rightly so. The best coaches are at the academies. Let's be clear - no one in this province is "elite" outside of the Whitecaps. And, I say this because only the Whitecaps can compete with the top American academies such as NYRB or LAG. And even NYRB and LAG, by admission, are barely elite.

    We need to stop kidding ourselves. NFP's have no role in professional player or national player development.

    The issue then becomes "kids can't afford private academies." "there aren't enough private academies." "the private academies have no league to play in and only sporadically attend tournaments" and "bcsa forces teams playing the private academies in exhibition games to cancel those games". We're lost in this province and require a major major shift in thinking, and it's not going to happen. Part of me has always thought "the Americans are nuts, they have different governing bodies, leagues and a federation that has no control over them it seems like." But the other part of me says "but their academies have leagues to play in, and they are now starting to develop some very good players whether it be by fluke or design." (please note - USSDA is absolutely not elite. USSDA is a fancy league to develop college players at best. That MLS has teams in it is not a reflection of the development capabilities of the USSDA. It's a reflection of the MLS academies themselves - and they have often talked of leaving USSDA and creating yet another tier, above USSDA - and rightly so). There are very few private academies in Canada and USA that can compete.

    Sigma FC has done an exceptional, exceptional job. They should absolutely be the model in Canada.
     
  5. TKBC

    TKBC Established Member

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    And yes, private academies exclude players - same as BCSPL does. It costs money that many can't afford. But, if these academies were receiving compensation from Whitecaps or other pro clubs these costs would be reduced. This is standard practice around the world and thank goodness someone in USA is finally suing for this.

    I know there is a Canadian example as well of a team in Europe signing a kid. Sending over the compensation payment (six figures!) to the NFP without even a discussion, but as standard practice. This was of course kept very very quiet. The NFP rightly so put these funds right back into their NFP for their members. Word has started to get around and some American teams are suing MLS/USSF for the funds that MLS received, but the NFP did not when it was the NFP that spent the time/money developing the player.

    Think about if your NFP happened to develop a player for Whitecaps and Whitecaps provided the standard compensation fee - say, $25k for a 16 year old, or $10k for a 12 year old for example. Then think about further payment if the kid then signs an MLS contract. Then further payment for an appearance in MLS. Then further payment of the Whitecaps sell that player on for $100k and the NFP gets 5% of that. Think about all the equipment the NFP can buy, uniforms, hire coaches or put on additional training with that funds. Now think about all the savings that get in parents pockets. This is standard practice around the entire planet - except this backwater of the football world we call Canada and USA. For MLS to pocket that money is criminal. Go and look at how much money Gareth Bale's former clubs received right down to his home country in Wales. An extreme example, but an easy example to track down. And that was a standard compensation package that simply went to huge numbers because of how good he turned out.

    Think about if Orlando sells Larin to Europe. He does well then that team sells Larin to a bigger Euro team. Sigma (I think that was his club) would be receiving huge funds that can help reduce the costs of their programs so they can attract even more kids and develop even more players.
     
  6. TKBC

    TKBC Established Member

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    NFP's are wonderful. They are doing the best they can with what they have. But, they are rec whether they want to admit it or not. They are rec because of their membership, not because of the board. BCSPL is competitive, but it is not "professional player development". I've met far too many kids who play it because they want to compete against good players, but still have a very rec mentality. That's why I say our elite player development has to be the PTP, Whitecaps, and Academies. This would require expansion of PTP and require those PTP coaches to be far more active in the communities than they are. And I see nothing wrong with that.

    NFP's can still provide services, hire TD's, and try to develop players, absolutely. But we can't expect them to develop pro or national players - look at their track records in doing so to date! (and yes, I point the finger at myself - I am an NFP coach and haven't developed any pro's etc. But, I am a mid-level qualified coach, with a career and no ambition to be a pro coach. I am a rec coach no matter what certificate I have, or if I receive payment to coach).
     
  7. 4_the_kids

    4_the_kids Active Member

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    Well said, I agree completely on the provincial program, we need centers of excellence if you will, perhaps high level academies can play a role in that? In general all clubs,and even academies fail kids after U13 unless they are already in the "elite' stream.

    Personally i think private academies can assist NFP's with developing programs or even running development programs for the smaller clubs especially for the U6-U12 age groups, there is further opportunity in the U13-U18 age groups , especially at the more elite levels.



    Accessibility or affordability is another issue, a very important one as being an 'elite' level player should not require a high social economic status to support it. .

    Sigma FC is fantastic, and offer coaching development as well as player development, and assist clubs with team training programs.
     
  8. Xyfbx

    Xyfbx New Member

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    I am an older guy with a 2011 boy. We want him to do soccer and hockey. Starting off in local associations for both meant drills but no real scrimmages and fun. At 3 and 4 they already know there is a higher purpose, to put the ball/puck in the net.

    With hockey after the first year we switched to private training. We found that parent coaches cannot compete with professional coaches and if we are putting the time and money into it then why not go all the way.

    In soccer, we tried out Barcelona and Roman Tulis this summer and both are great. Barcelona is more flashy but he enjoyed both.

    We will try to go private for the next year or two in order to avoI'd hockey conflicts and to give him better instruction at the cost of game time. Without the private option it would not be possible.
     
  9. TKBC

    TKBC Established Member

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    One day I'll have a kid, and if there is a strong private academy option available it's quite likely my kid will train in an academy not an NFP club until about age 11-12....professional coaches vs. volunteer parents.
     
  10. 4_the_kids

    4_the_kids Active Member

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    The more and more I think about I see the private industry turning sport into a business and its a problem at all levels and all sports. Sports should be accessible for all regardless of social economics or geography. I live in Surrey work in Abbotsford , driving 2-3 days a week to TSS, Barcelona, Turis or wherever is not practical.
    We live in an age where parents are willing to spend any amounts of money to 'help' little Johnny on his way to the promise land. And unfortunately people have tapped into this.
    I would like to see a fact / stat on how many more athletes from private academies go onto to play professional soccer vs those that played in the NFP with no private training. I am willing to bet there is little to no increase ...
    Honestly at 3-7 years of age the best thing one can do is just let the kid play without any structure.. simulate free play as much as possible. Like the old days of street hockey ( which is dying and ruining hockey development as well- no creative players any more all manufactured machines).
    School yard games, games in the neighborhood, simulating that will have more value than any academy at this age, and save you thousands along the way.
    Personally I oppose the private academies, the perceived better coaching should be available at NFP clubs , accessible for all not just for those who can pay for it.

    I wish I could see a way the the private academy push the standard for all but i don't see it. We live in a world motivated by greed and aggression, these private academies are not out to improve the standard of soccer for Canada, they are out to make a boat load of money during a limited window of opportunity,

    Maybe if academies were part of elite development and restricted to elite players say U11 and up then I could see possible value. In this environment new professional coaches earn their wings in the NFP youth programs before making the bigger money in the elite development at the older ages..
     
  11. Xyfbx

    Xyfbx New Member

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    I agree that free play is the best, unfortunately the time of playing a neighborhood tourney against other streets for a trophy made out of coke cans is gone in the lower mainland. If it is not 'Chester the Child Molester' in his windowless van, it is some dummy driving like a maniac through residential streets or a bunch of creepy bums in the park, so kids don't go out unsupervised as much and we are all to busy working to survive and commuting all over the place to have the time to supervise them. So kids are left with play dates and organized sports.

    We want our son to learn strong fundamentals in whatever he does. We have no expectations of him becoming elite, just develop a love of some sports that he can continue to enjoy through life and learn the intangibles you get from playing a team sport. At his young age we are happy with the private academy once or twice a week and then we will add him back into a local soccer association when we figure it will be good for him and us.
     
  12. TKBC

    TKBC Established Member

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    -Even if you didn't work in Surrey but worked in Abbotsford I would suggest driving your child to an academy further than Langley or Chilliwack would be inappropriate.

    -Private academies do help, but it depends on your definition of help, and what your hopes/expectations are. Just go watch that documentary on netflix on investing in kids academy training! scary. I would put my kid in an academy because it is, likely, a more relaxed/skill-oriented environment and training from a more skilled/experienced coach. Not with the expectation my kid would go pro, or even on to University. Simply to help them achieve their potential.

    -3-7, yes free play! as often as possible.

    -the better coaches are at the academies because they want to make a career out of coaching that you can't typically get at an NFP. And, honestly, if you are good at something there's nothing wrong with wanting to be compensated for it, especially if you want that to be your career. (I am a coach at an NFP)

    -"elite" players are not developed by NFP's - or academies. But, NFP's typically have volunteers running those programs, which is the opposite of what kids need at the youngest ages. At the youngest ages they need the most knowledgeable coaches they can possibly be exposed to. Plus the "elite" players u11 up are in the BCSPL programs and those kids are not allowed to attend academies ;)
     
  13. 4_the_kids

    4_the_kids Active Member

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    So I guess the challenge is how can we help NFP's be more competitive in coach retention.So staff coaches can make a living at it?

    Agreed truly 'elite' players will be 'elite' regardless of where they play...
     
  14. Soccer_dude

    Soccer_dude Member

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    Sorry, but what does NFP stand for?
     
  15. Admin

    Admin Administrator

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    I think Not For Profit?
     
  16. WV1977

    WV1977 Member

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    I'm going to provide my thoughts on this topic and also go off topic a bit...and I’ll do it in bullet format for the sake of time


    Once again i'll preface these comments by saying I (1) grew up in a European country and soccer system (2) I have played at the youth national level (3) I have many contacts & friends in various European countries / clubs / agents (4) I presently have a 8 year old boy and 6 year old girl in the BC Soccer system


    1- I think we have to answer the fundamental questions of why these academies exist to start off with, are they filing a void that doesn't exist at the club level and why is there poor synergy between BC Soccer, the clubs and these academies? I'm not going to pretend to have all the answers cause I do not, however I will say i do support a local academy with my kids as I feel the level of discipline, training and technical coaching they receive is better than what is offered at the club level


    2- Why is technical development so important especially from the ages of 7-12? - Think of it this way. If i threw your kid into grade 5 or 6 without understanding reading, writing, math and peer interaction would she or he be successful? Probably not. In my opinion, and once again I’m not stating I’m right but in my opinion local clubs are decades behind in the model that has been passed down by the CSA in terms of LTPD. Now it’s getting better and for the 1st time in decades I believe for the most part we have a long-term strategic plan/vision that makes sense and will produce strong players that can compete up to and including the senior level but then again it will take time. While we have to craft our own soccer identity we should also be benchmarking and incorporating proven LTPD structures from other soccer nations and put other micro-level or personal interest aside (its a big ask).


    Examples#1: Let's look to Iceland’s (a country with a population of 317k) LTPD program to see what we can learn? Iceland got serious about soccer 20 years ago and had a top down approach to soccer and had a clear vision of where they were, what their strategic goals where in 5,10,15,20 years and what resources where required. Iceland does not allow NFP coaches and starting a the U8 level all coaches must be accredited as in no volunteer coaches


    Example#2: The International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) has been conducting the same study for the past 24 years. This past year report The International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) conducted a survey of Europe’s most competitive 31 leagues last year and found Ajax Amseterdam to be the most prolific, producing 69 players who had been coached at the Dutch club and went on to play in the world’s 10 biggest leagues. Four-times European champions Ajax were followed by Partizan Belgrade with 60 players, Hajduk Split with 55 players, and Barcelona with 53 players. Perhaps we should be benchmarking these programs and incorporating these strategies into the club system


    3-To an earlier comment that was made regarding the costs of these academies. Yes they are expensive. Yes they are profit centers but so are clubs (and in a very big way). But ask yourself this question? You cut a $100 cheque to the club (doesn’t matter what club it is in BC) how much of that $100 goes towards proper experienced coaching? If you do your homework you’ll come to find that large chunks go to BC Soccer, CSA, the district, insurance, etc and a very small amount goes to proper experienced coaching; whereas academies tend to funnel more money towards having “stronger” coaches at key age levels.


    4-To an earlier comment…The kids need to just play especially at a young age and unfortunately this is difficult to find these in the lower mainland. In part because kids are over-scheduled and also in part due to geography. At the U9 academy level in Europe instruction time is about 8 hrs including game time (compared to our 3hrs)…but then guess what? Kids pick-up a ball walk about 10mins and go play a pick-up game for another 2-3hrs on the weekend. No coaches, no rules, no drills…they get to be creative with the ball, try new skills and just play. Don’t underestimate the importance of this at an early age


    5- Even at the HPL level kids are still in private academies…we need to ask ourselves why if HPL is supposed to be the “best of the best”? Once again in large part I think it comes down to the technical aspects of the game I spoke to earlier and our current LTPD model


    Finally to end of my rant – my 8 year old asked me this question the other day. “what happens after HPL”. Think about that for a second. What was I going to tell him? Excluding the 3% that go play in the residency programs or universities the balance of our “best” kids have nowhere to play? We can call the VMSL premier league whatever we want (and there are fantastic players there) but until Canada forms its own league coast to coast where they can continue to hewn their skills along with our coaches we will continue to struggle at the international level past U17
     
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  17. CanadianSpur

    CanadianSpur Member

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    One of the biggest take-aways I get from this post is the importance of professional clubs. You highlight the number of players playing in top leagues that came from a select few professional clubs. This is what we are lacking in Canada. We need many more professional clubs developing talent. It doesn't matter if we are talking about private pay academies or NFP community clubs, they are not likely to produce the talent that the professional clubs of Europe produce no matter how much we want them to. We need the Canadian Professional League (or what ever it will be called) and we need each team in that league to have a fully professional academy. Even that wont be enough but it would be a start.
     
  18. Alex Streicek

    Alex Streicek New Member

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    Can not speak to all academies but the Whitecap academy has been fantastic:
    1. My kids have enjoyed program and developed fantastically with their help.
    2. consistent training program and curriculum, message
    3. Great leadership from leading coaches
    4. Cost effective
    5. Gets my kids out of their bubble and exposed to other kids. They still love their local club.
    6. program is new, improving, and morphing with the growth of MLS and Canadian game
    7. BOys and girls program has a very strong reputation confirmed by strong sources highly involved in US soccer
    8. Exposure to professional atmosphere and direction of Canadian soccer development

    A truly positive experience all around frankly and I hope all academies and clubs do well
     
  19. 4_the_kids

    4_the_kids Active Member

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    The challenge in having a Canadian league is our population is not big enough, too spread out over a country of 9300 km in length,. 35% of out population is in 3 cities ( greater area). What funds this league, who sponsors it.
    Hell we don't even have our own professional hockey league.
    Perhaps a junior model like the CHL might work, but we are talking about 6-8 team league at the most with little support or fan base...
    For now we need to lean on our three MLS teams, the USL is a good place for us to be developing Canadian players..
    As an example it would take roughly 2-3 million to operate a professional team, this is with a roster of up to 24 players making 40-60K each, plus training staff, administration, stadium , travel etc... If you had 20 home games you would need at least 5000 fans per game at an average ticket cost of $20.00 just to break even...any difference or profit is created through sponsorship , media , team sales etc... I hope I am wrong but this is the challenge for our own league as a see it.
     
  20. WV1977

    WV1977 Member

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    Canadian Spur - correct...and for the record I'm not apposed to the clubs educating our youth. In fact, I wish it would be the case. If the local clubs want to teach my 8 year old the proper mechanics of how to close down an attacking player, how to receive the ball away from pressure, how to properly lock your ankle and pass, how to move without the ball into space, how to hit a forward rolling ball properly and how to tackle then by all means. It would save me from driving to BBY 3X a week and spending a large amount of money but the majority don't or if they do they do not spend the proper amount of time perfecting those skills with the kids as our system doesn't allow us to

    Soccer at the youth level in Europe is competitive but yet very simple. Look at Croatia, Italy, Germany, Netherlands etc. Their youth development (7-12) is very simple. Passing, Shooting, movement without the ball, juggling, trapping and so forth. Its basic, its structured and its primarily technical in nature. Later they introduce decision making, speed, dictating tempo etc. Our present system is all mixed up and inconsistent

    Kids are not born with these skills. They are taught skills and they are ingrained through repetition in a fun and competitive environment

    Alex - Correct there would be large challenges to overcome and it would need to be properly funded (as it was and is in the US). Perhaps a regionalized structure (East / West) to minimize travel costs or something to that effect would work but either way I think we can all agree its needed. The Whitecaps reach can only do so much; its only 1 club and the MLS, USL etc..well they are american leagues through and through because the US recognized the importance of this
     

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