Private Academy Integration

Discussion in 'Youth Leagues & Cups' started by LosBlancos, Aug 17, 2017.

Should private academies be recognized and incorporated into BC Soccer?

  1. Yes

  2. No

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  1. LosBlancos

    LosBlancos Member

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    Hey everyone.

    First time poster, but this has been on my mind for a while and wanted to bring it up here. Jason DeVos seems to support the idea of private academies and integrating them into the provincial programs. In Ontario the have their club league and a newly formed academy league with crossover in tournaments/showcase games. Academies have been accepted as now being full members of OSA. The same has now happened in Saskatchewan, with academies being accepted as full members this past spring.

    My son recently attended a FCB Escola camp at Fortius and BC Soccer's Luca Dalla Pace was there so I asked him about DeVos's thoughts on private academies. He pointed out to the pitch and said "You think they're here to improve Canadian soccer players? No, they're here to make money." I wanted to take him to task on that answer, since I truly disagreed, but left it at that and moved on.

    Yes, I know private academies are here to make money, they are businesses and as such need money to continue, but not here to improve Canadian soccer? I call total BS on this. Ninety-five percent of our kids receive coaching from parents with little to no soccer experience. What was provided at FCB Escola is definitely at a higher level then what is received in most clubs by most players. The academies have an ideology, and strive to teach that ideology through semi-qualified coaches under the guidance of their technical director. The same can be said for the Whitecaps, and other academies like Faly, Africa United, Premier SA, TSS, do the same thing. On average, your paying more to get more in terms of coaching. But to say they're not trying to improve Canadian soccer is total rhetoric and serves to further whatever agenda BC Soccer is selling. Is this to protect BCSPL? Is this to protect some club TD's that bring in massive paychecks? I really don't understand this approach and thought process, it's extremely short sighted and reeks of an old boys club. Having a BCSoccer sanctioned academy league with private academies only serves to offer more choices and improve coaching/training? Having this as another ladder to provincial teams/residency only helps improve soccer in this province?

    Can somebody please help in explaining why the resistance? After lurking here for many months, it seems that there a few things that leave a bitter taste in posters mouths about BC Soccer including the setup of BCSPL, and the limit of player opportunities outside of this league. Wouldn't this help grow our sport instead?

    Thanks
     
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  2. Admin

    Admin Administrator

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    Great first post @LosBlancos - welcome to the site!

    I pretty much agree with your line of thinking / questioning... and I consider LDP a friend :)

    BC Soccer is a business in it's own right, the difference being that EVERY single player in the province is forced to pay into their "system" while private academies have to go and sell their services.

    Would LDP still be doing what he does full-time if BC Soccer didn't have any funds? I think not.

    So then we get to development of coaches and whatnot... if we get to a point of having a plethora of QUALIFIED coaches in this province, where are they going to go? Isn't it in the best interests of Canada Soccer that - like progressing players - they have a place to go in order to continue their development at progressive higher levels AND share their coaching expertise and skills to a larger pool of players? BC Soccer can only have so many coaches and teams within their own "system".

    Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017
  3. TKBC

    TKBC Established Member

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    I believe they should be integrated into the system like everyone else. Our kids deserve the best coaching possible - people who are running an academy full-time and have made this their career likely are superior coaches to what the local NFP club can provide.

    If BCSA really wanted what's best for kids they would overhaul the system - the provincial coaches would be connecting with everyone. Mentoring on the ground, coaches of every level, providing oversight to every club to achieve the same goal. Fees for BCSPL would be drastically reduced. Coach education forums would be free (or very low cost), and provided on a regular basis, BCSA would provide coach education online in a variety of formats.

    If BCSA wanted what was best for its kids developments they would ensure standards are being met at every level, not just BCSPL (and are they really ensuring that standards are being met there? from what I hear, no they aren't).

    Right now academies would be in a difficult spot if they were to be entered into the regular system. They tend to draw kids from a variety of locations which means they can't satisfy the requirements of a league (too many out of district players). So they are required to enter BCSPL (which isn't possible, at least not today) - or create their own league (TSS tried this and the door was slammed shut promptly).

    Results aside, our BC team recently only had 1 all-star at the Canada Games. Our national program representation is treading water at best. We have zero homegrown players in the Whitecaps first team, and our USL team is struggling for results (though tbf it's a very young team - not sure how young compared to the opposition though).

    What we are doing is clearly not working. How can we afford to essentially freeze out some of our best coaches? I realize some will say "join a local NFP and get involved if you want to help." They may have a point for some of the academy coaches, but some of these academy guys are making a livelihood via their academy so what about them? They are expected to stop pursuing their chosen line of work to earn a measly honorarium and return to the regular work force (which many have no training to enter or the training they do have has no employment opportunities here in the Lower Mainland)?
     
  4. Soccer-dad-NV

    Soccer-dad-NV Member

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    I too think the rules should change. Open up and see what happens. Let the best rise to the top. Let the chips fall where they may. The argument from those involved in BC Soccer is always that academies are just in it for the money. Of course they need to make money to paid for coaches etc. Obviously academies are doing something right if so many parents/players choose to join. My son enjoyed it , had fun and his skills improved. Thats the point right?
    I know of at least two very good players quiting BCHPL and going back to their academies only. If this is happening at one Premier club in one age group I can only imagine how many others are doing the same in BC. Once they leave the current BC Soccer pathway they are more or less done representing thier Province or Country which is a shame.
     
  5. TKBC

    TKBC Established Member

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    If by "in it for the money" they mean "trying to earn a living teaching a game they love" then I'd agree with that ;)

    I know should I have a child that is of the standard of BCSPL and we are living where we are currently at that point we will not be putting the kid in the BCSPL (if the franchises are still located where they are). The kid will play on the highest local level and enter academies. I know of so many tales of kids playing metro or lower still going on the university that the idea of paying all those funds to BCSPL to get the same outcome makes zero sense. Keeping in mind there's a lot of commuting involved (based on where we live and the franchises) so that's time away from homework, friends....and just being a kid. No thanks. On top of all that I hear, quite frankly, what I'd describe has horror stories re: BCSPL. I hear of course also of wonderful stories and experiences. If we lived directly in a city with BCSPL quite likely I'd think differently.....again though depending on cost/benefit.

    To be clear, I do my best as a coach to help the players achieve the level they want - if they want BCSPL or more I do my very best to help them achieve that goal.
     
  6. Alex Polevoy

    Alex Polevoy Member

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    BC Soccer as well every non profit club that set up in the lower main land, become profit center for families that run it historically, RE : President of the club, his friends on the board, and a lot of time poorly qualified TD with good pay check. They get preference from districts on fields and costs, and then have only responsibility to collect money and spent full budget. None of the clubs have any accountability or any competition that will drive them to successes or even measure their performance. BC Soccer receives money from clubs and have no interest in changing anything, as it is filed with quasi government bureaucrats that are there forever. The end result is very clear and easy measured, One Place in Canada that can have year round football, develop players, has football as the most popular sport for young kids, but can not develop players and change attitude with districts and government bodies that better development in this sport can be a good solution to keep youth healthy and occupied, and that is is worth fro the government to invest in the sports development, with new fields and funding for organizations to hire professional coaching, and get results for the country and community. Academies are measured and are driven by competition, and not allowing them to compete hurting kids, and does nothing to develop game and players, clubs are just afraid that parents will be taking their money where their kids better result and training, Good, it is called competition, that will lead to better results. I would take my younger only to academies, as there is nothing but damage that can be done, by (all with good intention) ex hockey playing dad, that will be teaching 6-8 years old how to stop and pass the ball and other touch skills that are fundamental at this age.
     
  7. Alex Polevoy

    Alex Polevoy Member

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    One of the best examples on how to do academy is Blaise Academy, produces one hell of players, and program. And simply registered team with Men's division to give kids chance to play and compete after they are ready, so 15 - 16 and up. Bypassed BC of BC soccer in one move.
     
  8. TKBC

    TKBC Established Member

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    Presidents/board members can't collect pay cheques and also have voting rights. It's a conflict of interest. There can be non-voting board members that do receive pay cheques (ie, TD).
     
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  9. TKBC

    TKBC Established Member

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    Wish we had a structured academy league system running concurrent with NFP league system.
     
  10. Nate

    Nate Member

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    OP, thanks for bringing this topic up. I agree 100%. As a parent that had never played soccer seeing my own child find passion and success in the game motivates me to find him the best coaching / academy that will further his skills.

    I don't consider the practice sessions put on by the local club sufficient in developing a player. My son in U8 this year has attended a few academies thus far and there is a remarkable difference in his skill development because of the professional coaching.

    My exact feedback to FCB Escola is I had wish they would play against other BC Soccer clubs / schools.
     
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  11. TKBC

    TKBC Established Member

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    Although not "the same" I see no real reason the academies can't all communicate and develop their own exhibition calendar. Imagine the possibilities they could build-in? Jamboreers, weekend long tournaments, week-long tournaments, "cups" that go all season like champs league, exhibition one-offs etc....

    Other than desire to do so, does anyone know why it doesn't happen?
     
  12. Admin

    Admin Administrator

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    Field allocation challenges maybe?
     
  13. TKBC

    TKBC Established Member

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    maybe ... likely!
     
  14. Fil66

    Fil66 Member

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    Field availability might be an issue but in my opinion, the big reason is the cost. From experience, most kids, especially at the young age, play soccer because it's affordable and you're not getting up at 6 am like hockey. And to be honest, my kid has done both the Whitecaps and Fusion Academies and for the cost, his development wasn't much better than his last two club coaches. He plays at a gold 1 level and the coaching we've had for the last 4 years has been great, especially the last season. With league fees already going so high, I can't justify spending $300 - $500 more per year on the chance that he may get better coaching. Anyone can spend the money and take their coaching courses and get paid at an academy. Does that make them a better coach than average joe parent that's coaching their kids team, maybe, but maybe not. Just from the experience we have had with both the Whitecaps and Fusion, he's getting better coaching with his club coach. He enjoyed his last few seasons with his current coach so much so that when Metro tryouts were being posted he had no interest. That may not be the case in all situations but over the last two seasons especially, the coaches I've seen on other Gold 1 level teams has been pretty good and at a fraction of the cost it would be on an academy team.
     
  15. TKBC

    TKBC Established Member

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    I would argue the statement "anyone can take their coaching courses and get paid at an academy." Anyone can start an academy, yes. If the quality isn't there, customers won't sign up. But, if someone applies for a job at an existing academy (thus owned and operated by someone else) they had better meet their employers standards or they will be fired.

    You may have had an excellent Gold coach and at the level of a private academy coach - it certainly does happen. But it would be a minority experience, certainly.

    Most academy teams are better than Gold teams as well. The reason for this is kids who sign-up for academy generally are more serious than Gold teams. The level of training competition is higher, the coaching is good, and thus the player improves at a more rapid rate than Gold teams. Academy coaches also can take the time to truly train the players with no rush for results - some coaches certainly feel pressure to produce results whether that's internal, or external pressure.

    No doubt some academies have less than ideal coaching - same goes for any business. Some are better than others. Same goes for NFP's. Metro-Ford, for example, clearly have a plethora of talented coaches that compete against other clubs who don't have that same level of coaching available.

    Re: Whitecaps and Fusion - generally those coaches are pretty good. They aren't world beaters, they aren't generally professional level. They are people with soccer knowledge, an enjoyment for the game....but also have the TIME to commit to those programs. I know a guy who coached at Whitecaps for a little while but the time simply wasn't there long term and they had to walk away. FC Edmonton is providing an academy coach mentor program - but it's running from about 4pm each day. How many coaches will be available at 4pm? They are reducing the number of applicants from who may be excellent from the get-go. I mentioned this to the Academy director but they ignored it. All they would have to do is move their start times back to 5:30? 6:00? They'd get more applicants, for example. So what will happen is there will be coaches in the community just as good as those FCE coaches simply due to availability.

    For the record, I coach at a NFP and have no interest in MSL, academy, BCSPL etc (lol, though who knows if I have the skill to coach at those levels! ...). I have no child in the club or on my team.
     
  16. Fil66

    Fil66 Member

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    All very good points but as far as your first paragraph goes, I don't completely agree with that. I googled all the coaches he had at Fusion and Whitecaps and sure, most had some sort of high level, college or professional playing or coaching experience. But one at fusion and two at the Whitecaps had no soccer experience other than B National coach certification. Can't recall their names as this was two and three years ago. Also, with the Whitecaps, it was never the same coach for more than 2-3 sessions in a row. That made the training very inconsistent. Maybe that's a one off situation but I was kind of surprised by this when I'm paying that kind of money to get him a higher level of coaching. And not all the kids were high level players, there were kids at both that were at best, silver level players. After a year at Whitecaps and a year at Fusion we've got him training with a local guy that runs two sessions a week with a max of 5-6 players and his improvement since doing that has been vastly greater than the time with academies and at a fraction of the cost. Granted, at the academies it's 15-16 kids in a group so what he's doing now is way more focused, more touches on the ball etc. and I'm sure that's part of the reason.

    And we've been very lucky with our coaching the last 3-4 years, his current coach has helped his playing tremendously. So much so that he turned down the option to try out for Metro because he wanted to stay with this coach and I have no issue with that. I believe, granted I'm a little biased, that he should be playing Metro but applaud his option to stay at a lower level because he's happy where he is.

    I'm not totally against academies and at a higher level, they're probably good but my experience with them has left a pretty sour taste. If he decides he wants to go that route again, I would definitely do a lot more research this time.
     

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  17. LosBlancos

    LosBlancos Member

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    Thanks everyone for the replies. Interesting reading. A few things come to mind as I have gone through these posts.

    @Fil66 you are incredibly lucky, most kids have coaches that are parents and they tend to have very little experience in terms of teaching or even playing. My son is also incredibly blessed in that he is coached by someone that is very knowledgeable and is absolutely outstanding and has been recognized in the past as Coach of the Year. But my son is in the minority with his current situation. Recently my son was offered a spot on the FCB High Performance team that we turned down. What he receives from his current setup is better than I could get pretty much anywhere else in the province. But having that option and hearing from the FCB TD Alex that they try and play games every weekend against other academies/clubs certainly gave me pause to think about it, and I truly think they're setup is better then what is mostly available in clubs. If an academy league was in place, perhaps that might have changed my mind.

    @Admin @TKBC it is very interesting to read your thoughts and points of view. This reminds me of what I experienced a few years back in BMX. CyclingBC runs BMX in this province but a US company called BMXCanada runs their own series here as well. BMXCanada runs better races, gets larger turnouts, gets faster, more competitive riders from the US to attend and now operates 18 of the 21 tracks in the province. Your BMXCanada licence allows you to also race anywhere in the USA. CyclingBC has 3 tracks, all in Vancouver, gets government funding, forces riders to go through their series to get qualified for funding and refuses to work with BMXCanada, but they have UCI recognition in this country. Their National Championships were held in Alberta recently and they had 1/3 the numbers of a BMXCanada Series race and at most 50 riders from out of province whereas you'll have 100-150 riders from the US/out of province with the American race series. The most intelligent move which was fought for constantly was to let CyclingBC run rider development and let BMXCanada run the races, with larger gates and more competitive riders give the kids the chance to have harder competition. The common argument from the minority that were embedded in CyclingBC and controlled their actions was that the US corporation wasn't here to make better riders, they were just stealing money from CyclingBC and eventually you would have to come to them if you wanted to get funding, be part of the provincial program and eventually the national program. Man that sounds very familiar to some points made above.
     
  18. TKBC

    TKBC Established Member

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    Inconsistent training would be a concern, I agree with that.

    Coaches with B National do have experience. They would have had to meet the application requirements to be accepted.

    Indeed - at academies you can get a mix of players. Pay to play. But you will also get this at Gold, MSL, BCSPL....every level in this province relies upon whoever tries out (except Whitecaps and PTP which invite specific players) thus each level will have varied level of skill within each team.

    Glad you found a local coach that works for your kid. The reality is - that's what is important. Everyone has a different path - it's unfortunate BCSA doesn't seem to agree with that.

    It's so nice to hear you support your kid playing where he is happy. That may sound obvious to you, but it's not obvious to all.
     
  19. TKBC

    TKBC Established Member

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    The BMX scenario sounds good, but such a small percentage of Americans have passports that soccer teams rarely come up here because they wouldn't be able to bring their entire squad. Whereas in BMX they know specifically they are signing up as individuals and are going to cross the border so they get their passports arranged.
     
  20. LosBlancos

    LosBlancos Member

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    The BMX scenario is terrible, it's CyclingBC (same as BCSA) dictating what happens when there are other products that are better. I think you've mis-understood my post.
     

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