ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The Saint Louis FC Academy recently hosted over 60 players from affiliate and non-affiliate clubs for an invitational “Center of Excellence” event for the region’s youth clubs and players.
As part of the event, the players participated in two training sessions led by STLFC Academy staff, received lunch, and shared in educational presentations—all at no cost. Presentations were also given to the directors and coaches from various youth clubs across the region with information including an update on the U.S. Soccer landscape, the role of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, and plans for the future with both DA and non-DA clubs. A significant focus was placed on providing the club directors in attendance with insight into how they start developing their own unique soccer philosophy and long-term player development at their clubs.
“We not only want to establish a pathway for player development but also create that environment where we can educate the players, coaches, and parents,” said STLFC Academy Director Blake Decker. “Ultimately, we want to be different than what has typically dominated the youth soccer landscape. Instead of using our resources to hold down other organizations, we want to offer our resources and access to U.S. Soccer as a way to help other clubs grow more successful. In our vision, a rising tide lifts all boats.”
The session allowed players to see how the club trains its players, educated them on nutrition, and helped them establish a standard of play. The STLFC Academy staff also presented on the importance of the club’s core values, personal character and having a positive impact on the communities to which players belong, whether it be their schools, clubs or neighborhoods.
“We were really impressed with the quality of the players who participated in the session which is a testament to the work done by the clubs in our community as well as that of our scouting staff who identified the players invited,” said STLFC Academy Director of Scouting & U19 Coach Kevin Stoll. “We will continue to monitor these players over the coming months and years as well as provide ongoing support to local clubs in an effort to supplement the development of these players in their everyday environments. Perhaps some day, a few of the players in attendance at this event will play for our Academy.”
“We have a strategy in place at Saint Louis FC to become the club of the region and be a resource and partner for all the youth clubs in the region,” added Decker. “We want to change the culture in our soccer community to one of collaboration instead of competition, and this event was conceived, planned and executed with that goal in mind.”