In an effort to help support the Seacoast United US Soccer Development Academy Program (USDAP), Seacoast United's Director of Soccer Iain Scott decided to restructure the Club’s boys’ program during the summer of 2014. The US Development Academy program is the highest level of soccer for boys in the United States with 80 member clubs, only 3 of which are located in the Northern New England area.
Recognizing the importance of home grown players, Scott repositioned his coaching staff to heavily impact the boys U10, U11, and U12 age groups and implemented a pool-style roster encouraging player movement between teams when a spike occurred in their development curve. This strategy has created a competitive environment on a weekly basis with players striving for improvement. Scott was joined by SUSC Boys’ Coaching Director Peter Decker and Super Y National Championship coach Ian Burgess, who has also coached three different teams to USYSA Regional finals, as well as some of the top younger coaches within the club in Dan Revis and Carl Smith.
“Placing the top coaches at the base of your pyramid is a well known strategy, but far too often coaches' egos prevent this from happening and clubs take the easy option placing them with the highest program within the club,” commented Scott.
The restructure has proven to be successful with the Seacoast United's Pre-Academy pool teams all winning the top divisions of the New England Premiership (NEP) League in which they participate. The NEP encompasses teams from all over the northeast region.
“Developing our own players is the key to future success within the US Soccer Development Academy Program,” Scott continued. “Many of the top players within New Hampshire and across New England tend to migrate to the US Development Academy after they turn 13 years old. We feel that although the best players within the Region are within the Club, by not making the step at a younger age means that they have missed out on so many developmental areas.”
The good news: The trend is changing. Out of the current 42 players in the Seacoast United Pre-Academy pools, more than 50% came through the Seacoast United Junior Academy program. The future goal is to have 75% of Seacoast United trained players on the U14 DAP roster.
Scott also noted that results are the last thing he looks at to gauge success.
“The emphasis is on long-term player development and style of play. The pleasing thing for me is that within these groups, the teams have dominated possession and have proven that you can play the right style of football and win games.”
Moving forward, Seacoast United looks to host tryouts for the Pre- Academy pools over the winter for the upcoming spring season to give more players access to the quality coaching the groups are currently receiving.
“The base of the pyramid is where all coaches have the biggest influence. To expose more young players to this environment is only going to benefit them as well as Seacoast United’s US Soccer Development Academy Program moving forward.”
For more on the US Development Academy program, click here.
If you are interested in joining the US Development Academy pathway, please contact SUSC Boys' Coaching Director Peter Decker by phone at 603.758.7119 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.