Expanded USS Development Academy for Boys and Girls; Partnerships with Reign and Sounders; Improved Curriculum; Same Great Coaching
(Apr 12, 2017) Soccer in the US has been undergoing radical transformation to raise the level of the game, fueled by the game’s increasing popularity at the pro level and greatly enabled by replicating best practices worldwide. No matter where you turn, you will see changes in youth soccer, many of which have been reinforced by US Soccer through its Development Academy where its initiatives are designed to improve player skill, intelligence, and health and safety.
Many of these changes are overdue, and we are encouraged that the changes put the safety and development of our youth players first, especially:
Shifting the emphasis to “individual player development over winning trophies and titles;” (Winning, or having a good chance at winning, is an outcome of good player development.)
Optimizing the game-to-training ratio to ensure players get adequate rest, and playing fewer total, but more meaningful, games overall; and
Placing a greater emphasis on quality instruction and professional coaching at the youth level.
The transition for Eastside FC has been straightforward as our philosophy, organization and curriculum incorporated many of these initiatives and ideals early on. Fortunately, we have always chosen to think longer term about player development and create opportunities for our players through to the highest levels. We take pride in the quality of our coaching, our strong links to Washington’s professional soccer community, the number of our players who move on to the college game and who get access to national team opportunities, and our history of developing youth players who play great soccer.
The shift in US Soccer has been encouraging for Eastside FC, making it possible to build on the club’s strong history of player development and elevate our own game. Our club’s partnership with the Seattle Sounders FC, the expansion of our boy’s US Soccer Development Academy to U12 through U14 in 2017, and the addition of a partnership with Seattle Reign FC to provide for our girls opportunities through the Reign Development Academy, and our ongoing commitment to great coaching mean sky’s the limit for our players.
Here’s what’s new at Eastside FC:
Partnerships with Seattle Sounders FC and Reign FC: Eastside FC has formalized partnerships with Seattle Sounders FC (MLS) and Reign FC (NWSL) to provide visibility and opportunities for our players through to the MLS, NWSL and US Soccer. By working with the Sounders and Reign organizations, the club has chosen not to go it alone, but to leverage the technology, techniques, curriculum and resources developed by professional soccer, while simultaneously creating pathways and connections for our coaches and players.
Expanded Development Academy for Boys: Beyond our initial U12 Development Academy offering in 2016, Eastside FC will be expanding its US Soccer Development Academy teams for boys to include U12 (2006), U13 (2005) and U14 (2004) this 2017-2018 season.
Development Academy for Girls: Eastside FC and Preston Fields will be home to Eastside / Reign FC Pre-Academy teams for girls at U12 (2006) and U13 (2005), and for Eastside / Reign FC Development Academy 2 teams at U14 (2004), U15 (2003), U16 (2002), U17 (2001) and U18/19 (2000/1999). Top players in the U14 - U18/19 age groups will be eligible for Reign Development Academy teams through our partnership with Seattle United and Reign Development Academy.
Improved Soccer Curriculum: Working with both the Sounders and Reign FC, we are implementing a solid systems-based, structured learning environment consistent with that being implemented by US Soccer through the Development Academy. We have gone to great expense to customize the curriculum and train our coaches in how to take maximum advantage of the curriculum, which dictates an Eastside FC game plan and style of play. As players evolve, so too does their team, as the learn the system. The curriculums developed for boys with the Sounders, and for girls with Reign FC, consist of two levels:
Zone One focuses on building a solid soccer foundation for players ages U8-U12, and is in keeping with the club’s long-term player-centric model. It keeps coaches current with best practices so they reach every player while offering them the opportunity to develop technically, physically, mentally and tactically.
Zone Two offers the EFC player seamless and continued advancement of skills and game concepts, character and physical development from U13 to U18/19.
Expanded Coaching Staff and Continuing Education: Eastside FC is evolving its organization to support the long-term development of its coaches and players. Increased involvement in the US Soccer Development Academy requires EFC dedicate more resources to training and continuing education of our coaches to meet changing licensing requirements. In addition, Eastside FC is expanding its coaching staff, dedicating Directors of Coaching to ensure program resources for players at all levels: Boys and Girls U8-U9 Junior RCL , Boys and Girls U8-U12 Zone One , Boys U13-U18/19 and Girls U13-U18/19 Zone Two Development. (Click here to view our Coaching staff.)