MLS Youth Academy and Youth Marketing

Discussion in 'St. Louis City SC' started by pemurill, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. pemurill

    pemurill New Member

    Oct 24, 2001
    St. Louis
    The argument of a good youth soccer market and good pro market has been beat to death. I am not trying to beat that dead horse, however I am merely asking, starting the discussion as to what the potential youth set up might be and how this could benefit, not necessarily make a huge difference with attendance or other parts of the MLS team.

    Since I started this thread I will throw out the first discussion point!
    I think that the start of any MLS team and youth program should encompass all clubs and local youth leagues and even adult league under one Saint Louis MLS banner. Meaning if there is an indoor tournament or outdoor tournament a Saint Louis MLS player or representative should be present with promtional materials and banners, anything to gain more exposure and create a grassroots support. Obviously this will take a concerted effort and a lot of work however the unique appeal of local kids being able to play for their local club could very powerful even for those that do not make the MLS sponsored youth team and/or first team.

    In terms of the actual Academy, potentially U-15 to U-18, that the MLS team carry the load and not just merge or take over an existing club. There are too many good clubs and potential egos for one club to serve as MLS representives in terms of developing talent. Granted most of the best players play for four clubs, Lou Fusz, Busch, Scott Gallagher and Metro United, however there are many players who deserve or at least a chance outside of the big four and also the MLS Academy should mirror the first team, i.e. Head coach of the MLS Pro Team should influence the way youth teams, PDL, and reserve teams all play.

    All thoughts are welcome and please I know this is jumping the gun however any discussion of the stadium must be accompanied by what the rest of the MLS Organziation will look like
     
  2. Marchetti

    Marchetti Member

    Sep 23, 2004
    Chicago->STL->Denver
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    FC Dallas, right after they rebranded themselves, took over the operating rights to a youth club in the Dallas area, and subsequently renamed that club FC Texas.

    I would like to see the St. Louis MLS team do that, by taking over the operations of St. Louis Soccer Club and/or Scott Gallagher. This would immediately give the club sme great youth prospects, and also give the club a foothold and influence on the Missouri side, though the first team may, in reality, play in Illinois.
     
  3. Marchetti

    Marchetti Member

    Sep 23, 2004
    Chicago->STL->Denver
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    But... if a large scale youth soccer complex is also in the works, then I guess the teams youth setup would be at Collinsville too....

    hmm....
     
  4. pemurill

    pemurill New Member

    Oct 24, 2001
    St. Louis
    With the possibility of a Women's pro team surfacing, I believe this will only help driver the Youth Participation part of a potential MLS/Professional Women's Team in Saint Louis. The following is strictly my opinion however I would like to see something structure as follows, picture a Pryamid for both Women's and Men's teams which will if all inclusive will create an immediate identification with the pro team at a youth level. Notice I did not say attendance (I am avoiding the youth market = pro market argument) just an identification and might create a club like atmosphere!

    Saint Louis United (I just picked a name, do not ready anything into it!)
    United Men's First Team United Womens Pro First Team
    United MLS Reserve Team United Women Amateurs (River Cities FC could easily affliated into this position, also they are owned by Cooper Simmons as well)

    United Men's Amateurs (PDL)(Current Saint Louis Lions exist and also could be brought under the United Soccer Umbrella)

    United Youth System (I use system because I believe a potential Pro Soccer Youth Academy should include as many clubs and local soccer entities as possible)
    Basically anything related to soccer in Saint Louis should be affliated with the United Soccer Umbrella, whether it is giveaways, league sponsorship, example, SLYSA could become Saint Louis United Youth Developmental League

    In terms of actual youth soccer development, St Louis United will provide an ODP like teams, above the current clubs in Saint Louis, for Under 15-Under 18 pools of 30 kids both Boys and Girls. These teams would focus their efforts during the summer and various camps during fall and winter. During the Summer the pools would practice along side the professional teams, and be given Professional atmosphere training during this time. The teams would then play in high level tournaments such as Dallas Cup, International Tournaments, and other very high level tournaments. I would hope this would be free of charge and these teams would be chosen not from big tryouts, but by a quality scouting program going through the area to various clubs, and tournaments.

    My rational for not just sponsoring one team or club such as St. Louis Soccer Club or Metro United is that would seem to be too narrow a choice considering how expansive the potential could be. Also the strong club culture should be used to benefit the first team and then pick the best of the best regardless of club. Also using the many clubs could allow especially at the Under 14 and below level opportunities to sponsor a wide array of camps, clinics, and anything to utilize the existing soccer talent.

    Again this is my opinion, however I think it could work, obviously, we need a stadium and proper investment which maybe to much to ask at this point. However here is hoping all involved and have an open mind and willing to really work from top to bottom
     
  5. pemurill

    pemurill New Member

    Oct 24, 2001
    St. Louis
    One thing I forgot to mention is the utilization of the soccer fields that would be part of the complex and stadium, if built. Obviously the professional, amateurs, and Youth Pools would practice on these fields. Also these fields should be fully utilized as part of the local SLYSA and possibly Midwest Regional Leagues. If anyone out there is involved with SLYSA knows they can always use more fields and their should be willingness on both sides to provide as many quality fields for as many kids and clubs as possible for many reason.

    Reason 1 - Create the identification early and often with players, parents, and soccer clubs that they are included into the Pro Soccer Umbrella

    Reason 2 - Provide additional quality fields to the same groups who are now struggling to find places to play high level games on overused, mediocre pitches.

    Reason 3 - Lastly, to conclude, please include as many people as possible. If some clubs or leagues do not want to be part of this that would be there loss, but this Organization has a great chance to create very unique to Saint Louis in terms of youth sports and in particular soccer. Also more people involved, the more possible supporters you have regardless of which side of the river they are on!!
     

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