Sunil on future of the U-17 residency camp

Discussion in 'Youth National Teams' started by truthandlife, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. GersMan

    GersMan Member

    May 11, 2000
    you might be surprised at how many kids will travel pretty far. There are kids now who drive 5-6 hours for CLUB training.

    But I do think you want to minimize instances where kids are leaving home to do this, so it is a very real challenge to the setup.

    Surely CASL/Raleigh would be a natural place for one of these yeah? The academies don't have to be in the same town as the MLS team.
  2. GersMan

    GersMan Member

    May 11, 2000
    while I agree with much of this - especially as it mirrors much of what I was writing at the same time above - there are a few points I'll take exception to.

    It CANNOT be anything but free. If they charge - it fails.

    To overlook the coaches who have been doing it here for so long (like David Richardson and Mike Matkovich) would be a huge mistake. We need to develop coaches in this country, and there's much more to that than having played. I'm not talking about parent-coaches taking their local club team to a state cup - i'm talking about coaches who are professional in every way, leading major club, state, regional and national programs.

    I don't think they should put any kids in dorms. For those who can't commute from home, host families are the way to go. Even the biggest clubs overseas do this now rather than stick them in dorms. That was just too fraught with problems. The ones who are stilling doing dorms are looking for ways to transition.

    Regarding schools - there are plenty of alternatives. Top players are already utilizing home education and private tutoring. The whole country is learning to think outside the box when it comes to education, and none too soon.
  3. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    I'm sorry if I wasn't clear on this. I totally agree.

    I agree that MLS should try and incoroparte the really good ones, but don't most of the elite youth national team coaches make six figures? MLS assistant coaches don't make that much money, do we think they'll pay the youth coaches enough to get them to leave their clubs?

    I wasn't aware of that. On a trip to the French countryside with my wife before we were married, I snuck away and visited the training sites of a couple of first division teams and their "centres of excellence" (ie academies) and they had dorms.

    Also, I was under the impression they had them in England, too. I guess things have changed. As for dorms in MLS, I think it could work - I mean, they do it at Bradenton and kids go to boarding school all the time - but host families would be fine, too. It's not a detail I'm gonna quibble over.

    Fair enough. Probably will be required for these kids to pursue soccer and still put themselves in shape to go to college.
  4. dabes2

    dabes2 Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    Bradenton is the U17 youth national team. That has a great deal of cache and appeal and clearly distinguishes itself from the local elite club. Not sure the MLS club development team stands out in the same way. Also, we are talking about player rights here. Does this mean that if the kid wanted to go to Europe at 18, that the Euro club would need to pay the MLS academy a transfer fee? Or do the "developmental rights" only if they go into MLS?

    Hadn't really thought about this. This could be very powerful. Not sure if USSF and MLS will really lock arms here, but they could. Certainly, USSF would need to pay a piece of the tab to get anyone in MLS to pay attention to their priorities. And if they pay a piece of the tab, then they will want influence over coaches and training methods, etc.

    Also, there could be competition from a major international clubs too (e.g. Barca academy in NY, Chelsea in LA, Bayern in Chicago,...). So, that could be a new twist too.
  5. GersMan

    GersMan Member

    May 11, 2000
    I'd even say the increased interest from international clubs has fast-forwarded MLS thinking about this. As it stands, the leading youth clubs are recognizing that they can begin commanding fees for the players they develop. It's not a huge amount of money, but it could allow a big club to put out, for instance, an entire U17 team at no charge to the players (which of course could perpetuate more players going pro and more revenue). If MLS finds a way to incorporate that into what they do, that could be an avenue for a national network of youth academies playing a league schedule.

    No doubt there are some elite youth club DOCs doing much better than many MLS coaches. While the threat of that changing could lead to pitched battle over all of this, I think it's quite possible for something to be worked out to incorporate everybody.

    That does serve to remind however, that the biggest threat/impediment to this country becoming a top tier soccer nation is the number of people likely to put self interest over the good of the national game. Elite youth soccer is rife with this and it will only take thoughtful, talented and persevering people to overcome.
  6. dabes2

    dabes2 Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    I heartily disagree with this!

    A national team can't hope to control the process in a country this big and diverse.

    I think our best chance to improve is through MLS clubs, foreign clubs, the USSF and elite private clubs all competing ruthlessly.
  7. jägermeister

    jägermeister New Member

    May 18, 2004
    Maybe an arrogant, proven, donut eating, iron will SOB, who knows the system, can organize and communicate effectively and demands respect and his vision to be followed can do this also.

    Just a thought.
  8. truthandlife

    truthandlife Member

    Jul 28, 2003
    Houston Dynamo

    I agree with you but as far as the MLS youth teams competing right now, they will not be able to compete until they stop charging money for their MLS academies. As soon as this happens, the best players will be playing with these MLS youth teams. Parents would love to stop paying $2,000 - $5,000 a year for training.
  9. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Not quite so simple.

    First, it's $2000 per year for training, not $2000 - $5000 (unless somebody is hiring private trainers).

    Second, while $2000 is a chunk of change, many if not most families would regard saving $2000 as "a factor in the decision" rather than "the key item." Heck, if they had such a big problem raising the $2000, they wouldn't be on the high-priced club team in the first place.

    Third, the youth clubs ain't stupid. They won't let their best assets walk without a fight. If an MLS youth team looks to snatch the two best players on a current U15 squad, voila!, the fee will now become "free" for those two players at their current club.
  10. truthandlife

    truthandlife Member

    Jul 28, 2003
    Houston Dynamo
    JohnR, it can add up to $5,000 with all of the travel (going to Europe) or tournaments around the nation. My family can afford to pay for these fees but a lot of other kids are on the cusp of sacrificing a lot financially. I have a child who is playing on one of the top clubs in U.S. on the first team. If the new Houston MLS franchise came to me and said we want your kid for our club, I would consider it. It would depend on the training on how they are developing players. I would not do it now but eventually I could see MLS youth teams being the "cream of the crop" in this nation. It depends on how much USSF and MLS contribute in resources to their programs.

    I think eventually it will become like Europe where these MLS franchises will have the best youth players, best training etc. I still see a niche for the private clubs in the U.S. In fact, there will probably be a lot of "late bloomers" who come out of these clubs.

    I know the MLS youth clubs have not been able to compete with the private clubs (ie Fire and FC Dallas) but eventually with resources they will probably recruit away a lot of talent once it is seen as a legitimate place to develop players.
  11. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    At least $5000, yes. And yes, if we're talking about free travel for the player in addition to free training, that would be difficult for the youth clubs to compete with.

    But again ... MLS is poor. It's one thing for Barcelona or Celtic to spend $10k per youth player, in fact they each spend considerably more. Quite another for Kansas City Wizards.

    I'm still struggling to see how this works. Take a real-life example, Jonathan Spector. Very good youth player but was not the talk of all Chicago at age 12 or 14. Would this hypothetical Fire youth program fling $5k or $10k at the 7th grade Jonathan Spector? Not sure. He was one of several good 7th graders in the area and how much money will the club blow on a kid player anyway?

    Even if the team did, Jonathan lived 5 minutes from Chicago Sockers and attended the local Catholic high school that has had many Sockers' alums, including many coaches' kids.

    So ... then the Fire wait until Jonathan is 15 to make him an offer he can't refuse? When he takes the next step up and makes the national pool? Nobody's going to bite on that. Get invited to Bradenton, with the free training and visibility, the last thing you'd want to do is sign up for an MLS club that offers something of the same benefits, only with a major string attached.

    Yeah, yeah, I know ... we're talking about an overall change to the system that will also involve the Bradenton program. I'm willing to suspend my disbelief and see how this all plays out. All I'm saying is, in the current construct it's difficult to envision.
  12. truthandlife

    truthandlife Member

    Jul 28, 2003
    Houston Dynamo
    I agree with you. It will be interesting to see how it is set up because this will ultimately determine if this will succeed or fail. I think they probably don't know how it should look yet.

    We will see. In the mean time, the top clubs in the nation will continue to churn out the majority of the talent in the U.S. until MLS and the USSF come up with a plan that can continue to improve the ways players are developed in this country.
  13. Nutmeg

    Nutmeg Member+

    Aug 24, 1999
    Great post, Sandon. I'll take on the one point that I find pretty interesting. Youth soccer has a pretty sizeable amount of political power at the USSF based on the current structure and voting bi-laws. A lot of what we saw last year with the players deal was a political struggle between professional soccer players wanting to keep the money they earn for the federation vs. other factions who want that money sent their way - specifically, towards the kids.

    IMO, Sunil and crew will have to pull off some political wizardry to get the youth camp to buy into releasing more power to the professionals. This might be the most difficult part of enacting this type of change. Fortunately, I believe the big sponsors of the US Team are in the professional's camp on this one, and their money will do a lot of talking for Sunil.
  14. AndyMead

    AndyMead Homo Sapien

    Nov 2, 1999
    Seat 12A
    Sporting Kansas City
    Wow. Just wow. How completely misinformed. MLS isn't poor, it's just cheap. But it's also owned by shrewd businessmen.

    All MLS owners need to see is the ability to sell the occasional player to a European club - or create a homegrown marketing tool every couple of years to see a positive return on investment.

    MLS isn't poor.

  15. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    My boss is a billionaire, but when it comes to funding projects that don't make money after 10 years and that ask for additional capital, he's as poor as they come. I suspect that that entrepreneurs who have lost a couple of hundred million bucks collectively (or whatever the number might be) on MLS over the last decade will respond similarly. Unless you can make the math absolutely ironclad in their favor, with very conservative assumptions. Good luck.

    Maybe USSF/sponsors will raise the bucks to do this correctly.
  16. leftnut

    leftnut New Member

    Aug 4, 2005
    A scout for USSF/ Residency told me that they will have nearly $200,000 invested in a kid who has spent 2 years in Bradenton. Considering all of the travel, gear, private school, and room & board that they pay for, it's not too hard to believe. Will MLS teams, along with sponsors (other than Nike), be willing to cough up that kind of dough? I'm with you, JohnR, hopeful, but still a bit skeptical.
  17. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    A complete side point, but what's with the private school thing? I've gotta believe that you could save a lot of money on a Bradenton-style program by having the kids attend the local public school. You gotta find the right public school ... some would be not good enough for the kids, some would be too good (i.e., too much work). But I have no doubt that there are 100s if not 1000s of public schools that could emulate Bradenton's educational offerings.
  18. Swami

    Swami Member

    Mar 5, 2005

    If this happens, which seems inevitable, I would bet quite a bit on the US winning a World Cup in the 20-25 years after its inception.

    I have a difficult time understanding the idea that the existing elite youth club system will not be eventually superceded or subsumed by MLS. I can understand the argument on day 1, but I can't see it in the long term or even medium term. There are a lot of good points here already as to why that should be the case. The foremost being that MLS/USSF will have a lot of leverage as to where these kids can eventually take their careers.

    Why wouldn't these clubs/coaches integrate themselves into MLS? I assume independence and finances. The latter would be obviated if MLS can develop a steadily increasing pipeline of talent that could be monetized in transfer fees as Europe continues to value the American player more highly. The financial benefits would be passed on to the most effective youth coaches in some form.

    The alternative of these club teams selling players directly to Europe seems pretty unlikely. If you're a European team, would you rather buy a player who has demonstrated his professional potential at PSV, Ajax, Porto, Benfica, Artmedia Bratislava, Legia Warsaw, Sparta Prague, etc. or from a little youth academy in one of those countries?

    The basic long run economic dynamics suggest that the best players will migrate to MLS programs over time, and the other elite clubs/coaches will either join MLS or will focus on developing players for D-1 schools (which might not be so bad) if they want to maintain job independence.
  19. Swami

    Swami Member

    Mar 5, 2005
    Sure, these assumptions are somewhat reasonable although I think an analogy between MLS owners and, say, a private equity manager or hedge fund manager is a bit misplaced. These owners are largely making a bet on rising asset values in the very long run, and some, like Anschutz, have a very emotional connection to seeing soccer grow here.

    The predicate for investment in youth development is financial stability and diversification of the shareholder base. The first is largely predicated upon SSSs being built, which is happening. The second is also under way with AEG distribution of teams and expansion.

    The logical next step in establishing a real league infrastructure is youth development.
  20. dabes2

    dabes2 Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    I think the issue is the hours. These kids aren't in classes from 8-3 with a practice from 3-4:30. School needs to be totally structured around the soccere program.
  21. IMOX77

    IMOX77 New Member

    Jun 15, 2003
    Long Island, NY
    really? I thought I saw somewhere that the kids at residency went to school from 8am-2:30pm and then practiced 3pm to 5pm or 5:30pm.
  22. dabes2

    dabes2 Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    Really? I figured they were had 2-3 practices per day.
  23. triangles

    triangles New Member

    Sep 4, 2003
    The residency school *does* need to be structured around many soccer activities, and the public schools are unable or unwilling to do it. Several factors need to be accounted for:
    1. Some kids are more ambitious students than others, and so they take more hours.
    2. There are normally early afternoon practices. 3pm or so.
    3. Players miss many complete days or weeks due to tournaments and travel. There are lots of friendlies at semi-local clubs and colleges that don't make the general news.
    4. The curriculum must be tailored per player. The spectrum ranges from stereotypical "jock" to Ivy League candidates. These guys need to be on the same schedule time-wise and transportation-wise, but they can't be taking the same classes.

    There is training almost every day and team training is usually followed by individual work or physical therapy. There are also special sessions on handling the psychological factors of playing the sport. Then, at the end of the day, the players get to focus on their schoolwork... without the advantage of a protective parent watching over their shoulder or checking their work.

    There is a lot of focus on those who go through the residency program and then directly into the pros. There should also be some attention paid to those that don't go pro immediately, but who are able to survive the residency academic experience and still flourish in a demanding collegiate environment at the age of 16 or 17 while also playing varsity soccer. These players may well be an important source of future US Soccer coaches and policy makers.

    USvsIRELAND Member+

    Jul 19, 2004
    Morning before school practice - mostly running i believe
    Practice before/after lunch and/or after school

    -what I've heard from kid who knows Joe Bendik (left Residency)
  25. Stan Collins

    Stan Collins Member+

    Feb 26, 1999
    Silver Spring, MD
    I went to school from 8-2:30, and I can assure you I did not attend a soccer residency camp.

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