Unique Opportunity for Youth Players to Receive Top Level EPL Training
Want your youth soccer player to enhance their skills this summer? Would you like real training and not expensive baby-sitting with a soccer ball? Here is a great opportunity for exceptional soccer training in an amazingly positive environment — with the goal of increasing a player’s confidence and passion. While many camps have big names – this one is the authentic training from Arsenal FC.
Top English Premier League club Arsenal FC offers a unique program in the USA – the Arsenal Soccer Schools – and while the word ‘school’ may be in the name, this is really a program designed to be filled with passionate play and learning — imagine discovering how to improve your soccer skills while increasing your passion and love for the game?
Arsène Wenger – former pro player turned head coach – has been the driving force at Arsenal since 1996. Considered the most successful manager in the history of Arsenal Football Club, Wenger has coached some of the most famous pros today including top goal scorer Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Cesc Fabregas and of course Alexis Sánchez among others. Even if only a small part of Wengers coaching philosophy is brought to the youth soccer fields of the USA … it would be great – And, the Arsenal Soccer Schools program has been discussed with the great man himself. “The goal is for a player to improve every day,” says Wenger.
A unique opportunity for youth soccer players of all levels, this program can enhance the love of the beautiful game while developing skills in an authentic, EPL academy-style environment. To help coaches and parents understand what makes the Arsenal Soccer Schools program worthwhile, we wanted to ask the tough questions:
SoccerToday spoke with Leroy Sequeira, Director of Arsenal Soccer Schools USA.
Diane Scavuzzo: How is your Arsenal Soccer Schools connected to the pro club?
Leroy Sequeira: The Arsenal Soccer Schools camp that will take place in California is one of 26 different Soccer Schools set up by Arsenal FC around the world.
The Arsenal Soccer Schools is Arsenal FC. Structure is simple: First team, then the Academy then our Soccer Schools .
Diane Scavuzzo: Are the youth soccer coaches who are coming to California and New York, among other places, really trained in the Arsenal Way?
Leroy Sequeira: Absolutely, the coaches that will fly over from the UK are all Arsenal coaches. Kieron Lewis DOC for Arsenal Soccer Schools is taking what he learns from the Academy directly to the coaches in the Arsenal Soccer Schools Pool. Just to put things into perspective, the previous DOC for the Arsenal Soccer Schools, Joe Sutton, now works strictly for the Academy and Ivan – one of the coaches that has worked on the east coast – now works with the Arsenal Ladies.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is the Arsenal Way?
Leroy Sequeira: The Arsenal Way is about creating attractive players both on and off the field. This means to be a good student athlete and good citizen to the community off the pitch. It means to also playing an attractive, creative and possession based game. Thats what it means to play the Arsenal Way and that’s what we encourage.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is the coach to player ratio for the camps?
Leroy Sequeira: The ratio of coaches to players is always kept low. The ratio is in the range of 1:10 – 1:12. The coaching ratio is extremely important to us and the only way to properly teach and develop youth players is to have an “intimate” number of players, hence the reason for the low 1:12 player ratio.
Diane Scavuzzo: What will players learn? How can this camp help player development?
Leroy Sequeira: The Arsenal Soccer Schools is all about creating Ambassadors of the game. Not only Arsenal Ambassadors but Ambassadors of the game in general.
Its impossible to change a player in one week and any one who tells you than can isn’t being honest.
What can happen is a seed can be planted and then its up to the player to continue watering that seed.
Parents often ask me what is the difference between a professional and an amateur. Having previously worked with CONCACAF and opening a lot of time around all the pros, the difference is whats between your ears; your brain – it is your decision making, it is how quick you react and how quick you are to solve a “problem”.
At the Arsenal Soccer Schools players leave with self awareness and enough self confidence to take on the world. After the one week, if we got you to change even one bad decision, whether its on the field or off, then we feel like we’ve done our job.
Diane Scavuzzo: Is there specific goalie training?
Leroy Sequeira: Yes, as for goalies — we will have a coach on staff specifically working on goal keepers but this will be an option available only during the residential camp. The goalkeeper training curriculum has been worked on with Arsenal FC’s top goalie Petr Cech himself.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is your role with Arsenal Soccer Schools in the USA today?
Leroy Sequeira: My role as a director is to grow the Arsenal Soccer Schools in the United States. My primary focus is on continue to help develop the sport in the country and give it the respect it deserves. The only way to do my part of development is to introduce something that is quality and allows players to take a step forward as appose to taking 2 steps backwards
Diane Scavuzzo: Did you ever want to be a professional player? Where did you play?
Leroy Sequeira: It is every youth soccer player’s dream to one day be a professional soccer player. My father was a professional soccer player in the ’80s in Portugal, having played with Beleneses and a few other clubs in Portugal before coming to the states. So, it was only natural that I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be scouted but nothing ever came out of. Those experiences are my main reason to want to help continue to grow and develop the sport in the United States. I feel that working with CONCACAF and now with Arsenal FC is like signing my “professional” contract and, I have to say, I don’t feel as if I ever work.
Diane Scavuzzo: If you look back at your career, what is the one thing you would change, if you could?
Leroy Sequeira: Looking back at my career, I feel I was very fortunate. Having played in NJ my entire life NJYS with Ironbound Strikers, St Benedicts Prep, Montclair State University and Jersey City University then on trial with CSKA in Russia and Vitoria de Setubal in Portugal … To be honest, I wouldn’t change anything.
The decisions that I made allowed me to grow and today I know I can help guide players into making better decisions.
Want a tip for goalies? Watch this!
General Camp Info: Arsenal FC Summer Soccer Camp
Main Image Photo Credit: Reuters/Arsenal FC