Albion SC’s — Making A Difference in Player Development
One of the top youth soccer clubs in America, San Diego based Albion SC is earning top marks in player development from college coaches and former players who have gone pro and are playing at prestigious colleges. For example, after training as a youth soccer player for 5 years at Albion SC, homegrown MLS’ LA Galaxy Ariel Lassiter is a big fan.
In addition to helping develop Lassiter, Albion SC has trained over 15 US National Team players and produced nearly 10 million dollars in scholarship offers over the last decade. The club was awarded the U12, U13, and U14 U.S. Soccer Development Academy, and with 120 teams plus branded clubs in South Florida and Orange County, Albion SC continues to make a strong impact on the landscape of America’s youth soccer.
Albion Soccer Club is one of America’s preeminent youth soccer clubs. Aspiring to make big moves to grow the game, Albion SC’s Executive Director Noah Gins is focused on developing world class players. Gins wants Albion SC to be known for accomplishing excellence in player development and creating an environment where players want to come and learn. “At Albion SC, our coaches show up every day dedicated to helping our youth soccer players reach their potential and be successful,” says Gins. “I believe in player development to an end result – there should be a focus, a target, a finish line.”
“We aim to take youth soccer players to the highest level they can achieve — really maximizing the potential of the player,” says Gins.
“Many youth soccer players at Albion desire to become professional players or play soccer at an Ivy League college — and some players, we really push to develop to the National Team,” says Gins. “This takes commitment on the part of the player and the coaching staff — and, we are always very proud of our players when they reach these levels.”
In a world of youth soccer clubs touting their teams’ victories, Gins wants to be recognized for more than earning trophies. “I love it when our teams win, but that it not what is most important. When I hear what Ari says about training with us at Albion, thats what really matters to me,” says Gins. The Ari Gins refers to is Ariel Lassiter, who plays forward on the MLS’ LA Galaxy.
“Noah Gins is a winner and that is what I am about,” says Ariel Lassiter who signed with the LA Galaxy in March. “Noah really inspired me and taught me the responsibility of being a forward.”
The young Lassiter trained at Albion SC for five years and clearly believes that the club did a great job helping him develop into a professional soccer player. Happy to chat about his days at Albion, the young Forward who has impressed so many coaches was effusive about his training with Gins.
“Noah taught me how to be able to play under pressure. Albion really helped me develop into the player I am today,” says Lassiter.
Gins has always made his presence felt, even dating back to his freshman year as a D1 collegiate player at UNLV. From being the only freshman on the squad who played in every game to scoring game winning goals, Gins was back then — as he is now — a force to be reckoned with on the soccer field. While the former imposing midfielder may have hung up his pro cleats in favor of guiding others on the journey to reach their dreams, Gins realizes very few players will reach the pro level.
“Playing youth soccer should develop a lifelong passion for the sport. We are training tomorrow’s soccer fans — and for all those kids who will never become a professional player or even play soccer in college, I want them to look back on their days at Albion and remember they learned the value of respect and the importance of teamwork.”
Gins wants to help all his players cross their target finish lines — whether their goal is to play college soccer, be on a national team, become a professional player, while developing great life skills. With several youth soccer players in the U.S. Soccer National Youth Team camps from Albion SC, the club is accomplishing their goals on many levels.
Gins and his coaching staff are committed to developing players who can go the distance. “We emphasize development every step of the way and are interested in players learning the details behind what it takes to be a great player; the way a player moves or the way they receive a ball — the little things that make player great,” says Gins.
Albion SC also partnered with Arsenal FC of the English Premier League for the past two years, working together with Arsenal’s top youth coaches to develop competitive players for international play. Albion SC landed the partnership as part of PUMA’s Total Club Concept program (TCC) following a trip to the U.K. where they met with head scout for Arsenal, Steve Morrow.
Albion SC’s success at getting their players into top colleges is well known. With more players attending Ivy League colleges than any other youth soccer club of a similar size, Albion has established itself as one of the top places to train in Southern California if you are an elite player, smart and want to attend college.
Patrick Barba, who trained at Albion SC from U7-U19 and is now the Junior Captain at Princeton University says, “My experience at Albion not only showed me how to be a better leader, but also the true value of teamwork. I learned to lead from the front as one of three captains on my team, and also lead from the back as an injury sidelined me during my final season.”
“We have players who have just gone on to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell University and other top colleges,” says Gins whose club has helped players secure millions of dollars of scholarships over the years and has the respect of college coaches across the country.
WVU women’s soccer is enjoying No. 1 in the college rankings and their #6 player Heather Kaleiohi believes she owes her abilities on the soccer pitch to her training as a youth player at Albion SC.
“I played at Albion SC since age 6, and the club helped mold and shape me into the player I needed to be to play at the D1 level,” says Kaleiohi who is a forward on the West Virginia University (WVU) Women’s Soccer Team. “I am so grateful to all the Albion coaches who trained me.”
I believe in the strength of programming set in place by Noah Gins and the Albion Soccer Club,” says Rich Ryerson, Men’s Soccer Head Coach at UNLV. “Albion does a fantastic job teaching their players the tactical skills necessary, technical ability needed, physical components, and social/mental strength needed to play at the NCAA Division 1 collegiate level. In my interaction with the Albion SC coaching staff and players, in recruiting potential student athletes and through their camp program, I see all phases of soccer life education being addressed.”
Gins was honored by US Youth Soccer’s Cal South as “Coach of the Year” in 2010 as was the club’s Director of Soccer, Wayne Crowe in 2013. Both Gins and Crowe, along with Albion’s U.S. Soccer Academy Director Paul Holohan and all the other coaches at Albion SC, take great pride in helping players reach their dreams.
To help achieve the goal of his players and to further his commitment to bring professional soccer to San Diego, Gins kicked off the NPSL team — the Albion Pros — last year. Coached by Ziggy Korytoski, the NPSL team went undefeated all season in the Western Conference. Korytoski also coaches at SDSU and at Albion’s Development Academy.
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