Albion Soccer Club Completes Successful First Season in U.S. Soccer Development Academy
In 2007, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) was created to provide top youth players around the country with the opportunity to train and play in an environment that would help to produce “the next generation of National Team players.” Working with top clubs around the country, the USSDA focuses on a philosophy of more meaningful training and fewer – but more competitive – matches.
In 2010, USSDA Technical Advisor Rob Becerra told Albion Soccer Club Technical Director Noah Gins, “Whatever you are doing, keep doing it. We are all noticing.” At that time Albion SC had developed 10 U.S. National Teams players in five years and was an important source to the U.S. National Team programs. Three years later that notice translated into an invitation to join the USSDA at the U13/14 age level; naturally, Albion SC accepted. Now they are completing their successful first season and preparing to move forward.
Albion SC had already built a reputation around the U.S. for developing National Team-level players when the invitation came. The club had created a championship culture that sent teams every year to the National Championships – seven in as many years. Playing in the U.S. Development Academy has provided Albion SC with the added credibility and exposure that they have worked hard for over the years. Recently Gins shared his thoughts on this first season with SoccerNation News editor Diane Scavuzzo.
Diane Scavuzzo: What has it been like being a part of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy?
Noah Gins: At Albion SC, we have defined ourselves by the standards by which we hold ourselves accountable and the level of coaching we provide day in and day out for our players. Some programs rely on titles, but at Albion SC we rely on the integrity and purpose that we put forth in every session and in every player.
With that being said, we were very happy to be recognized by U.S. Soccer as a Top-60 youth club in the United States.
Playing within the U.S. Development Academy gave us the perspective we needed to fully understand the different vehicles available to provide our players with the best platform to gain exposure and push forward as elite soccer players.
Diane Scavuzzo: What have the results been from your first year?
Noah Gins: For us the first year was great, and after getting our evaluation from U.S. Soccer we were very pleased with the feedback.
We delivered on all areas, and while results are not the priority of the U.S. Development Academy program, we competed and played to win every game out.
The team had a very good player pool. Unlike many programs, Albion SC built the team from a new player pool outside the club and worked all year long to establish a quality brand of soccer.
Diane Scavuzzo: What part does the U.S. Development Academy play in the overall program at Albion SC?
Noah Gins: As we continue to build and refine and be innovative as a club, we like that we have the U.S. Development Academy, the US Youth Soccer National League, Coast Soccer League, SDDA, WCDA, SCNPL, and all the tournaments that fall under our radar to develop our youth players. We believe that there is no one way to get a player to the highest level.
We have developed players to the National Teams level, to the professional level, and to the college level. In all cases, they got there by different routes inside of Albion SC through the vehicles we use to compete, expose and develop our players.
We had one player that has been a dominant player inside the U.S. National Teams system and was discovered while playing in a tournament on the East Coast. This same player, who was never even picked up by ODP, is currently a senior in College and has dominated the college game as well, leading the Conference in goals, and may end up playing in future Olympics and World Cups.
The one thing we know – and have been told over and over – is that if a kid is good enough to play at the National Team level, then they will be found.
We have a relationship now with U.S. Soccer, and they are only a phone call away if we feel a player has the potential to play at that level. We take that relationship very seriously and want to be a source for helping to feed the U.S. National Team system. We can use that as a way to help judge our success as a program.
Diane Scavuzzo: What other benefits have you seen from being part of the U.S. Development Academy?
Noah Gins: We have taken many aspects from the U.S. Development Academy standards and applied them around the club in terms of curriculum, added training and overall professional approach.
There are many things that U.S. Soccer has envisioned that we were already doing or wanting to do. Working with this program has allowed us to gain further insight and bring forth our ideas and incorporate theirs.
Diane Scavuzzo: What does the future hold for Albion SC in the U.S. Development Academy?
Noah Gins: The current U13/14 team has four games left and a Showcase in Indiana in June. That will conclude this first season.
Albion SC is currently holding trials for the 2014-2015 U.S. Development Academy that will consist of 2000 and 2001 birth year players. We will finalize this roster in the coming months and be ready to put this group of players through the Albion SC curriculum to compete inside the U.S. Development Academy Schedule.