San Diego’s Albion SC Noah Gins on Albion SC-Arsenal Academy Training
Youth Soccer News: San Diego based youth soccer club Albion SC is partnered with famed Arsenal FC – the legendary professional English soccer club that was established in 1886 when a group of soccer loving workers from the Woolwich Arsenal Armament Factory decided to form a football team. Now, over 125 years later, Arsenal plays in the English Premier League (EPL) and the club is paving the pay for a new crop of talented youth players to dream of following in the footsteps of some of their greatest players; Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Ian Wright and Patrick Vieira. Arsenal FC created a partnership with Albion SC last year and has been working closely on developing a select group of Southern California players.
Many American youth soccer clubs seek to partner with professional European clubs but few are able to accomplish this achievement. Albion SC’s Technical Director Noah Gins has been working for nearly a year with Arsenal FC and the partnership is working very well.
Albion SC is well known across the nation for its dedication to providing the highest level of player development for their club’s elite players, but what has been the impact of the Arsenal FC partnership? How has this partnership with Arsenal FC impacted the Southern California youth soccer club’s approach? Do the player trainings in the Arsenal Albion Academy differ from what happens at the rest of this elite club?
Noah Gins On Player Development Inside The Academy:
Diane Scavuzzo: What is the difference between an Albion SC team training and how the players are trained inside the Albion SC-Arsenal Academy?
Noah Gins: Albion SC focuses on player development and produces great quality, nationally-recognized soccer teams. We balance player development with being result-oriented in terms of training teams to play well together in a competitive game.
One of the big problems in American youth soccer is when youth soccer teams start loosing, parents start judging whether or not the coach knows what he or she is doing. Parents start wondering if there is a better development environment out there for their player. If a team is having a really bad season, players’ families start shopping around, looking for new opportunities so their kid could be on a team with a higher percentage of wins.
Whether or not a team wins a soccer game on the weekend is not a proper way to judge individual player development.
Diane Scavuzzo: Yes, America soccer moms and soccer dads are obsessed with winning and rarely have the patience for real player development, which takes time….
Noah Gins: Absolutely, and personal development suffers when parents get too concerned about winning and losing.
In England, the Arsenal Academy youth soccer coaches are not concerned about winning a youth soccer game on the weekend. These Academy coaches are focused on developing players for the first team. These coaches consider it a big win when they have developed a player who makes it to the ranks of playing professional soccer.
Diane Scavuzzo: How is the player training at the Albion SC-Arsenal Academy different from your club team trainings?
Noah Gins: True individual player development happens inside of the academy. These select youth players receive very focused and functional trainings – for instance on how to properly clear a ball.
Diane Scavuzzo: Do the players train in groups?
Noah Gins: Yes, but the trainings are player specific and detailed – these trainings are more detailed than the normal team practice, even more detailed than a private training session.
Remember, the Academy doesn’t care if they win or lose the weekend games – the Academy coaches watch players in games to evaluate player performance and see what has been learned in practice. The coaches are looking to see if the players are able to implement the techniques taught in the Academy sessions.
The focus is on player development and during the games, the coaches analyze what the player needs to practice to improve to the next level.
Diane Scavuzzo: Can you describe an Albion SC-Arsenal Academy training session?
Noah Gins: The Albion SC-Arsenal Academy players perform a high amount of repetitions for each technical drill. They might spend 50 minutes on one specific drill; an average player might become board doing the drill with so many repetitions but for the Academy player, this is part of the training as well — if you can’t maintain a focus for this type of training, you are not training to be a professional.
Training with repetition makes you a master of the drill. The Arsenal Albion Academy training breaks each drill down to an incredibly specific, technical level — no one wants to spend the time to do this if the focus is not on player development. No one would have the time to do this detailed training if they were focused on winning the next league match on the weekend.
Diane Scavuzzo: So the win-at-all-costs mentality of many American youth parents negatively impacts player development?
Noah Gins: Yes, this type of soccer training does not coincide with the objectives of coaching a team to go into a weekend of games. The fact that we have Arsenal’s top Academy coaches sharing with us how they develop their young players gives us great insight.
Unlike youth soccer clubs in America, European clubs are focused on developing the players during the week and allowing them to perform during the weekend during games where the coaches evaluate what the players have learned. It is the coach’s job to train and watch the players perform to see how they can be improved. The Arsenal Academy coaches have extensive evaluation statistics on all their players.
Diane Scavuzzo: Is the speed of play the same?
Noah Gins: The Albion SC-Arsenal Academy players play at a speed that is at the professional level.
Diane Scavuzzo: How many fortunate players are in your academy program?
Noah Gins: Only 20 to 25 kids participate in this exclusive program and the top players are selected to travel all expenses paid to England to train at Arsenal’s Academy.
Andre Schmid, Albion SC-Arsenal, Director of Player Development said in an earlier interview, “We intend to take player development to a whole new level. I will be responsible for overseeing the Albion SC-Arsenal Academy and the player development for Arsenal. The Albion SC-Arsenal Academy offers an extra day of training for Elite players and players in Southern California that have the qualities to play at Arsenal. These sessions will be dictated by Arsenal and will be done in way that is preparing these players for the next trip or a special trip over for the selected player or players.”