ChaCha Namdar Reflects on Lessons Learned in Successful First Season
Every new endeavor involves a learning curve, and the goal of successful organizations is to make sure that lessons learned are put into practice in order to continually improve. The inaugural year of the San Diego Developmental Academy was no different. What began as an idea in the minds of Directors of Coaching Rene Miramontes (Crusaders Soccer Club) and Paolo Landini (Hotspurs USA) quickly grew into a 400-team league that surpassed all expectation.
Diane Scavuzzo: What did you learn from the first SDDA season?
ChaCha Namdar: We learned that the clubs, teams and players were ready to make this jump. The most eye-opening thing was the amount of interest we had from clubs to join SDDA.
Diane Scavuzzo: How are you implementing the lessons learned for the new season?
ChaCha Namdar: This is a league for its members. The participation at SDDA meetings gets bigger every time we meet. We share and discuss ideas. Any suggestions from the members will be looked at, discussed and implemented, should we find that they are going to better the league.
Diane Scavuzzo: What were the biggest surprises in your first season?
ChaCha Namdar: We were pleasantly surprised how well organized our first year in SDDA went. Credit should go to the member clubs and the administration for that.
Diane Scavuzzo: What were the biggest challenges you faced, and how do you plan to address them for the new season?
ChaCha Namdar: I would have to say one of the biggest challenges for SDDA balancing the level of competition among each age group and the proper placement of teams in the flights. The best way to tackle that next year is obviously looking at last year’s record. Also, we will be looking for feedback from the club DOCs to help us create the most competitive flights for next year.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are your main goals for the second SDDA season?
ChaCha Namdar: We will be looking to continue the development of our younger players and expose them to higher levels of competition as they get older. We want the players to be seen by as many college coaches and ODP scouts as possible.
Diane Scavuzzo: What would help the second SDDA season be an even greater success than the first season?
ChaCha Namdar: What will help us to be even more successful is for the clubs and DOCs to continue believing in what we are doing for San Diego players. The continued feedback and meeting participation and better communication among the DOCs will help SDDA tremendously to succeed in years to come.
Diane Scavuzzo: What new ideas do you hope to implement for the new season?
ChaCha Namdar: Again, this is a league for its members. We would like everyone who is involved with SDDA to help with new ideas to make our league even better. Personally, I would have to say we all need to make sure the college coaches and the ODP staff are aware of the quality of SDDA players and get them involved even more this year. They will most certainly benefit from attending the games and showcases to observe the players.
Diane Scavuzzo: What impact have you seen in youth soccer in San Diego from the first SDDA season?
ChaCha Namdar: It has been huge. Everyone is talking about it. It has created an amazing level of excitement among players, parents, clubs, referees and administration. Players want to be playing in SDDA, parents love the concept and the competition level, clubs want their best teams to be part of it, referees want to be part of these high level games and the administration is even more motivated. We are all looking forward to the second season.
Diane Scavuzzo: What other thoughts do you have about the upcoming SDDA season?
ChaCha Namdar: I am sure the players and parents will continue with their excitement and will believe in SDDA just like they did the first year.
Also, just like when coaches, teams and clubs commit to the selected players, I would like to see a full commitment from players and parents to the team for the whole season. Once the full season commitment is over, it’s a whole new game again.