Academy Camp for Competitive High Level Soccer Players
This summer, high level soccer players will have a chance to receive training from a former professional soccer player and European soccer coach. Speed to Burn founder Paul Wright along with former Fulham FC Academy Coach Gavin Taylor, are offering an academy camp focusing on training players for the highest level.
Getting advice from a professional is always wonderful, especially when the person giving the advice really knows how to help youth players reach their potential. Wright knows what it is like to be an elite youth player and become a successful professional. English-born Wright has trained many high-profile professional and college athletes, including Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, former LA Dodgers outfielder Trent Oeltjen, LA Clippers forward Grant Hill and U.S. Men’s National Team forward Herculez Gomez.
The camp will focus on the overall development of the player. Morning sessions focus on speed and footwork. Afternoon sessions focus on ball skills and techniques. Evening sessions consist of full-sided games. The curriculum also includes a massage for each athlete, a beach run and sand soccer, a yoga session, indoor soccer games, plus guest speakers — including an MLS Regional Scout.
Residential Academy Camp Information
Dates: June 27 – July 1
Location: University of California, San Diego
Ages: 11-18, Boys & Girls
Cost: $850 (Siblings $800, Day Campers $695)
A special bonus: This year at the Academy camp, Wright and Taylor will select the top 3 performers for a one week trial abroad at one of the following academy soccer clubs: Real Mallorca – Spain, Fulham – England or Portland – USA.
Academy Camp Coaches:
- Paul Wright – Former Forward for the San Diego Sockers and MLS player who has coached professional and elite youth athletes for years.
- Gavin Taylor – Former Fulham FC Academy Performance Coordinator and U-18 Boys Coach
- Nick Perrera – Professional soccer player with the US National Beach Soccer Team and the San Diego Sockers
- Sean Gurley – Coach at LA Galaxy San Diego
SoccerToday also spoke with Wright and Gavin to learn more about their upcoming Academy Camp.
Diane Scavuzzo: The Speed to Burn Academy program offers a unique experience to elite youth soccer players. It sounds as though you have a lot of high profile appearances for this summer’s camp…
Paul Wright: Yes, we do. I can’t remember the last time there has been a camp like this. I truly believe we have some of the most talented players in San Diego and I want to continue to showcase them in front of the highest coaching level in the world.
I couldn’t be happier with the exposure the camp will offer the players. Paul Williams, the current head coach of England’s Notts Forest professional soccer team will be at the camp for during the week to observe players.
Diane Scavuzzo: Do you think American youth soccer players rival their European counterparts?
Paul Wright: Yes, I truly do, but we don’t have the structure in the USA for these elite youth soccer players.
We’re starting to with the USSF Development Academy system but we just don’t have the structure that European countries have. We need to create the proper environment to allow our top players to continue to develop.
Diane Scavuzzo: American youth soccer players are earning more respect abroad?
Paul Wright: Yes, and are worthy of these coaches who are coming over to see some of the best players in Southern California.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is missing most in youth soccer in America?
Paul Wright: More of the USSF Development Academy structure and better coaching.
Diane Scavuzzo: So, it’s not the culture that’s missing and the distractions of multiple sports. It’s really the lack of that experience coaching?
Paul Wright: It’s the lack of structure which restricts these kids from being able to fully develop. There’s not a large enough pool of players for them to compete day in and day out against each other.
Diane Scavuzzo: Speed To Burn has attracted elite youth soccer players. The soccer training session that just ended here in San Diego — all the players training with you are from different USSF Development Academies, right?
Paul Wright: Yes, I attract top players because I create that environment of high level learning and competition.
When top European coaches travel to the USA and come to observe my soccer training group, I need a very high level of youth soccer players.
I respect these coaches time – and they all know do not waste their time.
Diane Scavuzzo: How do you train these high level youth soccer players?
Paul Wright: Gavin Taylor is from Fulham and we have totally different training sessions. I love watching his sessions because he is very technical, he’s very fundamental and he brings a unique perspective from the playing field across the Atlantic — he interacts with so many of the first team coaches and players at Fulham and other clubs. It is such a refreshing glimpse into what it’s like on the soccer fields there.
My training is very offensive and attacking-oriented with an emphasis on finishing and creating opportunities and, moving forward on the field.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are you trying to accomplish in your soccer training sessions?
Gavin Taylor: The idea is to keep working and developing the talented players that come through the pool system. As I work now in both Northern and Southern California, it is interesting to see how these players in San Diego compare to youth soccer players I am working with in Northern California. We are looking to train the best of the best.
Diane Scavuzzo: How do Northern California youth soccer players compare?
Gavin Taylor: From what I’ve seen in Southern California, the general masses of youth soccer players are stronger here, but the top elite players can easily rank or out rank the talent in Southern California. The best players we’ve got in Northern California can definitely come to San Diego and compete at the same level.
Diane Scavuzzo: Paul says your trainings are more technical …
Gavin Taylor: What I’m trying to do is provide the same high level training that I performed and oversaw in England for the last ten years. I want to close that gap between generic training and more specified, elite player development training.
I focus on teaching those final actions that will really get players opportunities to have a career in the game.
So if it’s midfielders — it is an understanding that keeping possession is great, but those risky passes which can create goals are the ones they really have to be prepared to play.
For strikers — it is an understanding that it might take two touches to finish as opposed to three, because at the highest level, you’re not going to get the opportunity to get three touches on the ball. You simply will not have that time and luxury. You have to be effective and quick.
Diane Scavuzzo: What about defenders?
Gavin Taylor: For defenders — it is developing the understanding of their position. It is an understanding that the game of soccer for those who play defenders is as much about playing out from the back and maintaining possession as it is about winning your headers.
Diane Scavuzzo: Coaches talk about the speed of the game – what does that mean to you?
Gavin Taylor: For me, the speed of the game is going to get faster.
I think the demand for entertainment is just going to increase and demand a faster pace of sports action. The ticket prices to games, the cost of TV packages – people are only going to watch the game if it keeps getting quicker. If the pace of the soccer game slows down, and you’re paying $100 to watch a zero to zero match, people aren’t going to come again. So the game has to be quicker
The players that we’re now working with, we’re basically predicting the future. It’s not about where the game is now for a 13 year old. It’s about where the game is going to be in 5-10 years time, and that soccer game is going be faster.
What is important for the future? Paul’s work with the athleticism side is going to become more and more pivotal. But if soccer players work quicker, their techniques are going to have to be performed faster — and that takes more skill, mire practice.
So these two approaches have to train at the same rate. You can become as fast as you want but if you can’t use the ball quickly, you’re not going to be able to do the two things at the same time. And, you will never reach your potential as a talented soccer player.