Update on San Diego Developmental Academy
San Diego Developmental Academy set out with a lofty goal of putting the emphasis on the kids – and on providing opportunities to create an environment for player development; and it has succeeded on both front.
Cal South has long been known for its competitive youth soccer teams. San Diego in particular, has gained a reputation in recent years as a real hotbed in the American youth market after producing American first team products Steve Cherundolo, Frankie Hedjuk and Joe Corona. But how did it get this way and what are some of the major factors driving recent decades of success? There are certainly a multitude of reasons to highlight but the Presidio Soccer League as well as the newly formed San Diego Development Academy, better known as SDDA, are headlining the way. Darren Weber, SoccerToday’s business development analyst was able to catch up with Presidio League president Bob Turner for some insight into the league’s history, the current state of the league and what’s next.
Bob Turner: The league was born two years ago out of the Presidio Soccer League. In Presidio we have 51 clubs and 38 of them now participate in SDDA. Essentially SDDA is a league we felt was necessary for the growth of the game in San Diego.
We tried to supplement Presidio Soccer League with a “premier” league to offer a higher level of competition. It acted as the precursor to SDDA but it was never successful and before long, grew a bit stale — so we looked for another alternative. We worked in conjunction with the DOCs (Directors of Coaching) of lots of local clubs and from there, launched the new league to offer coaches what they wanted – a developmental league that allows them the flexibility to focus on player development.
Rene Miramontes, Chairman of the SDDA wrote on the league’s homepage, “In an unprecedented common effort by the San Diego youth soccer community and with the total support of Presidio Soccer League, the San Diego Developmental Academy (SDDA) kicked off its inaugural season.
As part of the new and improved league, the SDDA added a new feature to its competitive format. This feature is the showcase events. These are special play dates that focus on specific age groups and flights bringing all competitors together for a day of meaningful soccer.
The SDDA Showcase Tournaments have three main objectives:
- Make a general assessment of the level of play in each particular age group,
- Supplement the regular schedule by adding meaningful games in a tournament style setting, and
- Expose the players to college coaches or ODP staff for possible selection to their programs.
Darren Weber: How is SDDA doing?
Bob Turner: I’d say we are doing very well. SDDA now has 38 clubs participating and this growth has happened in just 2 years of play. I think that’s phenomenal.
Our main goal is to provide a high level of quality play for youth soccer players to develop their skills. This is America’s 8th largest city in America. Our kids deserve this attention.
I know we will continue to help push soccer players to realize their dreams. In November 2014, SDDA held a college showcase in which college coaches Frank Zimmerman and Ryan Carruth both spoke to parents and players alike about the college recruiting process. It was very educational and I think the players/parents enjoyed themselves. Additionally, SDDA held specific All-Star Showcases with some of our best players playing against Cal South’s ODP elite player pool in an effort to give players born in ‘02 and ‘03 extra chances to get noticed.
This is the very first time we’ve done this. We are being very innovative and our clubs, players and parents appreciate this. These are exciting times!”
Darren Weber: Can you provide some insight as to SDDA’s future plans?
Bob Turner: At this time, we are focusing on growing the league and getting stronger and stronger. We are committed to creating even more opportunities for our players to be recognized — such as the All-Star Showcases for different age groups where our kids can get to compete in games against Cal South ODP teams.
Darren Weber: What is one of your goals for 2015?
Bob Turner: We’d like to get more access to quality fields in order to be able to successfully host showcases in the coming years and in doing so, we will strive to keep strengthening our league.
SoccerToday would like to give a special thanks to Bob Turner for his time and allowing soccer fans a peek behind the southern California curtain. San Diego is aggressively pushing the boundaries in the US youth soccer space and expect soccer to continue to flourish in the coming years!