Westfield Soccer Association

Let’s move on to club soccer in the U.S.

Weekly email 4/26/16



I recently was able to attend a youth club summit hosted by the NY Red Bulls. The Red Bulls, along with a few other MLS franchises, recognize that they are so much more than a professional soccer club alone. They recognize that in order for the game of soccer to grow in the U.S they also have to take their responsibility. The development of youth soccer starts at the grassroots, something that is ignored way too often. At this summit several well-known people in the youth soccer community in NJ and the US did presentations on important topics. Rick Meana, the director of coaching for the NJYSA, was among the group of presenters. He did a presentation on the development of a club, a club’s culture and the important of a club wide development philosophy. During the presentation the following quote was shared with the audience,


“Most or out youth soccer clubs in the U.SA. are not clubs in the developmental sense of the word. They are merely a collection of teams which happen to have the same name and possibly, wear the same uniforms. There is no connection between how the 9- year olds play the game and how the 10- year olds play.”

Jeff Tipping – US Soccer National Staff – Former NSCAA Director of Coaching


Many clubs can indeed be described by the above quote. The teams do wear the same logo, but there is no unified vision on how to develop players. The style of play across the program will differ from team to team, as it is all driven by the teams themselves. The importance of a club wide implemented development philosophy to aid the players and teams cannot be underestimated! It creates continuity from team to team no matter who the trainers or coaches are.  It creates stability and makes it so much easier for players to move from to team based on their individual development and needs.


The stability also helps us move forward as we get ready for the upcoming age group changes. The lay out of our rosters next year might be different, but the goal is still to have all teams play in line with our WSA development philosophy.  With all the changes coming, this does create continuity. The players are all part of the same club and we should make sure that they are all brought up in line with our club’s development philosophy.


I know that we still have a lot of work to do as a club, but I do know for a fact that we are on the right track. Please make sure, which is even more important now with the changes ahead of us, to continue to play the game in a positive matter. The outcome of games is by far not as important as the actual process. Any outsider watching a team from the WSA should be able to recognize our teams given the way we play, not solely based on the color of our uniform and/or the logo on our chest.


Thank you,


Ruben Vloedgraven

Director of Coaching - Westfield Soccer Association