Month: January 2007

Real St Louis

I stole that headline from my esteemed fellow soccer blogger over at Glendale Soccer. Bob has applied his debate skills to the speculation around the collapse of the Real Salt Lake stadium deal and its potential aftermath. He points to a NY Times article about the possibility that Checketts, also owner of the St Louis Blues professional hockey team, might sell his rights to a group in St. Louis.

I never thought I’d be accused of being more cynical than Bob but I’m going to point to my favorite new soccer blog, My Soccer Blog. Mike H, who lists his hometown as Soccer Town US (St Louis?) has already noted that St Louis will have pro soccer in 2008. Heck, he’s even identified the location of the new stadium required to support the team.

The bet I would take is that it ends up being a USL team. As much as St Louis fancies itself a soccer town, I think targeting a franchise that can be supported with a game attendance of 5000 to 7000 is more realistic then an MLS franchise that would need over 15000. It’s a recipe for failure in Soccer Town, US.

Update – the St Louis Post-Dispatch chimes in. Hat tip to Coach Schmitt yet again.escort agencies los angeles

Missouri Represents at NSCAA Conference

National Soccer Coaches Athletic Association (NSCAA) Convention I’ve been having some nice conversations with both college and high school coaches in the region the past week or two and one of the common themes is how much fun they all recently had at the National Soccer Coaches Athletic Association (NSCAA) Conference in Indianapolis. I asked Ryan Swan, Assistant Coach at Drury University, if he’d be kind enough to share his experiences.

For me the 2007 NSCAA convention in Indianapolis was a fantastic 3 days of soccer talk and networking. Additionally, there were a number of field demonstrations by some excellent coaches from throughout the USA and a couple of international guests.

One of the best of these sessions was; “Developing Youth Players: The Everton Way” by Tosh Farrell, Technical Coordinator, Everton FC Academy. Tosh demonstrated the training methods employed by English Premiership club Everton, which have contributed to the development of players such as Wayne Rooney. Furthermore, I was able to watch the future stars of the MLS commit to their first professional clubs as the MLS draft was hosted at the convention.

However, the highlight of the weekend was the Adidas 4v4 tournament. My team included former indoor professionals, John Klein, Curtis Stelzer, and Vince Darnell and our experience allowed us to cruise through the group stages of the competition. Unfortunately, our experience was not enough to counter our old legs and woeful penalty taking as we crashed out in the quarterfinals via a penalty shootout to a youthful University of Indiana team. This defeat denied us the opportunity to play against US legends, Eric Wynalda and Paul Caligiuri who also had a team in the tournament.

Overall this is a fantastic event that I recommend to every coach. I am already in training for next year’s 4v4 in Baltimore.

Thanks Coach!

Pictured above are (L to R): Scott, Asst Coach Jeff City HS; John Klein, Columbia College Coach & former Duke player; Eddie Horn, Jeff City Boys Coach; Ryan Swan, Asst Coach Drury University; ? Asst Coach, Rockhurst HS (KC); Scott Siegal, St. Teresa’s Head Coach (in Red); Mike Howard, Rolla Bulldogs Coach; Matt Stacy, Jeff City Jays Asst ; Chris Miller, Jeff City Jays Girls Coach; Curtis Stelzer, Central Methodist Coach (in orange); ? in back; Carlos McField (in blue) Sacred Heart Head Coach; JD Hunter, Girls Coach Camdenton HS; Kirby Keth, Coach Rock Bridge HS; Todd Krey Head Coach Lee’s Summit West in back; Ed Miller, Joplin Eagle Coach in maroon; Joe Toigo, Park Hill South Coach

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Metro United FC – MLS Combine Journal

Folks, I’ve got a wonderful interview with Justin Douglass, Missouri State Bear’s defender who is in his first week at the Houston Dynamo’s training camp. You may recall he attend the MLS Combine in early January which led to his being drafted by his hometown Houston Dynamo.

While I’m working to complete the interview prior to the end of the two week commitment he received from the team, I wanted to point you to a journal from the Combine. In this case, it’s written by Dale Schilly, Program Director of the Metro United Soccer Club. You may not know Dale but you know his work as the Metro United College Showcase Tournament is one of the top draws for College Coaches in our region. His club was also the host of the Final Four Adidas Showcase that was scheduled to run along with the Final Four tournament last December. So let’s find out about Dale’s experience at the Combine over the next couple of days and then I’ll have the Douglass interview ready.

I leave tomorrow morning for the MLS Combine. The MLS Combine is an invitation-only Showcase event for the better college players in the country. I was asked to coach one of the four all-star teams that are playing in the combine.

This came as a complete surprise to me. Often in the coaching business, you have a feel for what is coming at you or an indication of an honor headed your way. I remember I was driving to Davenport on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving when I got the call. I had my wife and two kids in the car; I was taking them to my in-laws for the weekend as I had a 6:00 AM flight. I was headed to Orlando for an ODP Event, another Holiday away when I got the invitation to go to Fort Lauderdale for the MLS Combine. I was told there will be 4 college coaches and 4 youth coaches who are matched up to coach teams at the combine. I was dumbfounded when I got off of the phone, absolutely speechless. I could not believe they found me at Metro United to help with the MLS!

As I packed tonight, I began thinking of the weekend and reviewing the itinerary. The importance of the task then began to sink in. This was not just an event where guys were coming in to play and have some scouts watch. The coaching staff from all of the MLS teams will be in Fort Lauderdale. I am sure that some international scouts will be there as well trying to pick off some young talent at a fair price. But this weekend is more. As a realist we look at competitive youth soccer as an opportunity to play at a collegiate level. But for the majority of young boys playing at a high select level, dreams of playing in the MLS or overseas is the motivation for training by themselves, for juggling, for running, etc. 99% of the players invited this weekend have been developed through the club system. Metro United is part of that club system. My task, just as always, do what is best for the best players and help all of them achieve what they deserve based on their talent, commitment, and drive.

Chris Loftus, a Metro alum, will be playing in the MLS Combine this weekend. Unfortunately, he is not on my team or I would make sure that he would start every game and hit all of the restarts! This is a big weekend for Chris, as he has limped through an injury filled senior year at Duke University. This is a chance for him to reignite the fire with some of the scouts who were turned on to him last year when he had a terrific junior season. Luke Kreamalmayer, another Metro alum, propelled his career by winning the MVP for this event 2 years ago. Luke went from unknown to one of the top draft picks in the league and starting the opening game for Real Salt Lake.

As much as this is a HUGE soccer moment in my life, it is also going to be a great homecoming of sort. I played at Florida International University, just down the road in Miami. I emailed Tommy, David and Jimmy my roommates from 24 years ago to try to get together and reminisce. Even more rewarding is that former Metro United standout Chris Norbet, who is completing medical school at University of Miami, has some free time and is going to meet me for dinner. I think that I will call Loftus up and get all three of us together. I think I will do a lot of head nodding as Chris is finishing med school, Chris finished Duke in 3 and ½ years in the pre med tract and aspires to be a Dr., and I am a soccer coach. While they are discussing hemoglobin and platelets, I will be injecting the similarities between sharks and minnows and passion games. This will be fun. For those a bit older you, will remember that when we were reaching a level and had a chance to travel to major events, it was mandatory for the kids to do journals, so I guess what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Maybe it will be good enjoyment for those in the club. Maybe it will inspire others to achieve!

Thanks Coach Schilly, I appreciate the opportunity to share your story with the readers. An a hat tip to Coach Nick Schmitt at Zizzersoccer.com who pointed me to the articles!asian escorts dubai

Power Outage

Sorry for the new look. I was in the midst of doing some back end upgrades last night when a 12 block section of downtown, including my office in the Vandivort, lost power. I’ve got some upgrades coming but they’ll have to wait until I get a block of time to complete them. Including my first advertiser (the pizza thing was a favor and test). top class escorts dubai

SIU-Edwardsville Aspires To Division I Status

There are a couple of stories coming out of Edwardsville IL that impact our local college teams. The SIU-Edwardsville Cougars have decided they want to be a Division I program.

From the St Louis Post-Dispatch article

After more than 15 months of deliberation and study, Chancellor Vaughn Vandegrift told the university’s Board of Trustees today that he was recommending that the school move up a notch to NCAA Division I athletics.

But it’s far from a done deal. The board must vote on the move and is expected to do so at its March 1 meeting.

Even if the Board agrees to the move, there is a one year buyout clause in the agreement with the Great Lakes Valley Conference. So there will be no change in the soccer schedules for the 2007 Fall season. The Cougars have attracted two players from local programs however, two of the top offensive threats we’ve seen recently. More on that later.

SIU-Edwardsville has been exploring this for awhile. And it won’t be cheap. $2 million is the estimate which equals approximately $150 per student (in increased fees). The report compiled by a Task Force to look into the possibility also notes that most programs spend more then estimated. And while the arguments on the STLsoccer.net message board are about the teams ability to compete at Division I, apparently no one is concerned that the Men’s team could face elimination like many programs in the region. The Missouri Valley Conference would appear to be the best bet, a nice addition that with the possibility of the University of Central Arkansas also entering the Conference would boost member programs to seven.

Other possibilities might include the Horizon League, the same Conference as the University of Illinois – Chicago Flames or maybe the Mid-Continent Conference, home of the Western Illinois Leathernecks, Oral Roberts and UMKC, regular MSU non-conference opponents.

For an inside look at the costs and potential benefits, check out the SIU-Edwardsville Intercollegiate Athletic Task Force (IATF) Outcome Table

At least $2,000,000 in additional operational costs, in 2006 dollars, excluding facility maintenance costs. This equates to an approximate $150 annual student fee increase. Resources for academic support services will need to be increased. Costs included in operational dollars above includes additional athletic academic advisor, additional 27 scholarships (assuming $13,000 per full scholarship), and classroom instruction – tutoring.

Conference entry and exit fees will vary depending on conference. GLVC Exit Fee equates to $25,000 and one year’s notice. Entry fee for Division I conferences varies from $50,000 to $200,000. To reclassify to Division I is a five year process. First year is a probationary period where teams still compete in Division II. The next four years teams compete in Division I, but are not eligible for NCAA championship competition. We expect travel costs to increase in the four year transitional phase or until accepted in conference.

According to NCAA personnel and NCAA reports most universities that have reclassified to Division I have experienced costs which were more expensive than planned.

More information can be found at the Task Force website.courtesan nyc