DM: We are a girls club and we believe that our singular focus on girl’s soccer is what helps us stand out. Our program and our focus is always on what makes a girl want to play and enjoy the game from U7 to U18..
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Club Lists Top clubs are consistently developing great players and evolving the sport. We consider the overall club record at league, championships and tournaments. We evaluate regional and national strength. We also consider club and player development opportunities. Clearly, clubs are expected to foster player development, teamwork and leadership. Good clubs are dedicated to mental, physical, emotional and technical growth of their players. But today’s elite clubs are taking it to another level: Focused attention on injury prevention, player marketing, college Id. Top clubs demonstrate a broad adoption of new technologies in club development, including social media marketing and communication. They are active in their community by supporting matters like elimination of bias in the sport and building parks and facilities within their communities. They lead.
Team Lists We base our lists on league, championships and even top tournament results. We also consider the strength of overall competition. We observe showcase tournaments, but they are not definitive in our evaluation.
Coaches List Elite coaches are leaders in the game. They develop players, transform teams and have a proven record of success. We consider conference and tournament results. We consider overall strength of schedule.
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Our interview with GM David Mildrew
We recently sat down with Southern Cal Blues General Manager, David Mildrew to congratulate the club on being named THESOCCERLIST's number one girls club in youth soccer and to ask what makes Southern Cal Blues so successful.
DM: I think that the club’s reputation over time has had a lot to do with our quality of coaches. We attract coaches who know how to be successful coaching girls, many of whom have coached at the college level. We have good quality fields for our players: one facility for all of our programs. At other levels, the coach’s focus can be on fundraising and navigating the complexities of compliance. We want our coaches focused on player development. We think we have demonstrated leadership on how this should be done.
DM: Particularly on the girl’s side, I am very pleased with the impact ECNL (Elite Club National League) has had on the sport and how it has developed the game. Given the weather in California and other warmer regions of the country that allows for year round play, there was a perception that these clubs were somehow better. ECNL has shown good clubs across the country. This has increased competition and resulted in better quality of players. ECNL has had a strong influence on girl’s soccer.
DM: Sure. Teams are traveling more and it costs more. This can be a big financial obligation for families. Many families should evaluate whether rec level is better for their child. Also, club soccer has continued to grow every year and there is an increased demand for fields and as the sport continues to grow, you will find an even more competitive environment for scholarships.
DM: This is very important to us as well. We have worked with coaches from local universities like USC to show us some of the injury prevention techniques that they use, including stretching, warm ups and ACL injury prevention.
DM: We are committed to our girls and our program. Approximately 90-95% of our girls play at college at some level. We are proud of that.
Dave Mildrew is the General Manager at So Cal Blues. He started as a soccer dad and wanted to give back to the club after his daughters graduated. He has been with the program as a parent or administrator for over 20 years.
~ Charlotte Pasqual, Senior Writer
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Our interview with Bob Montgomery
New York Red Bulls is named #1 on THESOCCERLIST’s Best Clubs/Academies for Boys. We discussed the club’s success with Director of Youth Programs, Bob Montgomery.
BM: We have a fabulous ownership group that’s very supportive of our players. We have the most diverse and talented players in the country. We have a highly talented and experienced coaching staff. We have great parents and community support. All of this combined, has contributed to our success.
BM: We are proud that the Red Bulls have produced more US Youth National team players than any other academy. We were the first cost free academy in the country and we are fully funded and supported by the organization. Other clubs followed our model. We also provide excellent training at our facility in New Jersey. Our academy players also have access to our MLS team and coaching staff. There is an investment at all levels of the organization. Our management is unparalleled. Our future is bright.
BM: In order to be leaders, we must have a big emphasis on the development of the individual. Our coaches must be teachers. We want to develop good athletes, but also good people. Success requires both. This message is core to our entire organization and it comes from all levels of the organization.
BM: We can’t be comfortable resting on the top. We have to constantly refocus and reenergize our organization. With the emergence of new clubs in our region, we are seeing increased competition for top talent. We will have to remain competitive and continue our focus on developing top players to maintain our success.
BM: With the great success we are experiencing in the sport, top players are receiving plenty of well-deserved attention. However, International clubs are also taking note. They are coming to the US and attracting our top talent. We often invest a lot in the development of players, we have to find ways of keeping them in the US and developing their careers in the MLS, rather than losing them to clubs outside the US.
BM: Part of developing good players is developing good people. We want to give back to the community that supports us. Red Bulls is fortunate to be in a very diverse region of the country. We have worked with our community in many ways from volunteer efforts to camps. Some of our volunteer work has been in the area of autism awareness, breast cancer support and support of the homeless.
Bob Montgomery is the Director of Youth Programs at New York Red Bulls. He joined the club in 2007. He oversees the Red Bulls Player Development System, including RBNY’s Academy and Grassroots Training Program.
~ Charlotte Pasqual, Senior Writer