Over the past couple of months, I’ve had the chance to learn, report and write about the development of youth soccer in the United States. For my latest project, I took a look at one New England Revolution Academy player, Zachary Herivaux. Born in Osaka to a Japanese mother and Haitian father, Zach has played and trained all over the world. Check it out
A big thanks to the Herivaux family for their help and cooperation and for being nice enough to welcome me into their home.
Earlier this week, the New England Revolution U16 team got back from the Gauteng Future Champions Tournament in Johannesburg, South Africa. New England’s young guns came back having posted the best result from an American team at the tournament, finishing sixth out of 12 clubs at the tournament.
This morning I got a chance to speak with Revs U16 Coach and Director of Youth Development Bryan Scales about the tournament and the team’s experience in the Rainbow Nation.
Danny Apajee celebrates his goal against Aspire Academy with other Revolution players. Photo by New England Revolution
Read it after the jump!
Pictured: the money US parents spend on youth sports...Well not really, but it's still a lot.
For anyone who’s been involved in any kind of youth sports, we all know the drill: parents have their kids register or try out for a team so they’ll stay in shape, stay out of trouble and maybe stay off the phone or computer for an hour or two a day. And once those guardians sign on the line which is dotted (Glengarry Glen Ross anyone?), they’re almost always scribbling out a sizable check so little Johnny or Suzie can nail a couple lay-ups or record a few hits when the weekend comes.
This is the system here in America and it often transcends talent. In other words, if you can knock down jumpers like Ray Allen or execute defense-shredding passes à la Xavi, that’s terrific! But even then the dirty maxim “pay to play” is still the norm.
However, part of the USSF Development Academy’s initiative to nurture the next, even better, wave of great American footballers is for DA clubs to cover as much of a player’s expenses as possible.
Sometimes though, this is easier said than done. Only a minority of the 78 clubs manage to be cost free (shameless self-promotion: check out my Development Academy map and learn more). Continue reading
As you may have seen in past blog posts, the Revs U-16 team will travel to South Africa in the next week to compete in the Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament. The invitation to compete in this competition puts them in a class with some of the best youth academies in the World.
A young player competing in the 2009 Future Champions of soccer tournament in Soweto. > (Shivambu/Getty)
Past clubs to compete in the tournament include: Corinthians (Brazil), Club America (Mexico), DC United, Everton FC, Manchester United, Boca Juniors (Argentina), Paris Saint-Germain, and FC Barcelona.
Before New England’s young guns head off to JoBurg, I caught up with two of the players making the trip. Here’s a bit of what Christian Sady and Kevin Herrera had to say:
Hey all, sorry it’s been so quiet here at The Kids Are Alright. If it were up to me (and if I had 24/7 access to a car), I’d be reporting about the Revs Academy significantly more.
I have, however, been working on this NPR-style radio piece about US Soccer’s recent decision to extend the Academy season. Give it a listen and let me know what you think!
The Revolution today released their roster for the 2012 Future Champions Gauteng Tournament, which will be held the last week of March. Most of the U16 team is included in the roster and as far as I can tell, none of the 18s are on it. Here’s the press release:
Clube Atletico Mineiro from Brazil, last years tournament champions and the Revs' competition this year.
Take a moment and click through these photos of the Revolution’s young guns training at the Dana Farber Field House. Check eet.