Sometimes coaches are handicapped by the fact that game results are necessary

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Updated: March 20, 2014
Dave Geerling

“It’s worth noting in this discussion that sometimes coaches are handicapped by the fact that game results are necessary. To participate in the Premier League in SLYSA or MRL you need wins in order to be bracketed at the highest competitive levels. You also won’t get the players that might otherwise migrate to your team. So it can be a rock and a hard place when balancing development and winning.”

Dave Geerling, an alumni of the SLU Billikens (1985) where he played with Jim Kavanaugh, Tim Genovese and Kevin Groark among others, coaches a pair of teams that have been successful in Missouri and nationally in the case of the older squad. In 2013 the U13 boys (LF Caleca/Geerling) were the Missouri State Cup Champions in the U12 age group while the U18’s won the U.S. National XII Cup U17 age group after representing St. Louis in the National League during the Spring.

We discuss coaching, the state of the game, the value of high school soccer and other topics that make the audio interview a worthwhile listen to go with this summary.

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Click here to listen to the interview with Dave

Club Name: Lou Fusz Soccer
Geographic Area served: Metropolitan St Louis

Tell me about your Club
Lou Fusz SC is a 1st class organization that offers a place for everybody who wants to play soccer. Our Club facility offers 4 turf fields currently with 4 more planned, providing a quality practice and playing surface that enhances player development.

How is the Club approaching player development?
I measure development by the quality of the technical skills. We work on that as much as possible and then move to tactical skills. The difference in quality of the younger group now compared to where the older squad was at the same age is significant and reflects the changes that have occurred.

It’s worth noting in this discussion that sometimes Coaches are handicapped by the fact that game results are necessary. To participate in the Premier League in SLYSA or MRL you need wins in order to be bracketed at the highest competitive levels. You also won’t get the players that might otherwise migrate to your team. So it can be a rock and a hard place when balancing development and winning.

The older boys have started practice recently following the long winter and an early tournament in Virginia showed the difference in their game shape compared to other teams from warmer climates. To their credit, they’ve returned and only want to train more rather than taking a break.

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Half time speech for Dave’s U18 boys team.

What role does competition have?
At the premier level what you find is that kids really want to play. At the younger age, the boys are working with the ball at a much greater level than even their older brothers that are in High School now. Coaching has improved across all of the clubs in town and those two factors are having the biggest impact.

What role does SLYSA play in achieving your Club goals?
SLYSA has become a much better organization. A key factor has been the work of the bracketing committee, which I’m a part of. For kids to be successful they should play at an appropriate level and the feedback I’m getting is that we are doing a better job of achieving that within SLYSA.

What other organizations is the Club involved with?
Our teams play in the Midwest Regional League (MRL) which has three tiers now (from two last year). You get to travel a bit and see better teams regionally. That in turn allows you to see what you need to work on inside your team. Success in MRL leads to National League opportunities which LF Geerling and LF Wipke played in 2013.

What Tournaments will you be participating in this season?
Disney is a great tournament as well as the Blue Chip event in Ohio. We look for the places the college coaches are going and it helps our boys get exposed to the programs they are interested in.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen in the St Louis Club environment?
Money and the number of teams. When I played select, teams were U12, U14, U16 and U19. You often played up, the fees were much lower and the facilities have changed dramatically. Playing on carpet is a big change from St Ferdinand Park in the earlier days.

How can parents best impact their child’s development?
Put your child in the situation that best suits them. Find a team at a level that allows them to play and be successful and grow from that level.

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