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There are more kids playing competitive soccer now than ever
“There are more kids playing competitive soccer now than ever and it seems to be a trend that won’t stop anytime soon,’’ says Damion Frederick, Missouri Rush’s club secretary and communication director, when Ole Olson sat down with him to discuss the club, soccer in St. Louis and the SLYSA league for slysa.org. “SLYSA has come a long way in the last 5 years or so. The facility is amazing and the competition level is right for everyone. In many age groups there are 5 tiers of competition. That really allows all players to find success.”
Club Name: Missouri Rush
Geographic Area served: St. Louis
Age Groups served: U5-U19
Tell me about your Club.
We offer the most robust program for the most reasonable prices in the metro area. Five night a week club training, the best training staff in the city, coach’s education, and the best tournaments around
How is the Club approaching player development?
We are working to really spend time developing individual skills at the younger ages and develop a love of the game. We feel like that love will translate to more passion for tactical training as the players get older.
How do you measure the development?
Nationally, Rush has a pretty well established evaluation model and many tools to help. We really try to encourage our coaches to develop themselves so they are better equipped to honestly evaluate their players.
Discuss goal-setting within the Club? What role does competition have?
Competition allows you to see where you stand. It has to be balanced though. Rush looks for a 6-3-1 record every ten games. You are trying to constantly challenge yourself and find success along the way. It also needs to be balanced with training and free play. There has to be time for kids to work on skills and enjoy the game without the pressure of winning or losing.
Is there a Recreational or Competitive team choice within the Club? At what age group?
At U12 we start to make the distinction. We look to encourage players to play with and against like skilled players. But, at the end of the day, soccer is a beautifully fun sport that should be enjoyed by all and we allow that at Rush.
What role does SLYSA play in achieving your Club goals?
SLYSA has come a long way in the last 5 years or so. The facility is amazing and the competition level is right for everyone. In many age groups there are 5 tiers of competition. That really allows all players to find success.
What other organizations is the Club involved with, such as US Club Soccer and MRL?
ODP, 20 players this year. MRL, limited but looking to increase. US Club, some teams register this way, some players do as well to make guest playing for other Rush clubs easier. Our affiliation with Rush is the biggest.
What role do the other organizations play in achieving Club goals?
Rush offers players the opportunity to see that soccer is bigger than St. Louis. We have kids playing all over the country and all over the world through Rush. This is something that is unique to us and something that no other club can offer.
What Tournaments will you be participating in this season?
Our Mother’s Day Classic and College Showcase is the largest tournament in Missouri. This year we will top the 300 team mark again. It is the most exciting event in Missouri with teams from all over the region participating in, what we like to call, a festival type atmosphere. As a club we will have teams all over the place. Open Cup in Alabama, PDT in Phoenix, FC Pride, Lobo Rush in Memphis, Kentucky Fire in Louisville, Tennesee United in Nashville, Burlington IA, we sent some kids to the Players Showcase in Vegas. We have teams in every local tournament.
What is the biggest change you’ve seen in the St Louis Club environment?
The numbers. There are more kids playing competitive soccer now than ever and it seems to be a trend that won’t stop anytime soon.
How can parents best impact their child’s development?
Allow them to fail without fear. If you spend a few minutes watching a youth soccer game you will quickly see that many parents are very critical. I know that all parents want what is best for their kiddos and they want them to be the best at whatever they do, but some kids are paralyzed with fear of making a mistake because they don’t want to upset mom and dad. It is sad really. When we were kids we did most of our developing in local parks and playgrounds with no coaches, referees, or parents. We were just with our friend having fun trying out stuff we saw the pros do the night before. That doesn’t happen anymore. We have to figure out a way to let kids just play.