Player development is the priority of our club

Updated: April 24, 2014

“Real St. Louis is a select soccer club in the Greater St. Louis area that provides players with the perfect environment to learn, develop, respect and love the game of futbol. Real St. Louis strives to be different than other clubs in the St. Louis area by providing high quality training with an individualized feel at an economical price. Our main goal is to grow and develop the individual player’s skills each year and encourage team work and good sportsmanship. Winning is important of course, but we want to inspire our kids to play, to get better and not always play to win,” said Nacho Novas when we at SLYSA.ORG talked to him about the club and soccer in St. Louis.

Club Name: Real STL
SLYSA Member (years): 2
Geographic Area served: Greater St. Louis area.
Age Groups served: U8 through U18

Tell me about your Club:
Our club provides high quality training with a hands-on approach. In the St. Louis landscape, large clubs are a dominating force designed to identify quality soccer players out of a large player pool. Many players therefore slip through the system. I like to have hands on approach that captures these players. Through individualized training in our small club environment the best is brought out in these players. Players are not just numbers but unique individuals that we mold into soccer players.

How is the Club approaching player development?
Player development is the priority of our club which is why we take an individualized approach to every player. We view every player as having potential to succeed and provide training that enables them to succeed while having fun. Training fundamental skills at the younger ages provides a “tool-box” that enables tactical training at older ages. Providing both team and club training allows player development through a variety of coaching methods that emphasizes both technical and tactical skills.

How do you measure the development?
Our coaching director, Chris Pruitt, has designed a “Soccer Skills Checklist” that assesses a players development in technical (i.e., passing, control, dribbling, heading, shooting, running with the ball, throw-ins, etc) as well as tactical (i.e., offense, defense, vision etc) skills. Player assessment is performed by each coach at the beginning of the season and again at the end of the season. Not only are these sheets used in player development but are also used to analyze and improve our coaching methodology. Although parents/players are interested in a win loss record, we believe providing exceptional technical and tactical skills to players at ALL ages is far more rewarding to their personal development both inside and outside of soccer.

Discuss goal-setting within the Club?
Our club focuses on developing not only soccer players but decent human beings. We believe setting individualized as well as team goals build not only successful soccer players but individuals that will succeed well into their adult lives. Currently, we provide a low cost training environment with an individualized approach to player development. As our club is relatively new to the St. Louis soccer scene, we hope to develop soccer players that impact both the local and national soccer levels as well as individuals that impact their community.

What role does competition have?
Competition builds character. Competition drives success. Although competition is essential to player development, it is not an end all. Our goal as a new club is to one day compete with the larger more established clubs in the area, however, in the short term we use competition to build successful players on and off the field.

Is there a recreational or competitive team choice within the Club?
No. We develop players interested in a competitive level of futbol and who have an interest in the game. There are many options for players who wish to play recreational soccer.

What role does SLYSA play in achieving your club goals?
SLYSA provides an opportunity that allows our players and teams to develop and test their abilities against other St Louis area teams. Although SLYSA is not perfect, they provide one of the best organized and run leagues in the St Louis area.

What other organizations is the Club involved with, such as US Club Soccer and MRL?
Currently we are not directly involved with either US Club Soccer, European organizations or the MRL. Due to the relatively short existence of our club, we have focused on player development rather than affiliations. We hope to pursue affiliations that aid in furthering our philosophy and player development goals.

What role do the other organizations play in achieving Club goals?
We currently partner with TASK (Team Activities for Special Kids) a non-profit sports program that provides athletic and social opportunities to kids with special needs and SPENSA (Special Needs Soccer Association) a non-profit St. Louis based soccer program for young people with disabilities. We believe these affiliations develop community relations and provide character building opportunities to our players. Many of our players have taken part in these functions and find it to be both a memorable and rewarding experience.

What Tournaments will you be participating in this season?
Our club will be holding a 4v4 tournament in July as a fun end of the season event. Our teams participate in both local and national tournaments and have shown success at both levels.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen in the St Louis Club environment?
The development of large soccer clubs and Academies has impacted the St Louis soccer community in both a positive and negative way. Although St Louis is a respected city for national player development, many potential players also fall between the cracks in the system.

How can parents best impact their child’s development?
As parents it’s important to remain positive. Even the smallest negative comments can be discouraging to a young athlete. Parents can represent the club in a respectable manner by, wearing spirit gear, cheering and help support your team in a positive way. Parents can also support the team by organizing healthy snacks for half time or after games. Parents should also support the coach and promote good sportsmanship.

What recent successes have you had in the older age groups?
We currently have a player that has made the regional ODP team for 3 years in a row. This exemplifies our philosophy of individualized training. We also have younger teams (U10 boys) that are competing and winning both local and national tournaments as well as competing at the U11 level in SLYSA. We believe in time, our players will begin to showcase their development at older ages.


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