SLYSA is where our best Gateway teams play.

SLYSA is where our best Gateway teams play

Joe Reiniger, Executive Director at Gateway FC.

Tell me about your Club.
We are focused on letting the kids enjoy the game. We provide a quality environment, good coaching and facilities. We believe our growth speaks to our efforts.

How is the Club approaching player development (by age group)?
We pride ourselves on our coaching staff which includes aRein mix of paid Coaches and parent Coaches who have an extensive background in the game. The emphasis is ensuring that the kids are having fun, we want them to enjoy the game for a long time. The technical ability of the players is the base, or foundation, of everything we do. Recognizing that there are many levels we concentrate on ball work and individual skills to get them to the level we think they should achieve.

We are starting a new Youth Development program for our youngest players that will be headed by Shawn Petrowsky, a Granite City native who also has experience playing professionally in Germany. It will include our alumni players who will help work with the kids.

What role does competition have?

We want to have a competitive environment. Competition is fun for kids. We strive to create that fun environment that is enhanced by the introduction of games and competition. When we are running a training session, it’s amazing how focus is improved when there is a challenge introduced.

Is there a Recreational or Competitive team choice within the Club?
We work with each of our teams to find the best league for their needs, one that matches the skills and competitive level of the team. No one wants to win or lose by large margins.

What role does SLYSA play in achieving your Club goals?
The better teams in the St Louis area are playing in SLYSA and that is where our best teams play. With the improved bracketing process our teams are immediately challenged and can improve their game. Add in the improved facilities in St Charles and the addition of turf fields throughout the Metro area and the value has really increased. For the U16 Girls team I (Joe) coach, we are playing 9 of our 10 games on the Illinois side.

What Tournaments will you be participating in this season?
We choose tournaments that will help our High School players be seen by the college coaches they are most interested in. THe majority of players are looking to stay within an hour or two of home but Memphis, Kansas City and other Showcases are included during their four years with us.

We’ve also introduced a Mini Showcase of our own this year. We invited six area teams to join us at our Caseyville facilities (Reiniger Soccer Memorial Park, named for Joe and his sibling’s parents – where we played a pair of mini-games (45 minutes) that were observed by 14 area college coaches who were invited to scout the players involved. Lunch included a short training session for all of the players run by the Coaches which allowed them to see the kids in a realistic environment. We will repeat this effort in 2015, with sessions for the boys and the girls in February and August.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen in the St Louis Club environment?
The growth of the game has also led to it becoming more of a business. Running a Club with a large number of teams and the necessary facilities requires a business approach.

How can parents best impact their child’s development?
Let the Coaches do their job. Let them work with your child. For the most part, let the kids enjoy it, support them, cheer for them but otherwise be quiet.

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