Yesterday evening I took my son Blake to his first training session at the newly formed Volusia United Soccer Association. My expectations were pretty high and I have to say I did enjoy the 90 minutes on the field assisting Coach Nick Monstanto with the 2009 players.
Nick is my son’s coach at Stetson FA, Blake thinks the world of him and he was super excited to know that Coach Monsanto was going to be his coach at VUSC as well.
OK, so what is the Volusia United Soccer Association?
It’s a new soccer organization in Volusia County created to allow clubs to work together to provide players increased opportunities to train and compete. It is not designed to merge or replace local clubs.
VUSA has been in the works for years, but only now the three presidents of Stetson FA, Southeast Volusia Soccer Club and the Port Orange Soccer Club have come together and cut a deal to work together, in expanding in many ways the game of youth soccer in our county.
The union of these three clubs has a purpose to augment the activities of local clubs rather than to detract from them. VUSA provides an additional weekly training opportunity on Wednesday where players can come together from all three clubs to train under the direction of qualified coaches. VUSA will provide opportunities to compete together in local club leagues and tournaments.
The 3 participating Volusia County youth soccer clubs agree that working together is more likely to produce much better results in youth athletes.
There had to be at least 150 youth soccer players on the field. It looked like going back in time 30 years during the glory days of Volusia Co. Soccer.
Entering the gate at the New Smyrna Beach Sports Complex fields I was right away greeted by from Southeast Volusia SC administrator Forest Beeman. Forest in just 5 minutes gave me a complete layout of the whole VUSA program. I let Forest know that our Goalkeeper academy will come in and assist the newly formed soccer association.
I walked into James Harden and Bill Hoffman DOC and President at the POSC. James and I spent a few moments together where he shared his plan to get as many of his club players into the newly formed program.
I also went over to say hi to coaches Nicole Roberts and Luis Camacio (both USSF B license holders). Nicole works side by side with the United States Soccer Federation and Florida Youth Soccer Association as an instructor, while Camacio has a massive background, playing first as a professional, coaching college soccer and for decades involved in youth soccer. Watching these two coaching together, is like being in the front row at your favorite bands concert!
Bart Sassnet from Daytona State Men’s Soccer was working with ZEE GK Coach Jeremiah Hansen over in the corner with a group of U19’s. Needless to say that I was very happy to see Bart, I consider him one of the most prepared soccer coaches in the state. This is why we always love to have Bart come out and work with our keepers from time-to-time.
It was great to see and chat with Daytona State Assistant Coach Jon Kinsler. With Jon’s presence Volusia United gains great technical depth.
Lastly I strolled over to the end of the complex, because on field 3 I noticed my good friend Emy Mazzola working with a large group of 2008’s. Coach Mazzola has played at all levels, he was my Son’s coach for 3 seasons at DYSC, both my son and myself are very grateful for his incredible devotion.
Old friends, great coaches and competent administrators. It felt good to be there, it was like being at one of my Friday goalkeeper academy sessions, it was a great feeling 🙂
I’m also very happy to see that all the bad apples were not included in this program. Yes, because there are some (self proclaimed) soccer coaches in our county that are bad for development, drama queens, pathetic individuals that are rowing against the project! By keeping these low-life individuals permanently out of the picture will only help this program grow!
Towards the end of the evening. I did stop for a second to take a very good look at my surroundings, I have to admit, it all looked a little “unreal”, because never have I seen that many qualified coaches and that amount of players all working on 3 soccer fields. Driving back home however, it did sink into me that this actually could work!
The layout and the plan looked great, but what about the price? How much will it cost to keep your child in this newly formed soccer organization? $1,500 per season? Well they’re keeping the cost affordable for local soccer families and the tuition fee is $100 per season. No contracts, no hidden fees, just one hundred bucks!
So, it is also good to notice that it’s not about the money, no one is going to liner their pockets with this.
I have personally always been against franchises taking over clubs. GPS in Ormond Beach and FE in Port Orange, they never last, they’re out to scrape the barrel and in both cases I was totally right!
This however is a union, it’s different. Each of the three youth soccer clubs keep their name and identity. It’s a well orchestrated cooperation and if the three administrations can keep getting along, it’s going to be a long-term success!