Volusia County Could Be an Amazing Platform for Youth Soccer, but…

ZEE Goalkeeper Academy Florida - Goalkeeper Training, Camps and Clinics > Blog > Youth Soccer > Volusia County Could Be an Amazing Platform for Youth Soccer, but…

It starts from the very top, with the coordinators of these various youth soccer clubs in the county. There is no cooperation with one another, in the past they have tried but every attempt to create anything that could take soccer to the next level in Volusia County has failed.

Because of the “Small Town Mentality” we have seen over the past 10 years hundreds of children losing their love for the most popular sport worldwide and moving on to other fast-growing activities in the region (Basketball, Volleyball and Lacrosse).

Once, where each of the local clubs could count on 10-15 (or more) teams, they now have 4 or 5. Teams split in various age groups, some teams without any subs.

Then we have the kids that did not lose interest, they have all moved on to serious soccer clubs that offer a solid program. These programs offer regional, state and national leagues (FAL, ECNL and MLS Next).

I see it as sloppy! The local clubs are not using social media and the very few times they do, they use it wrong. It’s like they don’t give a crap, they post something because someone told them to do so. That’s how it reads out.

Poor content and wording, and even a social media account that brags about a win for the town’s high school soccer team!!! It’s simply rural, local, poor quality… nothing!

Social media platforms are an open door to the public and can be a massive tool to feed your organization. Information about your club and what you offer is gold to parents seeking an alternative.

Remember though, that this kind of youth soccer experience starts from the top, from the elements that make the final decisions. The elements that hire the coaching staff and lay out a yearly growth plan. They are to blame for the lack of all the elements required to have a prospect of success.

Our Goalkeeper Academy is located in Volusia County. So, are we “atypical” from all other soccer organizations? No! We are just doing it the right way!

I was at a soccer complex today and noticed the local club was hosting a summer soccer camp. A camp that I had no idea was happening…
I didn’t count the campers, but there were no more than 20 field players and one goalkeeper, the child was easy to identify because he was wearing a ZEE Goalkeeper Academy jersey 🙂

20 campers total, soccer players of all positions: Goalkeepers, Defenders, Midfielders and Forwards. 2 weeks ago our Goalkeeper Academy hosted a goalkeeper camp at the same complex… 40 goalkeepers!

Zee Goalkeeper Academy Camp - Port Orange Florida

I’m a very observant person and I did notice that the club had provided for this camp 20 soccer balls, a few cones and were using corner flags for agility poles. They had nothing else on hand.

Our goalkeeper academy up to date has invested $62,240 in soccer/goalkeeper equipment. All the equipment needed to help our students understand and improve drastically in their goalkeeping. Our inventory is more complete than what any MLS team has on-hand.

This past January we hosted in Port Orange a Goalkeeper Clinic with “BOTH” goalkeeper coaches from the Orlando City MLS team and this Fall we will host another soccer clinic that will involve all the Orlando City technical staff and again it will be held proudly in Port Orange.

Port Orange 2019: We organized a charity event to raise funds for the Help a Diabetic Child Foundation. We wanted to invite every Volusia County soccer organization to be a part of it. Daytona State College and Stetson University Men’s Soccer brought all of their players, Daytona Soccer Club (Daytona Rush USL2) was present with all of their coaches. Stetson SA, Port Orange SC, Surf and Deltona Youth sent their coaches. Even Orlando City and South Orlando sent a coach each to represent their club. But there always has to be one… The Ormond Beach SC “via-email” refused our invitation stating as I quote: The board declined your invitation as we do not participate in these kind of events out of Ormond Beach. I was totally shocked!

However the event was a massive success, we raised thousands of dollars for the foundation thanks also to sponsors like Papa John’s Pizza of Port Orange, Select Sports America, LoBosco’s, Soccer Innovations and Orlando Health. The City of Port Orange did not charge us for the rental of the complex and assisted us during the clinic with their Parks Staff and Administrators.

This past winter season the City of Port Orange Parks and Recreational department put together a soccer rec program with over 800 children, a huge success, but not unexpected! It was well advertised, it was put together by professionals in sports management and well organized all the way through the process. That’s how it’s done!

This is not about demographics, as we have proven as a soccer organization the location is perfect. It’s more about the poor quality most of the others have to offer!

My son and I went to watch one of our academy goalkeepers play a game in the GCF league. The quality of the game was horrible (and I’m being generous stating this), to the point where my son whispered that the home team couldn’t execute more than 3 consecutive passes. This caught my attention, and in the remaining 25 minutes of the game, the home team actually did not manage to pass the ball more than twice without the ball being recovered by the opponent team.

The situation I witnessed was frustrating and sad to see. Our academy goalkeeper did not deserve to play at such a low level.  After the game I told his parents that I think he would have a better chance and a positive experience elsewhere. Unfortunately many families do not have the time or the economics to place their child in a larger and much more professional organization.

Volusia county is a stunning place to live, we have the parks, we have the amazing weather that permits us to play soccer all year round. There should be summer soccer camps in every town with thousands of participants. While the boys and girls enjoy learning the game of soccer, the parents can shop, dine and head off for a few hours to the beach!

What would be the best solution to bring back soccer to Volusia County? How about an organization that comes in and buys up all 5 FYSA licenses and creates one big club? Practically impossible! (and I’m sure even illegal), but that would be the best solution for sure.

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