Sporting St. Louis is taking its game to the next level!
The Club is excited to announce the creation of its Academy Division to be fielded in the Fall of 2017. The Club’s continued rapid growth has resulted in some of its top players being spread across multiple teams. For some of our competitors, this is standard operating procedure. It will not be for Sporting STL.
Technical Director Tommy Howe and the rest of the Club’s leadership are determined that players train and play with similarly skilled players. “Kids improve at different rates,” Howe said. “When you have highly skilled players training with players who have a lower skill level, it’s not fair to either group. Each player should be developing at the level that is most appropriate for his or her skill set.”
The Academy will bring together the most talented players at the various age groups, for both girls and boys, to create the Club’s top teams. Unlike other organizations, Sporting STL will not apply the Academy designation to just any team. If the technical staff determines that a particular age group lacks the necessary talent, that age group will not field an Academy team until the standards are met.
The Academy designation will begin with the U12 age group. For the age groups younger than U12, players will also be grouped according to skill level to the extent possible, given the rapidly changing physical abilities of younger players.
In addition to Tommy Howe, the Academy will be led by Academy Director Pete Collico. Jeff Stevens and Jim McPherson will oversee the girls’ program.
The Academy staff will soon begin the process of identifying those players who belong on Academy teams. The first step will be ID sessions this spring. ID sessions will also be held during the summer for players new to the club, along with those previously identified.
For those players identified, joining the Academy will be voluntary. Further, to limit the disruption to existing teams, any player that joins the Academy will be given the opportunity to continue playing for his or her original team in addition to Academy duties.
For those players who are not brought into the Academy at the outset, they will be allowed to continue to develop according to their individual abilities and personal drive. The Academy will stand as an achievable goal, and deserving players will always have the opportunity to be added to Academy rosters.
High standards will also be applied to Academy coaches. Academy teams will be helmed by those coaches who are committed to the overall success of the Club and its philosophy of player development and who demonstrate an ability to cultivate players with the technical mastery to play at the highest levels.
Sporting STL has the talent to compete with anybody. Our Academy system will make sure that we do.