FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It never hurts to learn from the best.
That’s exactly what many of the region’s top youth soccer coaches had the chance to do last week during the New England Revolution’s first-ever Coaching Development Night. Held at Gillette Stadium, the three-hour event provided the opportunity for local youth coaches to interact directly with the coaching staffs from both the Revolution’s first team and top-ranked Academy.
The evening included a series of interactive elements, including the chance to observe the Revolution Under-18 and Under-16 teams’ training session, while first-team head coach Jay Heaps and his staff offered their thoughts on the session and insights into their own training methods to guests.
“The coaching night was a terrific opportunity for youth coaches,” said Debbie Linder of Newton Youth Soccer, one of approximately 400 coaches to attend the event. “It allowed us to see a well-run practice and gave us drills that we could modify for our teams.
“More impressive was the access we had to some of the best coaches in the country. The Revolution is known for being accessible and friendly to their fans, but still, being able to walk up to (goalkeeper coach) Remi Roy and ask questions about goalkeeping for my U11 boys was pretty amazing.”
Following the training session on the Gillette Stadium field, formal presentations continued in the Putnam Club, where Director of Youth Development Bryan Scales and Revolution Academy Director Deven Apajee broke down the session which had just unfolded and fielded questions from those in attendance.
Local youth coaches were also treated to a presentation by Heaps and his staff, which not only detailed the ideology behind the club’s training methods, but also the day-to-day workings of a professional team as they answered attendees’ questions.
“The Revolution Coaching Development Night gave all in attendance an inside look at the range of offerings in the Revolution player development program,” said Joe Cummings, Chief Executive Officer of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. “The entire Academy staff along with head coach Jay Heaps took part and provided an excellent example of a quality training session. The NSCAA is pleased to partner with the New England Revolution in bringing quality coach education programming to the youth coaches in New England.”
The event was considered an unqualified success by Revolution staff and local youth coaches alike, who all share the common goal of properly developing youth players in the New England region. Following the first-ever Coaching Development Night, those youth coaches in attendance will now go about the task of implementing the lessons learned into their own training sessions and teaching methods.
And if you’re a local youth coach who missed out on the event, there’s no cause for concern. The club is already considering hosting similar events in the future.
“I hope it was a worthwhile event for all of the coaches in attendance,” said Scales. “I think it gave them a little picture of the things we feel are important when developing and preparing young soccer players for the highest level. This is a long-term process that requires patience, a clear vision on how kids learn, and the ability to tune out many of the ‘distractions’ that can rear their ugly head in youth sports. It was a fun night for our players and we look forward to doing it again.”