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Win or lose on the field, young athletes learn that staying active is a key to achieving and maintaining a balanced lifestyle long after the final whistle has blown.


MARKETING/SPONSORSHIP TIPS AND TRENDS By Phil Summers, Executive Director VYSA THE ALL-IMPORTANT ANNUAL SPONSORSHIP RECAP REPORT Annual or bi-annual fulfillment reports to your sponsor(s) is a critical element in the success of your club’s sponsorship process. Sponsors want them done but most clubs fail to supply them or fall short in their delivery of information. One thing sponsorship executives on the selling side know is that the consistent message from many sponsors is that annual recap reports are the single most important element in the buyerseller relationship. In the highly competitive sponsorship market of youth sports, sponsors expect that what you have sold them is being delivered and they expect metrics and other information to back that delivery up. Often, when time comes to renew a sponsor, a club or league is surprised when the sponsor declines to renew. The sponsor on the other hand declines because they cannot quantify what the club delivered for the investment. Here are a few tips on successfully managing the fulfillment reporting process and increasing the chances of renewal. Remember that the single most proven fact about sports sponsorship sales is that it is far easier to sell that first sponsorship term than renew that same sponsor.  

Ask your sponsor to find out what they want in a fulfillment report. It’s not a one-size-fitsall model. Some will want more, some less in terms of detail. Focus particularly on over-delivery. When you over-deliver (social media interactions, sampling at events etc.), make sure you drive that point home in the recap and do it as creatively as possible. Metrics can be intimidating to some but they are critical in today’s youth sponsorship environment. Impressions, interactions, PV’s, SOV, open rates are critically important with most sponsors. Specific media metrics aren’t hard and are available (i.e., Google Analytics) and social media platforms offer sophisticated audience measurement tools. These should all be monitored monthly so that trends can be identified, acted upon and reported to the sponsor in their fulfillment report Consider adding video to your fulfillment report highlighting events the sponsor was activated against. The days of a dry PowerPoint report are over and sponsors expect you to be more creative and interested in keeping their business. Avoid waiting until the end of the year or event to prepare your post fulfillment report. Make the process of accumulating information for the report a monthly task. This will help with your staff’s time when it comes time to deliver and will help create a more robust report.

Phil Summers is the Executive Director of VYSA and an Adjunct Lecturer in the College of Business at the University of Mary Washington where he teaches courses in Sports Management and Advertising. Prior to VYSA, Phil held senior marketing positions at the National Football League, Sirius Satellite Radio and MSG Varsity.


VYSA and US Youth Soccer are providing its members FREE access to Abuse Prevention Training Systems With the passage of Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 in February amateur athletic organizations must provide training to adult members who are in contact with minor amateur athletes. US Youth Soccer and VYSA have partnered with Abuse Prevention Systems to offer a series of training videos on preventing Child Sexual Abuse.

The training videos are now available to all VYSA member clubs at NO COST! This is a $500-$5,000 savings but more importantly free management and access to training for your staff and coaches. The new Safe Sports Act requires all adults working with amateur athletes to be trained on preventing child sexual abuse! The Awareness Training identifies misconceptions and replaces them with valuable information to protect children  Personalized email and training link  9 training segments (1 hour total) Completion quiz and certificate To learn more, watch introductory videos and sign-up, CLICK HERE Use coupon code: usys2017 A VYSA Board Committee is actively working on developing a Sexual Abuse Prevention Policy. Once finalized and approved by the Board of Directors the policy will be shared with all clubs. Contact Krista at the VYSA office with any questions: (540) 693-1430 x223


The ODP INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE By Gordon Miller, VYSA Technical Director

There are tremendous amounts of ingredients that go into a player’s long term soccer development. Well-structured progressive training sessions over a long period of time, with an educated and well-informed staff, play a huge role. Who the players play with, who they play against, how often they play and where they play on the field are also critical factors. However, developing players is not an exact science and, despite some outlandish claims in our soccer community to the contrary, there is never a guarantee of a successful outcome. Independent practice, internal drive, work ethic and character are all very difficult aspects to get a handle on. You can increase the odds of a player turning out by providing these key elements, but I would never bet the house on a so-called “can’t miss”. Recently, three foreign trips allowed Virginia players to gain invaluable lessons that come with such junkets. On March 26-April 4, four VYSA ODP teams traveled to France for what was the organization’s 14th annual overseas trip. The 2004 and 2003 boys and the 2004 and 2002 girls visited Paris and Bordeaux for four days each. The East Regional ODP (selection of the best players from the 15 NE state teams) 2002 and 2003 teams sported four Virginia players each -Marc Bonnaire, Ubaldo Morales, Alexxio Gonzalez and Henry Van Wincoop for the 02’s and Josh Inouye, Bryce Peacock, Masai Brown-Andrews and Sean Vaghedi for the 2003’s - on their recent Scottish tour April 7-15. The final excursion was to Toronto, Canada, on April 18-22 for the 2002 VYSA boys and girls. They traveled north of the border to play top Canadian club teams from the ethnic-rich city of 3. 5 million known as “The Big Smoke.” While the ODP is a highly-regarded national program that prides itself on identifying, training and exposing players to a higher level, it goes without saying that the personal development that the players get from these overseas trips is an added bonus. To go along with playing foreign competition on foreign soil, there are so many other aspects that players and staff alike personally benefit from.


Encountering and dealing with a different language, time change, currency, travel (away from their parents), customs and food give players the opportunity to mature. Some have never been on a plane before. A lot have never traveled outside of the country, and never mind without their parents. They must get themselves up, be on time for meetings and meals, deal with the dynamics of living, eating and preparing with a team, learn how to say please and thank you in French (note: it might have been harder in Scottish) and in general begin to look after themselves off the field without the normal crutches of home. Along with the soccer, the French excursion allowed the players to experience, amongst other things, the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees, a high-speed train and the League 1 French Cup final between PSG and Monaco. The Scottish trip allowed the players to see Glasgow, Edinburgh, the William Wallace memorial in Stirling and have a guided tour of Celtic Park. The Canadian-bound teams, while the trip was brief, also got exposure to the metric system and toured one of the top cities in North America. One of the biggest responsibilities that we have as a youth sport organization is to aid in the overall development of the children in our charge. While statistics show that the majority of them will not turn out to be professional players, we can, in some small ways, help them to become more wellrounded people. By exposing youngsters to a new way of playing, a different way of looking at things, a new culture, and all that it brings, they grow as individuals and come back that much richer for it. For more info and many more photos, please click here for the VA ODP Travel Blog.


CLUB SPOTLIGHT: Loudoun Soccer Club Loudoun Soccer has started 2018 with a couple of major additions to our staff, which has brought excitement as we continue to move forwards as a club. We are excited to welcome back John O’Hara as the Director of Coaching after his stint with the Under-17 U.S. Men’s National Team, where they reached the knockout rounds of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in India last October. John coached for our club previously and our membership is thrilled he has returned. Colin Smith joins Loudoun Soccer from Georgetown University Athletics, taking up the mantle from Chris Pittman, who is now enjoying retirement in Florida. We are thrilled to have Colin with us and know he will continue the great success our club has enjoyed in recent years. One of our major projects for 2018 is the Loudoun Sports Park Master Plan. Work has already begun to add a fourth field to our complex, which will greatly enhance our training and game capacity. Later this year a new entrance will be added to improve traffic flow. We continue to focus our efforts towards Developing Champions For Life! on and off the field. We have recently begun to utilize our U.S. Soccer Development Academy and travel teams in helping with our TOPSoccer program, where teams come out for an hour or two each weekend to build friendships and share in the joy that soccer can bring to everyone. Our Junior Board of Directors continues to thrive with the opportunities presented to them to impact our club and our local area. The Fall Food Drive brought in close to 400 pounds of food that went to fill local food pantries over the holidays. The Junior Board is also in charge of the Annual FIFA Tournament. This will be the second edition of this President’s Day event, designed to build club culture and comradery in a fun-filled atmosphere. Our Financial Assistance Program continues to expand each year, putting smiles on faces by offering local kids the opportunity to play the game they love at an appropriate level when they otherwise would not have a chance to do so. The expansion of this program is only available due to the wonderful continued support of our membership and sponsors. Finally, we continue to expand our seasonal supplemental program offerings to further provide our players with an opportunity to develop. These programs push our players’ boundaries while encouraging them to live our Core Values of Fun! Integrity, Fairness, Teamwork and Stewardship.


For Immediate Release VYSA NAMES NATURAL GRASS ADVISORY GROUP™ AS OFFICIAL NATURAL GRASS FIELD ADVISOR OF VYSA AND THE PUBLIX VIRGINIA SOCCER TRAINING CENTER Spotsylvania County, Va. April 19, 2018 The Virginia Youth Soccer Association (VYSA) announced today that they have entered into a exclusive partnership with Natural Grass Advisory Group™ (NGAG). As a VYSA partner, NGAG will support VYSA field maintenance with supervision and regular surface testing of Publix Virginia Soccer Training Center (PVSTC) fields to increase playability and consistency. NGAG will also provide advisory for grass field maintenance and construction to VYSA member clubs through annual seminars and “turfgrass tips” to help increase durability and safety of their grass fields. The partnership provides NGAG with sponsorship assets with VYSA and at PVSTC. The partnership between Virginia Youth Soccer Association and Natural Grass Advisory Group™ ensures that Publix Virginia Soccer Training Center fields remain among the best in the USA. The partnership also will have a positive impact for VYSA clubs across the state as VYSA and NGAG develop best practices and standards for field improvement and safety. This reinforces VYSA’s focus on field safety and athlete experience with the surfaces and positions VYSA as a leader by being one of first state associations in the youth sports landscape to take pro-active action in developing standards for grass field surfaces. VYSA President Denise Edwards commented: “We are pleased to enter into this ground breaking agreement with the Natural Grass Advisory Group and look forward to sharing their expertise with our membership”. Natural Grass Advisory Group™ Founder and Lead Advisor Jerad Minnick said: “It is so exciting to grow our relationship with VYSA, building up from our initial work together in support of the PVSTC establishment. VYSA is undoubtedly one of the most forward-thinking organizations in youth sports. So it is a privilege to be affiliated with VYSA and to be able to help VYSA members make their grass fields more consistent while also increasing usage time. About the Virginia Youth Soccer Association: The Virginia Youth Soccer Association (VYSA) www.vysa.com is a member of the US Soccer Federation and US Youth Soccer representing over 170,000 youth players, coaches and administrators in the Commonwealth of Virginia and DC. VYSA oversees programs including the Olympic Development Program (ODP), the National Championship Series (State Cup), the VYSA Academy Program, Coaching Education and more. About the Publix Virginia Soccer Training Center: The Publix Virginia Soccer Training Center (Publix VSTC) www.vysatc.com is owned and operated by VYSA and is one of the finest soccer training facilities on the East Coast. Situated on 50 acres of former farmland in Spotsylvania County half way between Washington, DC and Richmond, the facility boasts nine FIFA regulation fields and will include a stadium. The facility will be the future home of VYSA’s State offices. About Natural Grass Advisory Group™: Natural Grass Advisory Group™ (NGAG) is the USA’s only independent support firm solely for natural grass sports fields. Working with clients world-wide, from Parks to Pros, NGAG provides advisory, education, data analytics, and management for improving quality and increasing use of natural grass fields. All NGAG work is based in data from a proprietary surface testing system created specifically to simplify diagnosis of field issues w numbers and maps. NGAG results prove that #GrassCanTakeMore® www.NaturalGrass.Org Twitter: @GrassRevolution IG: NaturalGrassAdvisoryGroup


VYSA ODP TAKES ON PARIS AND BORDEAUX By Jessica Cottet, VYSA Manager of Technical Department Operations The 2002 & 2004 girls and 2003 & 2004 boys crossed the Atlantic on March 26th for an adventure second to none. With the 04 girls arriving first, after midnight VA time (6:30AM French time,) we were greeted by our hosts and set off to visit Paris as our sister and brother teams were set to arrive later that day. A drizzly day and reminiscent DC-traffic welcomed us as we did a bus tour of the major Parisian haunts. A rainy morning greeted our weary group on day two. A walking tour of the Louvre, Champs-Élysées, and the Arc de Triomphe were on the docket and as I’m sure you can imagine, lots of picture opportunities were not dampened by the European rain! The 04 girls kicked off an evening game against a wellorganized French U16 team from VGA Saint-Maur and the 02 girls battled in an open match against their U18 squad. Though the scoreboard was not favorable to VA, a shared post game snack with our hosts featured a ton of laughs and celebratory scenes as both teams exchange hugs and high 5's. Day four was the girls’ rest day! After some AM stretching/review sessions it is on to the main event of the day; sightseeing and shopping! We went over our original plan that got us rained on a couple of days ago ChampsÉlysées, the Spanish Quarter, and Sacré-Coeur. The boys get in more sightseeing in the morning and then head to take on Evry FC! The nerves and weariness must be wearing off as both teams looked more cohesive than their first showing and seem to be gelling well. Averaging a little over 140 miles per hour on the TGV, we make the 7 hour car ride to Bordeaux in 2 hours and 15 minutes! It was a pretty cool experience through the French country side on the high speed train. A truly local lunch with the choice of duck, salmon, steak, or chicken and french fries and then some sightseeing for the boys as the girls made it over to the Regional Football Centre. That evening, PSG vs Monaco was the must have ticket for the day with fans streaming in from all over France. The pre-game doesn't disappoint with fireworks and a laser light show. PSG eventually run away 3 nil with goals in the 2nd half to win a very important trophy.


Big day for VA ODP coming up! All teams play... The Regional Football Center. The home of FC Girondins de Bordeaux. If you are a fan of World Football, the following names will mean something to you, Zidane, Dugarry, Lizarazu, Giresse, Tigana--all played on the pitches of this historic club. The 03 boys do well to win their encounter vs FC Bordeaux, the 04 boys cling to the thoughts of keeping the score at 2 nil in their loss to FC Bordeaux, the 02 girls lose a bruising match against FC Toulouse who traveled 3 hours for the game, and the 04 girls drop a close 2-1 result to an intelligent FC Toulouse. We return home after a busy day, thinking about the sand and tomorrow's trip to the coast - the Girls to a local hotel and the Boys to the apartments at the Sport Schools. We start our day with a trip to see the largest sand dunes in Europe, dip our feet in the ocean, hang out for lunch in a beach town, and play our last batch of games. Some chose to picnic by the water, others frequented the local shops and restaurants, and then it’s to the fields for an afternoon match! The 03 boys, 04 boys, and 04 girls will play their final matches at FCE Mérignac Arlac. All 3 matches to kick off at the same time and what an organization to host us! An absolutely mammoth pan of Paella was ready and waiting as our teams exited the pitch. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the Tour! Our last 2 days in France were at a slower pace with some sightseeing, goodbyes, and then what now seems like a short trip across the Atlantic. Best wishes to our hosts and guides! ‘Til we see you again..."Bon match!"


VYSA COACHING EDUCATION TAKES ON ITALY By Paul Shaw, VYSA Coaching Education Director

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” Senaca

Our second annual VYSA Coaching Education trip took place this Spring. Having already hit Scotland and England, this year’s adventure took us to northern Italy. Nine coaches from Virginia and Maryland crossed the Atlantic to take in the soccer, sights and sounds of some of the top professional youth academies in European soccer. Our goal was to observe, to converse, to share and to learn; to study their methodologies, their sport science, take in the teaching tools, the culture; and then, to ask, what would work for our players in our environment? The tour consisted of time with Massimo Ugolino (Assistant Coach, Shaktar Donetsk 2007-2016; and Zenit Saint Petersburg 2016/2017); Inter Milan; Atalanta B.C.; ACF Brescia Femminile; Venizia FC; plus, a couple of games including Italy U15 vs Netherlands U15;

AC Chievo vs Cagliari Calcio and Atalanta vs. Florentina. Here are some sound bites from a couple of moments, more of which will be examined in detail at the upcoming Technical Director’s Workshop: • We spend so much time teaching small and large group defending that sometimes the collective of the group, hides the inefficiencies of the individual. Massimo Ugolino. • It is expected that you self-reflect publicly with your colleagues after each session to further your own development. Inter Milan • To be a modern-day club, you must be involved in the fabric of your community. Atalanta B.C. • Refinement of skill/technical work comes in many methods, before the session, after the session, in specific sessions… all must be applicable to the game. Click here for our Italy Coaching Education Blog These trips are open to coaches working in the game… Please Join us on the 2019 trip.


Strength and Conditioning Coaches, Players Offer Advice BY TERRY JACOBY Lew Porchiazzo is an assistant strength and conditioning coach at the University of Michigan who works every day with some of the best athletes in the world — all focused on performing to the best of their ability. So his advice to younger athletes just starting to kick a soccer ball or trying out for that club program or playing on their high school team is a little bit surprising, considering what he deals with every day in Ann Arbor. “Personally, I encourage athletes to get involved in multiple sports,” said Porchiazzo, whose current assignment at Michigan is with men’s soccer, softball and women’s gymnastics. “From an athletic standpoint, conditioning standpoint and even a burn-out standpoint, I recommend playing more than one sport. I don’t think young athletes should specialize in one sport at an early age. And that’s just not my

opinion, but many others share that viewpoint.” One person who shares his view knows what it takes to climb the ladder from youngster playing the backyard to competing with and against the best players in the world. “Yeah, in the off-season I like to play tennis and basketball,” said Dax McCarty, the Chicago Fire midfielder who was named the Man of the Match for the U.S. Men’s National Team for his performance in a 2-1 win over Ghana earlier this season. “I believe in a lot of cross-training fitness because it works on muscles you might not be using a lot in soccer.” McCarty said growing up in Winter Haven, Fla., allowed him to have a soccer ball on his foot 12 months a year. “Growing up, I would play a lot of pickup soccer,” said McCarty, a University of North Carolina standout, now in his 12th MLS season. “I would play soccer almost every day with my friends. We just loved to play. But we also did other things including a lot of water sports. Growing up in Florida was obviously a big plus. “I find that playing other sports recharges the battery, too. And any different kind of fitness that gets your heart rate up is going to help you.”

University of Michigan Assistant Strength Coach Lew Porchiazzo

Training and conditioning programs have changed quite a bit since McCarty and his buddies were kicking around a soccer ball in the street. It’s even changed considerably over the past couple of years. These aren’t your


parents’ – or even your older sibling’s – workout rooms anymore. And as one would expect, pushing all the buttons of change is technology. Michigan, like many other universities and professional sports teams all over the world, uses Catapult, an athletic tracking technology that measures all facets of athlete physical performance. Catapult has become the global leader in athlete analytics, protecting thousands of elite athletes at the intersection of sport science and analytics and enables insight in to athlete risk, readiness and return to play. “Catapult is a GPS system that also has some other functionality that helps us get an idea on the stress being placed on student-athletes during training sessions,” Porchiazzo said. “It tracks total distance and speed of that distance, so you know how long they spend sprinting compared to jogging or walking. It uses a metric called training load and what a training session should look like several days before a game vs. the day before a game vs. game day. It helps us get an assessment on where our players are individually and is something we started using this past year.” As far as strength training, soccer athletes train consistently in the offseason from January through April two to three times a week. It’s more of a traditional weight lifting and strength program. Circuit training also is part of the mix in the off-season, both on the field and in the weight room.

“I will pull out everything from medicine balls to foot ladders to hurdles to sleds so we can bring some diversity to the training and apply different movements,” said Porchiazzo, who isn’t against using old-school workout techniques. “Sometimes, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.”

Functional fitness may provide the biggest gains for soccer players.

Porchiazzo also believes there isn’t one set of rules when it comes to training and that there are a number of different and effective ways of getting strong and fit. “What I construct I believe is the ideal way, but just because it’s ideal doesn’t mean there aren’t a ton of different options that are just as effective and appropriate for specific individuals,” he said. Lucy Edwards, the standout midfielder for the DePaul Blue Demons, would agree with that statement. Edwards had a unique advantage growing up when it came to fitness and working out. The two-time All-Big East Second Team player is the daughter of


1980s DePaul basketball standout and former NBA player Kevin Edwards. Growing up in the household of a professional athlete, Edwards got to see first-hand the dedication required to perform at the highest level. Edwards believes that she is the best judge when it comes to getting in shape and players need to listen to their own bodies and understand where to focus their attention. “We do get workout programs for the off-season, but I don’t always stick to them,” she said. “I feel I know my body and what works and what doesn’t.” Porchiazzo, who graduated with a B.S. in exercise science from William Patterson in 2009 and a masters in exercise physiology from Eastern Michigan University in 2011, says in a perfect world, “a majority of the field players would be on a similar workout program.” But there is some individualization, especially at this level of training and fitness. “The first thing we look at is their injury history and their individual strengths and weaknesses,” he said. “We try and identify any deficiencies they may have and address them specifically. There also are some common deficiencies that we will make part of everyone’s program, but if there is a history of say hamstring injuries, we will address that individually.” So when do you start getting ready to jump back into a season with daily practices and multiple games every week? It all depends on what shape you are in and what you have been doing during the off-season.

“Generally, I would say about eight weeks before the first day of camp you want to get back into it especially if you maintained a base level of fitness,” Porchiazzo said. “Anything less than that, and you are probably going to be pushing it and even risking injury. You need to ease back into things.”

ANAEROBIC VS. AEROBIC Lew Porchiazzo, assistant strength and conditioning coach at the University of Michigan, works with the Wolverines men’s soccer program. He says soccer players benefit the most from both anaerobic and aerobic workouts, transitioning from a heavy aerobic workout in the beginning of the offseason to more anaerobic as you get closer to the start of camp. Here are examples of both: AEROBIC: “Running distances that are typically 3 minutes or longer. An example would be a mile run with a goal time for our players of 6 minutes. So if we did three one-mile repeats it might be three single miles in under 6 minutes with a 3 to 6 minute rest. ANAEROBIC: Running distances under 3 minutes. An example would be a 300yard shuttle whether it’s in increments of 50 yards and back or 25 yards and back in the ballpark of 50 to 65 seconds. We might do eight of those with a 1 to 2minute rest.

This article was written by Terry Jacoby and was first printed in US Youth Soccer FUEL MAGAZINE


VYSA TOUCHLINE: ISSUE 29 APR/MAY 2018  

The official e-newsletter of the Virginia Youth Soccer Association.

VYSA TOUCHLINE: ISSUE 29 APR/MAY 2018  

The official e-newsletter of the Virginia Youth Soccer Association.