Who We Look For?
Development, Winning & Community
Over the past few years of trial and error, and through the experience of the Celta Academy in Spain and the academies around the world, we have a systemized plan of creating quality players, some that go on to play professionally. In each academy they have experienced three families of thought when it came to being part of a soccer organization; 1. was the organization there primarily as a development organization, 2. an organization that builds teams of talented kids to just win games, or an organization that is there to create a community of people who simply like being around each other. Most of the time it was a combination of the three but there always seem to be a primary thought. Our thought of development first has come from much research in child development.
Development – At the start of a child’s sporting time, parents are typically focused on how much fun their child is having with very little expectation of their child and even less about team wins and getting to know the other parents. This is the natural way to think and the best way a child will develop. Just watch how quickly they absorb the information around them at that age. If they develop a love for the game they will want to play it all the time and therefore develop quickly.
Winning – If a child then develops an aptitude for the game, typically a parent will start to look for places that win so their child can experience a winning team and hope to foster a competitive side in the child. The issue many times is the team was built of kids who play well individually and will continue to win for a period of time until training trumps talent. This is often where things change in the child’s brain. Thoughts like “Fun just became work’ and “If we don’t win what is wrong with us.” Unfortunately the family fell into the winning trap.
Community – If the parent does not see significant growth in their child but they themselves have connected with parents on a team, you will also see groups stay together because they like to hang out as a community.
All are acceptable schools of thought but only one will lead to a professional career and, in our belief, set a child on a path towards achieving duplicatable successful results.
As kids grow, their specific needs change and at each age level there is an emphasis on different types of development that if executed properly by experienced coaches, the results will be a winning team with a healthy attitude and a strong sense of community/chemistry. We lead with experienced coaches who select players of good personal quality, that will be both of the level of the team and positionally appropriate for the formations their team runs.
We do not lead with talent, meaning just because a child is technically talented he/she makes the team. We also do not lead with wins, meaning we don’t set up teams simply to score goals and win games, running off of the child’s natural abilities and not off of the experience they gain from listening to coaches. That isn’t to say we don’t win. It simply means, teams are set up to develop into consistently winning teams through experience, trial and error and not purely talent.
These guiding principles must be adopted by all parents and players coming to Celta Academy PA. This, the Spanish methodology of training and the Spanish style of play is what makes us unique in the area.
For our Academy and its players to truly be successful, we must invest in the children. We are believers in the adage “It takes a village to raise a child” and as such, the village must be of the same mind when it comes to what we look for in our players. As development is at our core, the technical and tactical elements will be developed within our training system, on the practice fields, in games and in a player’s spare time. A child does not need to be a superstar soccer player to be a part of our academy. The qualities that make a professional soccer player are the same qualities that make a person an expert in any field; a good attitude, the ability to take instruction, active listening skills, focus, effort, perseverance, dedication, commitment to the sport and a base soccer IQ. These are the qualities we look for when developing soccer players. With exception to soccer IQ, each child has all of these qualities in varying degrees but each must strive to improve on them daily.
Ironically we ask the parents of players to also have the similar qualities we mention above. As we are our children’s greatest roles models we must allow those who are an expert in their field to be the expert. The only way our kids develop is when we allow them the opportunity to do so. We ask that parents realize the value in Academy development and commit to it’s long term growth strategy. Commitment is a daily task that requires you to get them to training and get them to games and have them come back year after year. This is the requisite if you are looking to develop professionals, to develop experts, to develop habits of success within your children. The development starts with you. The first tryout we must have in order to maintain a level of quality within the academy starts with the parents.