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Girls and Sports: Mallory Pugh

Girls and sports go together like peanut butter and jelly. Really! Even though sports such as football, baseball and even soccer seem like they’re dominated by men, take a look around at all of the awesome women winners out there. From tennis greats such as the Williams’ sisters to the embers of the U.S. Olympic women’s soccer team, girls totally represent when it comes to sports. One of these fabulous women is Mallory Pugh. She might not be much older than you, but she is already a sports star on the rise. At only 18-years-old, Pugh was the youngest player ever in the U.S. Women’s National Team player pool. And, that’s not all.

Bright Beginnings

Even though Mallory Pugh is a well-known soccer sensation now, she once was a little girl who tagged along to her older sister’s club practices. It was there, at these practices, that her mad soccer skills started shining bright. Of course, that doesn’t mean Pugh hadn’t played before. She started at the young age of four, and then followed in her sister’s footsteps. It didn’t take long for Mallory to become a standout though. In 2010 and 2011, she helped her team (Real Colorado) win state titles. In 2013 and 2014, Pugh helped Real Colorado win runner-up at the national championships. She was also named MVP of her regional tournament.

During Pugh’s junior year in high school, the soccer player scored a whopping 24 goals and had 12 assists in 18 games, helping her (high school) team get to the state semifinals.

Olympic Goal

She might just be a girl from a town outside of Denver, Colorado, but when Pugh hit the Olympic soccer field in the 2016 games, she made a stir. That’s to say the least. The then-18-year-old player was the second youngest woman to compete in an Olympic soccer game since 1904. Not only did she make news for this, but she also became the youngest player to score a goal during an Olympic game – and that is ever!

Player of the Year

As a high school junior, Pugh won Gatorade’s National Girls Soccer Player of the Year Award. But, that’s not the only award this young player has won. In 2014, she also won the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s Youth National Player of the Year for club soccer.

Sports and Education

Don’t think that Pugh put off school entirely just because she has an amazing soccer ability. Yes, she had to take time off from her education to train and compete at an Olympic level. But, the sports standout also graduated from high school and made plans to attend college. Her post-high school educational career includes attending UCLA (starting in January of 2017), where she will also play for their soccer team.

What can you learn from Mallory Pugh? That with hard work, focus and practice, you can do anything you set your mind on! To score an Olympic goal at the age of 18 shows that anything is possible. If you come up against obstacles, or someone tells you that you just won’t succeed, think about Pugh. Remember that there was a time when she was just a little girl trying to follow her sister’s lead. Now she’s a leader – showing the world that women are exceptional athletes too!

Photo Credit:  Makaiyla Willis (CC by 2.0)

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Who are the people behind Future Stars? Julia Duffy’s Journey from Camper to Counselor

First day of camp and jittery nerves go together like bread and butter.  Julia Duffy looks back at her 12-year-old self and remembers quite clearly how nervous she was.  As she got off the bus to walk across the long field, she met a camper from a neighboring town.  By the time they reached the end of the field, her nerves had calmed down and she had made a new friend.  For Julia, this chance encounter ended up leading to a long-term friendship with her new friend’s older sister.

Julia and her younger brother were outgrowing their local town camp and family friends recommended Future Stars Camp.  Since then, Julia and her brother have spent all or most of their last 6 summers at Future Stars’ SUNY Purchase Camp location.

Now at 18 and a senior in high school, Julia was a camp counselor for the last 2 years and 3 years ago she was a Counselor-in-Training (CIT).  Her young brother was a CIT last year.  Julia says, ” I went to soccer camp with my brother but I quickly made new friends. I still keep in touch with a lot of campers from my first year.  I even plan to visit some of them at their universities”

Julia loved soccer camp, she tried tennis camp but came right back to soccer.  Julia plays soccer for her high school and attributes her game skills to her first counselor, Anna Edwards.  Anna is now Julia’s manager and current Soccer Director at Future Stars (FS) Camp.   Great rapport with your manager improves employees’ potential and morale, Julia says, “I feel really comfortable asking Anna for advice when I need help with my own counseling.”

At camp, Julia made a lot of new friends from different towns and even different countries.  She remembers playing soccer with French and Italian campers.  When asked what her camp experience was like she said, ” My time at FS Camps, in a nutshell, was a great experience where I made a lot of new, diverse friends who all shared a common interest with me.”

However, her voice takes a real lilt when she talks about how she loved the drills and games both as a camper and as a counselor.  “Typically, each day of the week at soccer camp has a theme. Monday is dribbling, Tuesday is passing, Wednesday is 3v3 tournaments, Thursday is shooting, and Friday is competition day. The counselors really kept me engaged with a good mix of drills and games, along with competition to get us all moving. This experience later taught me to be engaging as a counselor as well. Individually, I’d say I became more confident in my abilities as a player through countless skill drills, and as a team player, I really learned to work with other players of different skill levels.”

Julia’s FS Camp journey from young camper to mature counselor has been fulfilling.  “Being a soccer counselor, in my opinion, means keeping the campers engaged and having fun, as well as, teaching them about a sport I love. I’ve been a counselor for two years and I am playing soccer at my high school. I am not looking to play soccer at a varsity level in college, but possibly at a club level depending on where I end up.”

There are so many aspects to camp and Julia said, “My favorite part of Future Stars were the scrimmages at the end of the day, where different groups of different ages came together and formed teams to play a full 11v11 game. The counselors would join together and have a “draft” and we would have a week long tournament with our teams, and everyone really gets into it.”

You can’t talk about a day camp and not mention food.  “There is an option to bring lunch but the food was so good at camp.  We had a salad bar, pasta station, sandwich station and hot lunch.  It was really cool to go into a college cafeteria and chose what I wanted to eat.”

Future Stars Camps is not just all about the drills, games and the food.  ” Jordan Snider, Site Director at SUNY, Purchase, has had a lasting impression on me because of his dedication to the camp.  Jordan makes an effort to visit soccer camp every day, and even takes the time to join a scrimmage or game.  Every year that I come back to FS, I see a lot of the same people but I also make new friends. It has been a great experience for me, from camper to counselor, and I would highly recommend it for anyone interested in soccer.”

Julia, wherever you end up, they will be lucky to have you.  Thank you too for all the gifts that you have brought to us!

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5 Things All Soccer Parents Have In Common

Being a soccer parent gives you magical powers to spot any other soccer parents within a 5k radius. Soccer parents are your community, they know what you’re going through and here’s how you find them.

It’s important to have parent friends who know what you’re going through. This is just as important when your kids are in middle school, as it is in those early newborn days when you’re covered in puke and busy changing diapers. As a soccer parent, you’ll need some soccer parent friends to support and celebrate with you. Being a soccer parent isn’t easy, in fact, it can be hard work. Other soccer parents know what you’re up against, they have the tips and tricks that could make your life easier, and they understand just how important those games are to you. Here are five things all soccer parents have in common:

1. Messy Cars

As a soccer parent, you have no chance of keeping your car clean. You spend so much time driving around in that thing, it’s pretty much your second home. Your kids eat their dinner in the car on the way home from practice, they kick off muddy boots as soon as they climb in, and you’re forever driving over muddy puddles on the way to the field. Look around the parking lot, if there’s another car as filled with Tupperware, covered with mud and stinking of sweaty feet as yours, you have found yourself a fellow soccer mom.

2. A Total Lack of Free Time

Ah, free time. Remember that? Remember when you used to enjoy sleep-ins on Sunday mornings instead of waking early to ferry your kids around for soccer games? Remember when you could spend your evenings watching TV instead of organizing sports kits and baking cookies for team fundraisers? Those days are long gone. If you see another parent who looks like they haven’t slept in years, has a to-do list trailing behind them on the floor, and is already running late for their next appointment, they might just be a soccer parent too.

3. The Ability to Create Healthy, Nutritious and Portable Dinners

When your kids are using their energy on the pitch, junk food won’t do. You might not get to enjoy quite as many sit down meals as the average family, but that doesn’t mean your kids suffer nutritionally. In fact, as a soccer parent, you know just how important it is that your kids eat right. You know how much protein they should be getting, how much energy they need and what the best fast-acting high-energy snacks are. And, in true soccer parent style, you can pack a healthy, balanced dinner into a Tupperware for your kid to enjoy in the car. It’s your soccer parent badge of honor and you can always spot a fellow soccer parent by how many pre-cooked and delicious family meals they have packed into Tupperware in the freezer.

4. A Hoarse Voice

Soccer parents are no strangers to cheering. You can spot your comrades easily at the grocery store after the weekend, they’re the individuals who are hoarse from shouting words of encouragement by the side of the field. You’ll see them but probably won’t be able to say hello because you lost your own voice after a particularly enthusiastic bout of cheering during yesterday’s game. Hey, you’re a soccer parent, that’s what you do.

5. They Know Everything There is to Know About Soccer

You might never have kicked a ball in your life, but you’re an expert when it comes to the rules of the game. You know everything happening in the national league, as well as, how your local team has been doing this season. You know all the lingo, can explain the offside rule without pausing to think and can hold your own in a sports bar. The other sports parents are the same. You all eat, sleep and breathe soccer for your kids, and that’s a part of why you all make such amazing soccer parents. So, now you know how to spot those soccer parents, go and find yourself some soccer parent friends to chat strategy with.

 

 

The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team is Inspiring a Generation

USWNT_CelebratesSynopsis: The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team took home the Women’s World Cup in 2015, and inspired a whole generation of young female soccer players at the same time.

One of the biggest sporting events this year has been the Women’s World Cup, hosted in Canada. The United States team took home the title after missing out in the last three editions of this competition. While the U.S. team looked a little bit shaky early in the tournament, they progressed nicely as the cup continued and finished the job with a dominating 5-2 win over Japan.

Women’s sports don’t receive the spotlight nearly as often as men’s sports, so it is always worth noting when a large event such as the World Cup captures the attention of the country. Not only is it exciting to watch these women perform at the top of their game, but it is also inspiring to a whole new generation of aspiring soccer players. Thanks to the performance put forward by the U.S. Women’s National Team, countless young girls will now be dreaming of becoming the next Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan.

A Great Game for Kids

Soccer is an incredibly popular sport among young people, and it is easy to see why. Kids love it because there are few rules – especially at the youth level. They can run around, kick the ball with their friends, and have a great time. Since soccer is a ‘hands-off’ game, kids aren’t held back by hand-eye coordination that hasn’t quite developed yet. They can jump into playing soccer basically as soon as they are old enough to play with a ball, and it is a game that can be played with very little equipment.

Fitness is a Top Priority

As a game based on running, soccer places a high level of importance on overall physical fitness. In order to succeed on the soccer field, girls need to be physically active. Even if they only play soccer during their early school years, the lessons they learn on fitness will be valuable as they move later on in life.

Focus on Teamwork

Soccer is one of the most team-oriented games that kids can play. Teamwork is vital on the soccer field, as no one can defeat the other team individually. Not only is it a great lesson for kids to have to rely on the help of their teammates in order to succeed, but working together with others is a good step toward developing social skills.

Although not all young athletes are going to grow up to play on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, it doesn’t make the dream any less exciting. For young girls who fell in love with the game of soccer this summer, signing up for a team and making new friends will be a great experience. Whether they play for just a year or two, or go all the way to college and beyond, the passion they feel for this game can be traced into the thrilling performance of their heroes wearing the Red, White, and Blue.

The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team is Inspiring a Generation

Synopsis: The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team took home the Women’s World Cup in 2015, and inspired a whole generation of young female soccer players at the same time.

selfie

One of the biggest sporting events this year has been the Women’s World Cup. Hosted in Canada. The United States team took home the title after missing out in last three editions of this competition. While the U.S. team looked a little bit shaky early in the tournament, they progressed nicely as cup continued and finished the job with a dominating 5-2 win over Japan.

Women’s sports don’t take the spotlight nearly as often as men’s sports, so it is always worth noting when a large event such as the World Cup captures the attention of the country. Not only is it exciting to watch these women perform at the top of their game, but it is also inspiring to a whole new generation of aspiring soccer players. Thanks to the performance put forward by the U.S. Women’s National Team, countless young girls will now be dreaming of becoming the next Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan.

  • A Great Game for Kids

Soccer is an incredibly popular sport among young people, and it is easy to see why. Kids love it because there are few rules – especially at the youth level. They can run around, kick the ball with their friends, and have a great time. Since soccer is a ‘hands-off’ game, kids aren’t held back by eye-hand coordination that hasn’t quite developed just yet. They can jump into playing soccer basically as soon as they are old enough to play with a ball, and it is a game that can be played with very little equipment.

  • Fitness is a Top Priority

As a game based on running, soccer places a high level of importance on overall physical fitness. In order to succeed in the soccer field, girls need to be physically active and overall fit. Even if they only play soccer for their early school years, the lessons they learn regarding fitness will be valuable as they move on into adult life.

  • Focus on Teamwork

Soccer is one of the most team-oriented games that kids can play. Working together is vital on the soccer field, as no one can defeat the other team all by themselves. Not only is it a great lesson for kids to have to rely on the help of their teammates in order to succeed, but working together with others is a good step toward developing social skills.

Although not all young athletes are going to grow up to play on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, but that doesn’t make the dream any less exciting. For young girls who fell in love with the game of soccer this summer, signing up for a team and making new friends will be a great experience. Whether they play for just a year or two, or go all the way to college and beyond, the passion that they feel for this game can be traced to the thrilling performance of their heroes wearing the Red, White, and Blue.

College Recruiting – how do I get a college coach to notice me?

Many times parents and players are seeking information on the recruiting process and how to go about being noticed by a college coach. There are so many questions to ask and so much information to process. When do I need to apply? How important are test scores and grades? How do I contact a coach? Do I need a video? What is the eligibility center?

Even though each school and each coach deals with recruiting differently I think that there are a couple of general statements that are true for everyone:

–      Do well in school

–      Do well on the SAT’s or ACT’s.

–      Look for a school that has your major

–      Try to be realistic when it comes to soccer

When it comes to the soccer team – DO YOUR RESEARCH!!

Educate yourself about the team and the conference. Go and watch a game or two so you know the level, the team’s style of play and see for yourself how the coach is interacting with the players and what type of coach he or she is. I personally think that this is very important and something that many players and parents forget during the process.

LIU Post Men's SoccerECC Champs 2012

LIU Post Men’s Soccer
ECC Champs 2012

Communication – How To Stand Out In a Positive Way

According to NCAA less than 6% of boys high school soccer players will go on and play soccer at a NCAA institution. That means that out of 100 graduating seniors only 6 of them will have a chance to play soccer in college, at the NCAA level. Figuring that each high school soccer team has about 8 graduating seniors it would have to take two highschools to find one college soccer player.

(The percentage is slightly higher for women soccer players and the percentage is less than 4% for both men and women basketball, statistics for more sports can be found at the link below)

http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/eligibility_center/Athletics_Information/Probability_of_Competing_Past_High_School.pdf

I receive over 50 emails per week from players, parents and recruiting agencies with player resumes, videos or general emails. Most of these emails I directly delete and the biggest reason for this is that the email isn’t customized for me specifically. It is obvious to me when the email is sent out as a mass email. My name is not included, it simply states: “Dear Coach” and the name of my school is not included, it says “Your School”.

If the interested student athlete doesn’t have the time to customize their email, I simply feel that I don’t have the time to send them a reply email either. It doesn’t take much to stand out. I strongly suggest the student take the time to customize the email. Address the email to the coach with the coach’s last name (make sure you spell it correctly!) and mention that you have looked at the school’s and the team’s website.

Maybe a line about a recent game or an upcoming game?

Example:  “Coach Lindberg – Congratulations on a great result vs ABC University…” or I saw on your website that you have a big conference game coming up, I will try to make the game”

This goes a long way and it shows the coach that you have a real interest of the school and the team. If I receive an email like that, I will make sure that I reply to that potential student athlete.

I also think that it is important that the student and not the parent(s) are the driving force when communicating with the coach. Obviously the parents have a major role in the process, and especially the finances involved, but I look for players that are mature and independent, and can keep a conversation via the phone or in person without Mom answering the questions every time. Start with creating an email account in your own name.  Your parents can certainly help you drafting the email and help you out, but when I get an email from MarySmith@emails.com from a player named Justin Smith it is pretty obvious to me that I am in fact communicating with the Mom and not with Justin.

Once you have sent an email, wait a few days and then follow up with a phone call to the coach. It is amazing to me how few times this happens. A simple call to the coach — introducing yourself, checking to see if the coach has received your email and once again expressing your interest of the school and the team — would go a long way and make a very good impression on me. It tells me you are serious about your interest and that you are a mature and responsible young man. Once you have the coach (or the assistant coach) on the phone ask the coach if you can set up a visit to the school and come and meet with the coach.

Once you have a meeting set up, you need to prepare for the meeting. In my next entry I will discuss what you need to do to prepare yourself for such a meeting and how you can increase your chances of making a great impression.

Yours in Soccer!

Andreas Lindberg

Andreas Lindberg is the site director for Future Stars at Farmingdale State College.

Lindberg is also the current Head Coach for Nationally ranked LIU Post Men’s Soccer Team. Under his guidance the Pioneers won the East Coast Conference Championship in 2009 and 2012. Lindberg was chosen to the East Coast Conference Coach of the Year in 2009, 2011 and 2012.

Skill

ImageSKILL. Definition ‘Special Ability in a task, sport, etc.,esp ability acquired or developed by training’.

As an avid Soccer fan — be it as spectator, player or coach — skill is something that is always wonderful to see from players, especially in the game environment. With the UEFA Champions League resuming play it’s a great opportunity to see many of the most accomplished players in the world showing off their skills at the highest level.  Players like Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), and Robin Van Persie (Man Utd) are perhaps the more recognizable names we identify with when it comes to skill but these players – along with many others –  can be used as a visual aid for our youth players to strive towards in terms of skill.  At the highest level we see not only skill, but more importantly players performing at pace, whilst under pressure and showing great balance throughout.  As an active coach for players from the youth through collegiate level it is often the case that our players have ‘skill’ and show this in training at a comfortable pace, but when it comes to the game environment it is not always evident. The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) Best Practices for Coaching Soccer in the United States booklet states “The most fundamental skill in soccer is individual mastery of the ball and the creativity that comes with it”. To that end the focus of developing youth players should be to ensure our athletes have a sound technical base to allow them to apply the specific sports skills in the game environment. To give our players the best chance to succeed and perform in games, we as coaches should ensure every training session is well structured and follows suitable progressions whilst challenging our players to perform outside their ‘comfort zone’. There are a variety of coaching styles and methods, and it is important that a coach creates an environment that works for him/her and the players on the team. David Beckham was perhaps the most recognizable name in the professional game in the US in recent years and was famously quoted saying “I still look at myself and want to improve”. Hopefully we can encourage our youth players to have the same attitude and then enjoy the moments of skill that follow and celebrate them with our players.