Emerald City FC senior staff participated in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) annual convention last week. A highlight of the conference was a tour of the Philadelphia Union training facilities, including a visit with former M95 Green player Peace Brandon who is now a part of the Union’s training program. "The Philadelphia Union's Player Development / Academy Program is hands down the best in Major League Soccer. The opportunity to see their facilities, meet with their staff and see how they are approaching the development of young people in the Union Academy Program was fantastic. It was also very reaffirming in that we are congruent at Emerald City FC with the philosophy and vision that was evident in the long-term approach to the development of the young people in the Union's system." said Director of Coaching Erik Oman. "I was excited to visit with Peace and hear about how well he was doing in the Union Academy. He felt that his experience at Emerald City FC had prepared him well for the step that he has taken in his life to be a part of the Philadelphia Union Academy Program."
The convention offers a multitude of workshops and continuing education opportunities, including both lecture and field sessions on topics as wide ranging as technical and tactical components of the game, physical training of soccer players, psychological components of the game, long term player development, grant writing, fund raising, National Team reports, and focus groups related to directors of coaching, club board members, administrators, referees and others.
As members of the NSCAA Academy National Staff, Erik Oman and Matthew Olson not only attended many sessions, they served as speakers and workshop moderators, each introducing several of the sessions during the week. Erik focused much of his time on sessions related to club development, the NSCAA Club Standards Project and best practices research, long term player development programs, training the psychological components of the game and field sessions related to training the playmaker, developing vision and field awareness, and a demonstration by the Philadelphia Union Academy staff on the latest research in proper physical preparation and training of youth athletes. In addition, both Erik and Matthew were invited to participate in the NSCAA Leadership and Diversity training event that preceded the start of the Convention .
Ruth Nicholson, Emerald City Operations Manager, earned an NSCAA Club Development Diploma at the convention which included workshops on best practices in player development, models of club management, best practices and key roles in club operations, and risk management. She has also been invited to work with the Club Standards Project Coordinator in an upcoming advanced club assessment, as well as designing sessions for future on-line webinars.