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soccer, and growth
Posted By: Larry Maile
Date: Thursday, 12 January 2006, at 11:29 a.m.
This past weekend, I met and had a conversation with the Director of Coaching of Alaska Youth Soccer. They were holding the second of three Olympic Development Program Mini-Camps here in Alaska. We discussed the organization of soccer in Alaska, etc.
What was amazing to me is that there are 10,000 kids playing soccer in Alaska. 10,000. They start with U6's, moving up to U19's at the top end. They oversee multiple clubs. To be a club, they have to have at least four teams competing. There are 10 clubs (I think), and the one that my daughter is in has a dozen in her age group, and age groups above and below as well.
They all compete in several tournaments each summer, as do the top teams from other clubs.
There are coaches at each level, and programs to get people involved in coaching, refereeing, recreational coaching, etc.
AK. Youth Soccer is self-funded, via memberships. They have generous corporate sponsors, including Alaska Airlines. They bring coaches from "outside" up to run clinics, as do many of the clubs.
In short, a growing concern. What lessons are there in this for us?
BTW, U.S. Soccer is as well organized as any country in the world despite the facts that we don't have government funding, the depth of professional leagues, or as much in the way of media coverage. There are more than 2 million kids playing soccer in the U.S. What a pipeline for future growth. LJM
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