Boyds, Md., (11/15/2019) – On November 13, the Washington Spirit hosted the second session of their new Advanced Development Program Training Center as part of Project Change the Game Now at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
The program hosted 22 of the top U17, U18 and U19 players from Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Player selection involved club directors, U.S. Soccer scouts, college coaches and the Spirit scouting program. Players are shown what it takes to be a professional athlete and the skills they need to develop to get there.
Washington Spirit defender Paige Nielsen gave a classroom presentation where she shared key insights including the 10 core values she developed throughout her soccer career and her experiences as a youth and college player. Nielsen gave the players a clear idea of what it takes to compete at the next level.
Washington Spirit CEO Larry Best had this to say on the Advanced Development Program: “As part of the Alliance Development Program, it’s great to see the Youth Club community coming together in support of the Game and Sport.”
Best continued, “By giving players of this caliber an opportunity to “Train like Pro” in a competitive environment, they understand the pathway to become and professional player, as well as the standards of excellence the Spirit, NWSL and US Soccer are setting in order to take the game and sport to new levels of success.”
Spirit Pro Team Head Coach Richie Burke was in charge of the field session together with his staff including Assistant Coach Tom Torres. For the goalies in attendance, Goalkeeper Coach Ian McCauldon gave them a specific goalie training with the assistance of Washington Spirit staffer KJ Spisak. The Spirit extend a special thank you to Paul Shaw from VYSA who was in attendance for both the classroom and field session.
Youth National Team Talent Identification Manager Diane Drake was also in attendance on behalf of U.S. Soccer. An 11v11 training match was held where Drake evaluated the players in a game setting.
The program, which was held on National Signing Day, gave the Spirit the opportunity to congratulate seniors who will be transitioning into collegiate play.