Jeff Illingworth knows several great soccer players. Here, Illingworth and Ronaldo enjoy a moment on the soccer field together
Youth Soccer News: Manchester City Scout Comes to San Diego
Few competitive youth soccer clubs have the clout to lure a prestigious EPL scout to visit from England. CV Manchester's Jeff Illingworth invited Manchester City's Coach Mark Buton to attend Surf Cup and several friendlies and potentially indentify soccer stars of tomorrow.
Earlier this summer, CV Manchester players toured Brazil with some of the club’s top talent receiving try-outs with professional clubs such as Palmeiras FC and Sao Paolo FC. “Next Summer, Manchester boys will tour England with friendlies scheduled against some of the top programs in Europe, including Manchester City and Manchester United,” said Illingworth. “It is not about one professional try-out or even one international trip, but more about creating a unique environment right here in San Diego for youth players to not only train and develop, but get routine exposure to top flight professional clubs.”
On a recent visit back to his home town of Manchester, England, Coach Jeff Illingworth, Director of Coaching of CV Manchester Soccer Club in San Diego visited Manchester City’s Academy. It was a brief trip down memory lane for Illingwroth who played soccer at Mancester City Academy in his youth.
One of the professional coaches overseeing their youth academy is Mark Burton. Coach Burton gave Coach Illingworth a full tour and presentation on Manchester City and explained what the academy has to offer the elite player. Set up in 1998, the Manchester City Academy provides a strong and effective player development program for young footballers. Since then, 30 young players have emerged from the Academy to play first-team football for Manchester City, an unprecedented achievement in the modern era.
“It was very impressive,” said Illingworth, who went on to say, “What was missing, however, was a comprehensive scouting system in the United States, which is increasingly seen as being rich in talent, particularly SoCal.”
After watching Manchester City’s U15 team play Birmingham City, Coach Illingworth attended lunch with their coaches and players and came away from the experience with greater confidence that local talent in San Diego could compete favorably with Manchester City’s academy.
With that epiphany, Illingworth invited Coach Burton to San Diego to attend training and friendlies in SoCal, including the upcoming Surf Cup hosted here in San Diego over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Manchester City currently sits on top of the table in the English Premier League, and much of the club’s success comes from their focus on rigorous youth development. “The ideal time to bring new players into our professional academy is at the U15 and U16 level,” said Coach Burton.
“We have an excellent track record of developing young players, and quite frankly that’s the driver behind our visit to Southern California. We have a high regard for the quality of soccer here and particularly the program at CV Manchester. It is a priority to us to develop mutually beneficial relationships with clubs of this caliber.”
In an exclusive interview with SN, Coach Illingworth was asked to explain CV Manchester’s success. “There is no real magic to what we do,” said Illingworth. You have to offer players the best opportunity to grow and develop. It isn’t good enough to train twice a week and expect to play four months out of the year in your local league. The best players need to know a club is committed to their overall development, including the best training, the best coaches, the best competition and – the best access to college as well as domestic and international professional opportunities.”
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