Youth Soccer News: Carlsbad United F.C. Provides College-Bound Players Unique Support through the Carlsbad Elite Program
Introducing “Carlsbad Thursday.” SoccerNation News is pleased to feature this new youth soccer series with San Diego's Carlsbad United F.C. Every Thursday the club, led by Director of Operations Michael Duggan and Technical Director Steve Cowell, is featured in a new column with information on player development and what is happening at Carlsbad United. This week: The Carlsbad Elite Program provides expert coaches, top-quality facilities, unique training and support and the services of dedicated College Liaisons Ron Pulvers and Adam Skumawitz.
Although the ultimate dream of many of the most truly dedicated youth soccer players is to one day take the pitch professionally, very few will make that jump directly from playing club soccer. For most elite athletes – no matter the sport – college is both an educational imperative and a training/proving ground for possibly making athletics a career.
The question is what is the best path to a great college experience?
With the five-year-old Carlsbad Elite Program, the boys and girls of Carlsbad United F.C. (CUFC) have an impressive opportunity to work with top coaches at amazing facilities and with unique support in order to make that college dream come true.
“We have five college coaches, seven ‘A’ License coaches, access to a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art fitness program, a leading professional sports psychologist and five of the best lighted turf facilities in San Diego,” explains CUFC Director of Operations Michael Duggan. “We also host one of the best college showcases in California, the November Nights College Showcase, attracting over 300 top college coaches from around the country. We also develop a personal college profile for every player overseen by two College Liaison officers.”
|Carlsbad United GU15 Elite Team Talking With Fullerton College Coach
Carlsbad United is unique in the youth soccer world – a major Southern California club that does not have ties to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) or Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) – achieving significant wins on the field and providing high quality training. As an example, the Carlsbad Elite girls teams recently brought home titles in the US Youth Soccer National Leagues at the GU14, GU16 and GU17 levels and will go on to the US Youth Soccer National Championships in Germantown, MD, in the summer.
“Carlsbad Elite is for players whose objectives are to participate in a very competitive atmosphere, be challenged in practices advancing their skills and play for coaches that respect the individuals,” says Duggan. “Through the program they have the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in college showcases, and ultimately, play soccer at the collegiate level.”
The Carlsbad Elite Program is a competitive soccer program that enhances and expands on the regular Carlsbad United programs. It specifically targets boys and girls in the U13 through U18 age groups and offers a comprehensive and progressive path of long-term player growth and premier team development.
Through participation in Coast Soccer League (CSL), California Regional League (CRL), Western College Development Academy (WCDA), Southern California National Premier League and US Youth Soccer National League, as well as top College Showcases, the program offers exposure and connection to college coaches and scouts from many top programs.
To further the dreams of their talented young athletes, the Carlsbad Elite Program also provides the services of two dedicated College Liaisons – Ron Pulvers for the boys and Adam Skumawitz for the girls. Pulvers, who holds the USSF ‘A’ License and the NSCAA Advanced National Diploma, is Director of Soccer and Head Men’s and Women’s Coach at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM). Skumawitz, another USSF ‘A’ License holder, has over a decade of coaching experience and played professionally in Germany and the Norwegian Premier League.
|Carlsbad United BU18 Elite Team
“Ron Pulvers, our College Liaison for the Elite Boys Program, is in his first year with Carlsbad United,” says CUFC Technical Director Steve Cowell. “Coach Pulvers has over 20 years of experience coaching club, Olympic Development Program, high school and college soccer. He has over 200 victories as a men’s college coach and more than 80 on the women’s side. We are excited to have him as part of our Carlsbad Elite Program.”
“Joining Carlsbad United F.C. gives me a chance to utilize my experience as a college search expert to educate, expose and prepare players in the Elite Program for the college search process, and ultimately to see them off to college following their youth soccer journey,” explains Pulvers, who just recently became part of the Carlsbad team.
Skumawitz, a graduate of Cornell University and a Certified College Planning Specialist, works extensively with the Elite girls program, focusing on recruiting, college exposure and communication with college coaches. “Adam has over 10 years of club and high school coaching experience,” says Cowell, “and during that time he has been actively involved with supporting student-athletes and their families with college selection and placement.”
“I believe in what we are doing and how we are going about doing it,” says Skumawitz. “Michael and Steve have clear goals and have shown a consistent commitment and desire to run our program with integrity and class.”
Carlsbad Elite Program also provides players with access to and support from training experts with SKLZ and EXOS, located in Carlsbad. The partnership with the two organizations gives Carlsbad Elite access to state-of-the-art equipment, facilities and training.
|Carlsbad Elite GU17 US Youth Soccer National League Champions
“This partnership has helped our Elite players to perform at the highest level in every game,” says Duggan. “All our games require a terrific amount of athleticism, and keeping our players performing at the highest level throughout a three- or four-game weekend is vital. Keeping them all healthy and on the field is the key to success. The EXOS program allows this.”
“Because of our partnership with SKLZ, they have made it possible for the weekly training at their multi-million dollar world-class facility,” Cowell explains. “This not only helps our players excel in soccer-specific strength, agility, speed and endurance, it has helped expose our players to the physical demands of the college game and the most cutting edge training techniques.”
But Carlsbad Elite does not stop here. In order to provide players with the mental edge that can make the difference between success and failure, CUFC has enlisted help from Jim Madrid of Advanced Sports Technology. Madrid, who is the Mental Toughness Coach for the Major League Soccer (MLS) Seattle Sounders, provides the psychological training that can maximize player potential.
“As a club, if we expect our players to perform their best in the most intense pressure situations we need to equip them accordingly, in every aspect of the game,” Duggan says. “Working with Jim and his staff has been invaluable. Mental toughness is vital for success, and their program has meant the difference for us when we are in those big games, It’s an ongoing program that has to be introduces to the coaches, then the players. Just like working on the Technical and Tactical aspects of the game on a weekly basis, this no different.”
The Carlsbad Elite Program has shown its success both on the field and in the highly competitive area of college recruiting. Recently program graduates have committed to programs at UCLA, Washington, Colorado, Boston University, Cornell, Brown, University of San Francisco, Westmont, Cal Baptist, Cal State Northridge, Cal Poly Pomona, University of the Pacific, San Diego State, USD, and Nevada, among others. In 2013 alone, nearly 40 players on the U16 through U18 teams received athletic scholarships.
|Carlsbad Elite players at SKLZ with Athletes Performance Trainers
“We work to provide guidance and options for our players to select a school that fits with them academically and athletically,” explains Skumawitz. “There are too many players out there choosing schools for the wrong reasons and finding themselves in the wrong place. Our goal is that every Carlsbad Elite player chooses the school that fits both academically and athletically and above all is the right social environment for them to fulfill their four year college commitment.”
“We have partnered with College Fit Finder to provide Player Profile, college search and connection support for our players,” Skumawitz continued. “We hope that all of our Elite players attend college, and our goal is to support them in every way possible to achieve that.”
“The amount of progress that has occurred in just the last three years is incredible,” says Pulvers of the program's success. “The current state of the Elite program is at a very high level of development and provides players with numerous opportunities for college education, college exposure and college placement. The future of the Elite program promises an entirely different level of development.”
“Michael Duggan, Steve Cowell, Glenn Malone and Carl Higham have created a strategic plan where the pursuit of excellence and the best interest of the player are never compromised,” Pulvers says. “Along with their tireless efforts, they continue to attract some of most qualified youth coaches in Southern California and I am motivated working alongside those coaches.”