The San Diego Developmental Academy (SDDA) was founded with the dedication of San Diego’s leading coaching directors. The competitive program is a combination of clubs that work together to focus on long-term athlete development for the Southern California player.
Ongoing with their focus, the SDDA holds an annual showcase where teams and players have a chance to display their talents for US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (ODP) and college recruits.
The first weekend of the 4th annual SDDA Showcase took place November 12th and 13th at the San Diego Polo Fields.
Saturday, November 12th – ODP
The showcase kicked off with exposure for birth years 2002 (Flight 2), and 2003 to 2005 for the US Youth Soccer’s ODP.
US Youth Soccer’s ODP was formed in 1977 to increase success for the U.S. National Teams. The program is a national process for identifying and developing the nation’s best youth soccer players — and selection of these players is not an easy task. Players are evaluated on four components: 1. Technique, 2. Tactics, 3. Fitness & Athletic Ability, 4. Attitude.
“The SDDA’s goal is to support Southern California players,” said Bob Turner, SDDA President. “That means assisting with getting them to the next level. ODP and College ID Camps can be very expensive and normally are attended on an individual basis. The SDDA Showcase not only gives players a chance to show off their skills in the comfort of their hometown with their club team, but gives recruiters and scouts the chance to see how skilled our Southern California players are.”
A unique opportunity, at no cost for SDDA teams, over 20 players were recruited from last year’s showcase with a similar amount expected to be contacted this year.
In addition to ODP scouts in attendance, the showcase also offered a meet and greet with ODP staff for information and questions.
“We had four teams participate in the SDDA Showcase and the feedback I got from our team parents was that this was the best organized event so far,” said Mauricio Chavez, San Diego Area Director, Total Futbol Academy. “The level of competition was great with equally seeded teams and we could tell that ODP scouts were watching and taking notes at many of our games.”
“We have participated in the showcase for the past 3 years and have had various players get selected for ODP who were identified from the showcase,” said Abel Martinez, League Director, Rebels Soccer Club. “We also rarely get to play on the Polo Fields, so it is always a fun experience.”
Sunday, November 13th – College
The second day began the college exposure for birth years 1997 to 2001 and 2002 (Flight 1).
An added benefit for the college showcase was the chance to attend one of two College Soccer Panels hosted by iSoccerPath. The panels included top NCAA, NAIA, and JC College Coaches from all divisions to share their expertise about the process of being chosen for one of the few college soccer roster spots.
College Coaches included: Matt Hall & Juan Pa Favero (SDSU), Mike Ditta (UC Irvine), Bobby Renneisen (CSU San Marcos), Gareth Tomlinson (Point Loma Nazarene), Marine Cano (SOKA University), Courtney Calderon (Chapman), Breanne Pulchaki (University of Redlands), Colm McFeely (Occidental), and Frank Zimmerman (Miracosta College).
These types of panels normally cost anywhere from $20-$30 a person to attend, however the panels were provided complimentary at the showcase.
“I actually loved the college soccer panel with the open table forum,” said Steve Yorke, Director of Coaching, FC Heat. “Having sat in on one of these events a couple of years ago, it motivated me to put together a College/Education Q&A page on our website, which has proved very helpful to our families.”
Information from the panels included: How to contact a college coach, the probability of athletic scholarships and the different options available, increasing your chances of being identified, Do’s and Don’ts for emails and videos, and more.
However, the biggest takeaways from the panels that college coaches could not stress enough:
- They are looking for a player as a whole – the person they are on and off the field, how they warm up, if they show up on time, how they treat their teammates, coaches, and even their parents, how they react to a loss or the weather, their social media profiles, etc.
- Being an exceptional soccer player is not enough — A player’s GPA is just as important as their skill because majority of the time, academics will override their athletic ability. Coaches will also use academics as a deciding factor — a player with a higher GPA will be selected over a player with the same skill level and a lower GPA.
“The college soccer panel was excellent and lots of parents commented on how positive and eye opening it was,” said Chavez. “This is a tremendous benefit for our team, one of the very few opportunities for many of our very talented players to be able to display their skill in front of people that can actually make an impact on these kids. I hope they continue to have this event every year.”
The showcase continued with a festival on November 19th for Boys 2006-2008 at the Coronado Cays, 2001 Flight 2, 2002 Flight 2, 2004 Flight 2 and 2005 Flight Blue at Hickman Field, and on November 20th for Girls 2006-2008 at the Coronado Cays.
As the SDDA continues to grow, it’s clear that their Showcase will develop into an event that will attract US Youth Soccer and college scouts from all over the nation.