The MNUFC Youth Development Program hosted a Soccer at Home series for its players and clubs while youth sports were put on “pause” due to the pandemic. The educational series covered four topics:
Fueling Well for Optimal Performance with Angela Bruzina, Team Dietitian
The Athlete’s Response to COVID-19 with Stacey Hardin, Director of Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation, Head Athletic Trainer
The Importance of Training Environment in Professional Development with Noel Quinn, Director, Youth Development
Player Identification and Developing Players for the Professional Game with Amos Magee, Director of Player Personnel
Minnesota United Director of Youth Development Noel Quinn led each of the four sessions along with an MNUFC expert in each space. In this series, players were shown what success looks like through a nutritional, physical, mental and strategic lens. Players were given tools – the same concepts used at the first team level – to begin practicing the small changes that make big impacts in player development.
Quinn inspired the group when he spoke about the YDP’s overarching goal of creating a pathway and technical platform for young players to make it to the first team. He spoke about the desire the see local, homegrown players in the team.
“I think, for me, it says a lot about coach Noel [Quinn] and the people he’s surrounding himself with,” said YDP player Kaedon Anderson. “It was very clear after the first webinar that the program has an intentional focus towards developing the next generation of players going through the program, and those players who have hopes of becoming first team players. So, it was just cool for me to be a part of that and see the emphasis that they’re putting on next generation growth.”
Quinn stressed that at Minnesota United, soccer is about players and coaching at Minnesota United is about developing players. Everything done through the program is player-centric.
The YDP has tapped into the surrounding communities and is beginning to build a soccer program and culture based on the ideals of what MNUFC wants the game to look like, based on where the program is currently at and what the club is. It’s important to Quinn that players aren’t just molding themselves to the environment, but are helping to create it.
“The actual topics, the people on there, were very, very good to see,” said Kickers FC Director of Coaching Gordon Ferguson. “Again, being around Minnesota soccer a lot, knowing in the past of what Minnesota Thunder and stuff like that, is not even this level. Having people like Amos Magee there and Stacey Hardin, [who are] fantastically knowledgeable is unbelievable. The people that are involved in the [YDP], it’s nice to see she’s willing to give information and work with that lower level. Because it is a pro club, and sometimes the U10 players are far away from that. It was nice for my child, who was involved in that, to listen to her on prevention of injuries and recovery. And he’s not necessarily taking it in totally yet, but it’s still sending the message to take care of your body.”
Successful players thrive in a competitive environment, and that kind of environment is created when players are properly educated and given the resources to prepare. The Soccer at Home series aided in helping connect with players and clubs, proactively limiting any stall in player development during a time of “pause.”
If you’re interested in learning more about being part of the MNUFC Youth Development Program, please head to this page on our website.