The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
Kyler Parris is a seventh-grader at Skyview Junior High (Bothell, WA). He is a goalkeeper and midfielder for his Northshore Select team, as well as the co-captain. He enjoys writing, photography, and, most of all, soccer. Kyler is a participant in our new internship program that allows young writers, photographers and videographers a chance to gain experience covering soccer online. Contact us at goalWA@gmail.com for more intern information.
Inside Northshore Select Soccer
It’s clear that youth soccer is growing in Washington, but nowhere is it more apparent than at Northshore Select Club (NSC).
Current NSC President Brian O’Neal has been through most of that dramatic growth; He first became involved in NSC coaching his son’s U-13 team in 2005. He coached that team all the way through U-18 and began coaching his youngest son’s team in 2009. He then looked to get involved beyond just coaching. “I became involved in the administrative side of NSC in 2010 as Vice President and kind of learned the ropes of how NSC operated and worked within the parent association. When the previous President’s term expired in March 2012, I was elected President for a two year term,” he told me recently.
“Today’s NSC Club was formed in 2003-2004 at the request of members of the Northshore Youth Soccer Association (NYSA) who wanted an alternative to the cost and time commitment of a full year premier program but with more training and competition than offered in recreational soccer. NSC’s initial formation was spearheaded by Dave Shipway, Orlay Johnson, and Ron Campbell among others and we started out as a “program” within our recreational club. The first year NSC had only three teams (one boys and two girls U14) and over the years the club expanded until by 2010 we had approximately 22 teams from U13 through U18.” Said O’Neal. In 2011, NSC added U-11 and U-12 teams for both genders. They also became their own club, which brought along new colors, new uniforms, and a new club name.
“I think select soccer plays a very important role [in youth soccer]. One aspect of youth soccer that I like very much is that depending on a child’s talent, athletic ability, interest and commitment to soccer and other sports, and the time and resources a family has to commit to soccer, there is a level of play that will fit that child. This ranges from the recreational player who just wants to go kick it around with friends for a few months to the super- committed and talented player participating in top level premier or academy teams, and multiple levels in between. Select soccer helps fill out the middle of that range of options both from a talent/competition level and time and financial commitment level,” he told me via email.
“From a player’s standpoint, NSC makes a good choice if you want to play soccer for 6 to 7 months a year at a competitive level against other similarly competitive teams, receive a high level of training by qualified coaches, while still retaining the ability to play other sports during the winter or spring. From a family perspective, NSC provides a good balance between the level of competition and training provided and the time commitment required. Also, the all-volunteer coaching staff lets NSC provide a quality select level soccer experience at a cost generally less than other select clubs and well below the cost of premier programs.” As a player myself, I can testify to all of this, and, even if he didn’t mention this, it’s always nice to know you’re playing for a high-level, well-run, successful club.
O’Neal says that on-the-field-accomplishments aren’t the only measure of success NSC looks at. They also look at the tremendous growth, great tryout attendances, and the number of teams fielded. “Other measures of success we track include our ability to place players on high school teams (e.g., half the current GU18 players are on their school’s varsity team) and being able offer training outside of team practices (Summer Academy, goalkeeper training) as part of the program instead of as an outside expense. Recent requests for the NSC bylaws and operating procedures by other clubs are also an indicator of success.”
The goalkeeper training, as noted by O’Neal, has become the biggest advantage NSC has over other clubs, in my opinion. Chris Bauer isn’t your ordinary goalkeeper coach. A Division 1 NCAA champion and later runner-up with Santa Clara University, the effort and time he puts into every player is phenomenal. I have improved immensely with his training and I know all ‘keepers in NSC have improved as well. His tip for a young goalkeeper?
“Just as in life, hard work, dedication and effort will take you far in soccer. I can teach you the finer points of goalkeeping but I can’t teach effort and hard work. That comes from the player. Also, the best goalkeepers in the world have incredible intensity and focus. I expect both out of every goalkeeper I train.”
Hard work. It’s what Brian and Chris put into every player they coach. This season, we’re going to show them why it was worth it.
Next, Kyler writes about the North Puget Sound League with Chairman DJ Yasui.