Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Club Cooperation Pays Off in So Cal (Q&A with Todd Saldana, Part 1)
by Mike Woitalla, December 14th, 2012 3:35PM

MOST READ
TAGS:  development academy, youth boys

MOST COMMENTED

Interview by Mike Woitalla

Southern California club South Bay Force had its application to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy rejected, but Director of Coaching Todd Saldana still found a way for his players to play at the highest level of boys soccer in the USA thanks to a partnership with Pateadores. It led to Saldana coaching the U-18s to the Development Academy national championship in 2011. Now the South Bay Force has partnered with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

SOCCER AMERICA: How did the Pateadores partnership come about?

TODD SALDANA: We have a club that’s not in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy or ECNL. But we’re pretty strong. We had a really exceptional group of kids but when we applied to the Academy we could not get in.

The Pateadores [an Academy club] contacted me about forming a partnership. We had a very, very strong group. They were willing to let me bring the whole group in. Our 16s and 18s became their Academy teams. I coached the older group and our other coach assisted with the 16s.

It ended up working out really well. We were only with them for two years, but my fantasy, which came true, was we could show the quality we had so either Chivas USA or the Galaxy would be interested in us as a club -- to start partnering with someone local.

SA: So now the South Bay Force works the Los Angeles Galaxy …

TODD SALDANA: After we won the national championship, the Galaxy approached us and asked us to partner with them. …

We were driving to Orange County, 45 minutes, three nights a week, to get the kids to train down there [at Pateadores], because that was an Academy requirement. With the Galaxy, they’re at the Home Depot Center [in Carson], and that’s our neighborhood.

It’s a chance for our kids to play in the Academy program.

We figured we can either have a partnership and be a part of it, and  have some say in it, or watch some of the players leave on their own and find Academy programs. Now at least we’re a part of the process.

It was a matter of either being a part of the process or trying to fight against – as people say, “Keep ‘our’ players at our club.” I have a hard time being able to justify that when there’s a higher level and they’re being seen by U.S. Soccer weekly. They’re part of an MLS team, they’re pro-tracked kids. They can get seen by a pro club. And I’d have a hard not helping our kids do that.

SA: How does the partnership work?

TODD SALDANA: We do what we normally do as a club, developing players to U-18. Our strongest players have the opportunity to play for the Galaxy’s Development Academy teams.

And since the Galaxy added younger teams, 14s, 13s and 12s – our strongest play in those teams also.

SOCCER AMERICA: With about 40 percent of your club’s players coming from lower-income homes, does the partnership help alleviate some of the financial burden?

TODD SALDANA: In some ways. Because if these kids make the Galaxy team, they don’t have to pay anymore.

But it’s still a challenge. We do all kinds of fundraisers. We do offer financial aid. It’s a never-ending battle to fund all the top players who want to play for us. It is one of our biggest challenges. It’s also part of the reason for the partnership with the LA Galaxy.

(Editor’s note: The Los Angeles Galaxy signed Jose Villarreal, a member of Saldana’s 2011 Academy title-winning team to a homegrown contract last December. The Galaxy signed 18-year-old South Bay Force alum Oscar Sorto to a homegrown contract for the 2013 season and is also considering Gyasi Zardes, a Force alum who has starred for three years at CSU Bakersfield. Villarreal, Sorto and Force alum Javan Torre are on the current U-20 national team roster.)



2 comments
  1. Sidney Hall
    commented on: December 15, 2012 at 8:19 a.m.
    It's great to see a success story about US youth soccer. Too often all we see and read about is failure. I've always believed that the best teams, clubs, and players will always find an opportunity to be seen and appreciated. Great story. Thank you.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: December 17, 2012 at 9:52 a.m.
    It is great. Maybe other Academy clubs can learn from this. What Pateadores did was realize the quality of coaching at South Bay Force and did not their ego get in the way of giving these kids the best opportunity. They got some positive marketing out of it.


Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Youth Soccer Insider
Massapequa returns McGuire Cup to New York for first time in 59 years    
Massapequa Arsenal became the first team from New York to win the McGuire Cup since 1959 ...
'Coaches in Latino community need support from parents' (Joe Supe Q&A)     
Joe Supe, head coach of Southern California's Irvine Valley College's women's team, has spent two decades ...
Development Academy honors include best 'style of play'    
Unique in postseason awards, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy recognizes teams for best "style of play" ...
U.S. Soccer OKs caps for refs     
Kudos to the U.S. Soccer Federation, which has announced its approval for referees to wear caps.
FC Dallas youth movement forges ahead     
Last Saturday, MLS's first-place team FC Dallas beat D.C United, 2-1. Its first goal came from ...
MLS teams book all Development Academy final spots    
Georgia United U-15/16, the only non-MLS club to reach the semifinals of either age group in ...
Matias Asorey: 'If players enjoy training, they give more effort and energy'    
Matias Asorey, the Technical Director of Florida's Kendall Soccer Coalition, was 2014 U.S. Soccer Development Academy ...
Is skipping high school soccer worth it?    
My son got invited to play on a U.S. Soccer Development Academy team. But that would ...
Cooperation formula pays off for Georgia United    
Seven of the eight semifinal spots in the two U.S. Soccer Development Academy age groups have ...
Street Soccer USA's Lawrence Cann: Creating a model for urban America    
Lawrence Cann is the president and founder of Street Soccer USA, whose purpose is to strengthen ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives