Youth Club Profile: New Orleans Soccer Academy (NOSA)

Interview with Marc Nicholls, director of coaching

ò Location: New Orleans.

ò History: Formed as FVB in 1990 by Franz Van Balkom, Louisiana's first director of coaching. Became NOSA in 1994.

ò Championships: 2001: 6 state championships; 5 USYSA Region III bronze medalists; U-17 boys Region III runners-up.

ò Most famous players: "Ask me in five years!"

ò Number of players: 250 (select, ages U-11 through 19); 50 (tots and developmental program, ages 6-11).

ò Number of select teams: 17 boys and girls.

ò Number of coaches: 12.

ò Cost to play: $650 to $750 per year.

ò Coaching salaries: Approximately $500 per month.

ò Facilities: University of New Orleans campus.

ò Club philosophy: "We provide a positive and healthy environment for players, parents and coaches to achieve their goals in life."

ò Recruiting philosophy: "Like every good club, we identify and recruit good players, within the framework of the rules."

ò Club's greatest strengths: "Our players, and our sense of history. Also, because we are purely a select club, no recreation board of directors dictates to us."

ò Club's biggest challenge: "Educating the parents."

ò Club's most recent controversy: "Battles with our state association and rival clubs over issues such as recruiting and travel permits for showcase events. We were denied a travel permit to go to the Raleigh Shootout, because it's an ODP weekend."

ò State of soccer in Louisiana: "It's improving, but the emergence of new clubs in every parish can dilute talent. There are five or six clubs in New Orleans, and we can probably support only two."

ò Biggest rivals: "Any club within 50 miles of New Orleans. They all want to beat us."

ò Sponsors: Bellsouth, Puma, Gatorade, Lupin Foundation.

ò Fund-raising: Jog-a-thon.

ò Unusual fact: "Our office is in the Pope's Altar, which was built specifically for the Pope's visit in 1988, where he spoke to 200,000 people."

Contact: e-mail: NOSA1@bellsouth.net.

Web site: www.no-sa.org.

by Youth Soccer Letter Editor Dan Woog

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