St. Louis Scott Gallagher Illinois and Quincy United are pleased to announce a formal Educational Partnership agreed to this month and to run for a term of two years. The partnership, which has been in development since the spring of 2015, will see collaboration between the two soccer organizations in the areas of coaching education, technical development, operational best practices and creating a formal pathway for the top Quincy United players to further their development in National and Regional level platforms, namely the US Development Academy, US Club Midwest Developmental League and Elite Clubs National League.
The partnership will officially launch with a coaching education event on Sunday, February 28th when Decker, along with SLSG Illinois Girls ECNL Director, Shawn Hewitt, will travel to Quincy to conduct coaching education seminars with Quincy United Coaches and Players. During their stay, Decker and Hewitt will also meet with Quincy United Director of Coaching, Ryan Gottier, and the Quincy United board to discuss technical and operational best practices.
The partnership between the two youth soccer organizations is defined by three major components including coaching education, assistance in implementing new technical and operational initiatives and, finally, providing a player pathway to National and Regional level competitive platforms for talented Quincy United players.
The coaching education component will include SLSG Illinois staff, led by Decker who is a member of the IYSA Coaching Instructor Staff, traveling to Quincy to conduct coaching education seminars with Quincy United coaches and players.
When asked about the importance of coaching education, Gottier commented, “The success of any club is predicated upon the quality of its’ coaching staff. This partnership will bring in high caliber coaches to offer insight, instruction, and direction to ensure the coaching throughout the club is as effective as possible. Investing into our coaches will have a very positive effect on the player development process. We are looking forward to the ways this partnership can improve each and every player within the club.”
SLSG Illinois ECNL Director, Shawn Hewitt, echoed Gottier’s sentiments, “Continued coaching education is a vital component to any club who desires to be successful in developing players in a way that is consistent with their vision. As an organization, SLSG Illinois places a high priority on the continued education of our staff and we look forward to the opportunity to share in this same process with Quincy United. Our objective is not to say ‘our way is the way’ or impose the SLSG vision of player development on Quincy United. Our vision is just that, ours. Our goal is to provide information that will aid and assist the technical staff of Quincy United in further refining their own clubs’ vision of player development.”
The second component of the partnership will be a cooperative and collaborative effort between the technical and operational leaders of the respective organizations in order to share in discussions of best practices related to running a high performing soccer organization.
K. J. Whittaker, president of Quincy United, explained the importance of collaborating with another organization that has a proven and sustained track record in the area of club and player development. “St. Louis Scott Gallagher has long been recognized as one of the best clubs in the nation. Not only do they produce high quality players, but they are a model club that others try to emulate. This partnership will give us insight on ways to better organize our club and prepare our players to play at a high level.”
The component of the partnership between SLSG Illinois and Quincy United will provide a direct pathway to regional and national level platforms for Quincy United players who progress beyond the competitive platforms currently available to the club.
To this, Gottier added, “Any player development process must begin at the grassroots level and have a pathway that will provide the next level of opportunity for every player. Quincy has established a reputation for soccer excellence but has obvious limitations due to the size of the community. This partnership will provide the upper echelon of player the opportunity to be challenged at the next level. This pathway should provide players with increased incentive to achieve their fullest potential and take advantage of this opportunity. It will be a great day when a player that was developed in Quincy and progressed to the next level by SLSG has an opportunity to wear the red, white, and blue.”
SLSG Illinois is a member of both the US Development Academy and Elite Clubs National League, which currently represent the highest level of competition in the United States for boy and girls, respectively. The United States Development Academy, launched in 2007, is an extension of the US Soccer Men’s National Team program and currently serves that the main identification platform for Youth National teams. Since 2007, SLSG Illinois has placed 5 players into US National Team programs. The ECNL, launched in 2009 is run by US Club Soccer and also represents the main identification platform for the US Women’s National Team program.
“Over the years, SLSG Illinois has had many talented players from Quincy in our program,” commented Decker. “We look forward to now working directly with Quincy United as well as their board, technical leadership, staff and players to ensure that SLSG Illinois remains a place where talented and dedicated players from Quincy can continue to develop both as people and as aspiring soccer players.”