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Youth Boys Sep 28, 2012

After wave of growth, Va. Club Champions League’s fall season off to prosperous start

By Roger Gonzalez

The new season of Virginia Club Champions League is underway, and the rapidly-growing league continues to provide its member clubs with valuable player development opportunities in a competitive but cordial environment.

VCCL features Under-11 through U-18/19 play, administered in a club-centric model designed to maximize technical development while simplifying life for coaches and parents with “club-to-club” scheduling that grants flexibility regarding individual teams’ game times and the like. A recent expansion into Northern Virginia has proved so successful that several Washington, D.C.-area clubs across the Potomac River in Maryland have joined up as well.

“The biggest thing is, it’s geared towards player development,” Prince William Soccer, Inc. technical director of coaching Ken Krieger told Soccer Wire this week. “It’s a very competitive league…We have accumulateda  very strong group of players, a very strong group of coaches.

“Each team, instead of fighting to the death for promotion, plays to improve. Your club, such as Prince William, our responsibilities are to put the best teams that we possible can on the field. It’s a player development model.”

Krieger’s Prince William Courage girls’ teams have started the fall season as well as any in the league. PWSI’s 95 Gold girls and 96 Red girls squads have both played four games, have won each contest they have played and are both in first place.

“The girls are coming along,” said Krieger, father of U.S. women’s national team star Ali Krieger. “I was placed in this position to follow through with a formal education of the game.

“I want them to be as creative and free to make decisions on their own, but also within the framework — there are rules and expectations.”

The teams have done very well. The 95s beat reigning U.S. Youth Soccer national champions Braddock Road Elite 4-0. Meanwhile, the PWSI 96s beat their Braddock counterparts, also a very good side, by the same score.

“To say the least, at this point and time, I’m very happy with all of the kids,” Krieger said.

Krieger expects his teams to improve and hopes that they can find a balance between wanting to win the league but also improve on a game-by-game basis.

One of his players that has raised eyebrows thus far is Annah Lindberg, who has steadily improved in her time with PWSI. A talented player who can play almost any position, Potomac Soccer Wire’s Korrio Player to Watch for August is committed to North Carolina State and has been contributing goals and assists regularly in VCCL play.

On the boys side, Arlington, PWSI and Loudoun Soccer have been the top two clubs overall, as each have two teams leading their respective standings while also seeing positive results in terms of their individual players.

“We’ve been happy with it,” Mark Ryan, Loudoun’s Director of Coaching-Travel, told Soccer Wire earlier this year. “Anyone who’s been out to one of our game days, I think you’ll see very competitive games in a good environment.

“You’ll see technical staff of both clubs talking to each other, analyzing players and staff – it’s done in a good, competitive but friendly environment.”

[ +View current VCCL standings here ]

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