published Monday, March 12th, 2012

Chattanooga Football Club set to start soccer academy

  • photo
    The Chattanooga Football Club plays an exhibition game in this file photo.
    Photo by Robin Rudd /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

In an effort to increase player development and unite the local soccer community, the Chattanooga Football Club is starting an academy.

The application for the youth club system has been submitted to the Tennessee State Soccer Association and CFC is hoping to have the program up and running in time for the 2012-13 season, general manager Sean McDaniel said.

In February CFC hosted a soccer summit that brought together more than 30 representatives in the area soccer community to discuss player development. Out of that meeting, McDaniel said, came the idea for CFC to create an academy.

"We felt like after our soccer summit that if we created our own youth club, we could control and manage the player development in such a way that by the time they get up into the collegiate ranks they can be contributors to our team and even beyond," McDaniel said.

Some of the aspects of the club are still developing, but McDaniel said the older players will compete with teams from around the region and country, while the players ages 8-12 will focus on training.

"Our interest is not bringing home trophies when they're 8, 9 and 10," he said. "Our interest is by the time they get to middle school and high school, we've created a soccer foundation for them and a culture of playing the game properly, which then can lead to success."

One of the coaches CFC has hired to work the academy's players is Pedro Kozak, who runs the Premier Soccer Academy in Chattanooga. Kozak played professionally in Argentina and also coached the Canadian under-17 boys national team before founding his academy in 1997.

CFC board member Krue Brock said the plan wasn't to create an academy when the amateur club that plays in the National Premier Soccer League was founded four years ago.

"It was one of those things where the way things were playing out here, it almost necessitated it more than us thinking about doing it," he said. "We weren't pushing for this on our own, it was something we were being encouraged to do [following the summit]."

McDaniel said the academy's managing board, which will be separate from the CFC board, is still being put together.

Contact John Frierson at jfrierson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.

about John Frierson...

John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...

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