We have used Sports Quest training for over 8 years, starting at U10 and finishing up this Fall, as the Boys wrap up their youth soccer career. Over this period, the Boys have clearly improved their soccer skills and knowledge (as demonstrated by their results) but, more importantly, have benefited from Sports Quest’s commitment to teaching integrity, character and personal values that have and will continue to position these Boys for success well beyond their soccer career. I and all our parents, would highly recommend using Sports Quest training for any team that is looking for such a balanced approach to youth development.
Over this period, the Boys won 5 EDDOA division titles, being promoted to a higher division in each of the last 4 seasons culminating with winning the State Classic League this Fall. They won 2 State titles, one US Regional title and finished 3rd in the 2012 US National President’s Cup.
Deepak Lumba, Head Coach, TUFC Westside 95 boys
My son has been associated with his current team for six years (U13-U18) and the team has been part of the former Westside Soccer Club and Texas United Futbol Club during that time. Our team has been fortunate to have had only one head coach during that period and I have been an assistant coach for the last four years (my coaching experience as a head coach and assistant coach in competitive soccer is a total of 10 years). Our team has had the great fortune of being trained by Sports Quest (SQ) during its entire eight year existence; however, my comments are on the last six years. During this time, we have had three primary SQ trainers, Jim Spence, Ivan Ruddle, and Matt Miller. Jim has been with the team the entire time, with Matt and Ivan being involved during U13 through U15.
When we started, the team was ranked as Division II, Super Blue and had just won state their U12 year. However, a number of players were leaving the team for “greener pastures” and new players were joining the team (my son included). From that U13 year, six players currently remain on the team. Each year since U13, the team has added 1 or 2 players to the roster. At present, 10 out of 15 players have been with the team for 4 or more years.
During our six year journey, the team has progressively moved up the soccer rankings to Division I Classic and then State Classic League. Each Fall season we finished in the upper part of the bracket and we finished second in state in Fall 2009 (U15). Each Spring in Cup Play, we again finished in the upper part of the bracket. In Spring 2012, we played President’s Cup (U17) and were State Champions, Region III Champions, and finished third in Nationals. The data demonstrates a steady rise in achievement on the soccer field built around a core of solid players.
The team, players and parents, have benefitted from SQ training. For the players, they have received:
· Customized training based on player/team needs. SQ trainers attend nearly every game and can evaluate team play and make decisions on strengths and weaknesses;
· Vast knowledge of soccer and soccer training methods;
· Consistent content and message of training;
· Fun, competitive atmosphere during training (when something is fun don’t we want to do it more?); and
· Consistent delivery (trainers on time and prepare each session).
Benefits for the parents include:
· A wealth of knowledge delivered to their child with clarity;
· An organized, fun and safe learning environment; and
· Absence of a “win at all costs” mentality and message.
However, the greatest benefit to the team is the Christian-centered ministry that envelopes training. The ministry is given with a light touch, but enough to demonstrate to the players the importance of Christianity in their lives. At the end of each training session, the SQ trainer gathers the players for 5-10 minutes of lesson. The lessons were stand alone, but revolved around a theme, often a Bible verse. Jim was great at weaving sport and the theme into a life lesson. These sessions were so interesting and good that I didn’t want to miss them. I know that they were beneficial to me and my son! He often made comments or asked questions about the message.
Our boys were typical young men that made the good and bad decision as they grew up. But I feel strongly that this ministry had a positive impact on their development. Our players were “gentlemen competitors” that showed respect and sportsmanship to opposing players, coaches, and referees. They acted in a mature manner that only got better with age (which is uncommon for teens from 14 to 18 years of age). While good parents played an important part, I strongly believe this mature way also came from years of seeing the actions and hearing the messages of the SQ trainers.
I would strongly recommend SQ training to young teams. Jim and his staff proved to me that they know the right training and message to deliver to the players as they develop. During my first two years with the Westside team I believed that “our players” were more advanced for their age and could “handle” a more complex training program and field strategy. I advocated this approach to our head coach and trainer. The SQ trainer listened and diplomatically engaged me on my recommendations. But, patiently showed me that player development is typically in small, steady increments and that team development is magnified as all players progress, not just a few “quick learners”. This steady progress over years paid off tremendously during our U16-U18 years when depth of talent and understanding of tactics produced the highest level of success on the field. It is during these middle teenage years that having success, along with having fun doing it, builds a solid foundation for life.
Michael Ross, Assistant Coach, TUFC Westside ’95 boys
“I started my youth soccer coaching career 15 years ago. About 10 years ago I met Jim Spence and Sportsquest. Our partnership lasted the entire time. Quite simply, Jim is a complete trainer. He and his staff have a firm yet gentle approach to the kids and their training is top notch. I said our partnership because that is exactly what it was. Over the ten years that we worked together Jim helped my teams make the playoffs four times and twice we played in the state championship tournament.
It was always my view that youth soccer is as much about teaching good soccer as it is about teaching young people professionalism and how to be good assertive adults. Jim helped me along the way. I could not have done what I did in soccer without Sportquest. I give Jim Spence and the Sportsqust team my highest recommendation.”
Chris Tritico, Head Coach TUFC Cyclones '95 boys
We used Sports Quest to train our team once/week the first year but quickly understood the value of using professional soccer trainers and moved to twice/week at U11 D2 with Kevin Dove as our first official SQ trainer. At U12 we won our first State Championship in the spring Director’s Cup in Austin, Tx. At the same time, our girls were growing both in character and as skilled soccer players. That success allowed us at U13 to move up to Super 2 as part of Eastern District Super 2 (EDS2). The core of the Wildcats were still from RCE but each year we would drop the bottom 2 players and bring on 2 new, more skilled players though tryouts or recruitment. Our own players and parents turned out to be the best recruiters. At U14 we were fortunate enough to win our second State Championship in Alvin, Tx. with our new trainer Ivan Ruddle. The Wildcats were now D2 & S2 State Champs! All that was left was to claim one at D1.
At U15 we moved up to Division 1 with the Eastern District Division One Association (EDDOA) and Ivan continued to help our players improve so we quickly moved up the ranks. At U15 Jim Spence and Wes Frommel took the reins and for the last four years we were consistently in the Top 10 of Division 1 teams in EDDOA.
We did so even though we practiced twice/week and all of our competition practiced three/week. At U16 we merged Westside Soccer Club with Bear Creek Soccer Club to
form Texas United Futbol Club with Sports Quest still in place as the lead training firm. Although that third state championship escaped us, the three founding principles for our the Wildcats never wavered, they were to have fun, build character, and do their best to play hard, competitive soccer. We succeeded on all accounts because of the dedication and founding principles of our (dad) coaches and trainers at Sports Quest.
The Wildcat players, parents, and coaches highly recommend getting started with Sports Quest as soon as possible. The financial commitment is far outweighed by the success a team will have by superior professional soccer training as well as the character development component which addresses important leadership issues from a Christian perspective. Several Wildcats will be taking these skills to the next level with the scholarships they received to play NCAA College soccer.
University of Tulsa and Stephen F Austin will be the recipients of two of our best players next year and maybe more. Their growth and success can be directly attributed to the focus on foundational soccer skills, a creative curriculum, and the hard work of Sports Quest trainers under the guidance of Jim Spence.
Thanks so much!
Brian Morris, Head Coach TUFC Wildcats ’95 Girls
TUFC Competitive Director/WSC President
As a parent, I had reservations when Brian invited Annie to join his club soccer team in the 5th grade. I had heard stories about club soccer and over-the-top trainers, coaches, and parents. I agreed to let Annie join after receiving assurances from Brian that this team would be different because they were using Christian-based soccer training and that soccer would not have to be each player's number one life priority.
My reservations disappeared when I saw first-hand the positive, encouraging approach to soccer training by Sports Quest, the prayer to end each training session and to start each game, and the ministry lessons in integrity, character-building, and sportsmanship given by the Sports Quest trainers. I realized my daughter was getting a lot more than soccer training. She was getting personal development from positive adult role models.
Looking back on the many games our team played, I am proud of the way our team, coaches, and parents conducted themselves during matches and I believe the tone and example was set by the Sports Quest trainers. They did not scream and yell at the players or referees, something I did see with some competitor clubs. Our Sports Quest trainers were encouraging and positive towards our girls, and professional and respectful towards the referees.
Last, one of the benefits of keeping a team together for so long is the friendships that develop between the players, parents, and trainers. The numerous games, parties, and periodic travel together allows people to get to know each other really well and develop friendships that will likely last long after the final soccer match is played.
Mike Sohmer, Assistant Coach TUFC Wildcats ’95 Girls
Just a thank you for the past several years with the Cyclones. We so appreciate Sports Quest's involvement in Kyle's growth not only as a soccer player but as an individual. We could not have been blessed with a better mentor!.
JK & Margaret McAndrews - Parents TUFC Cyclones "95 Boys