As a youth soccer club, Downtown United Soccer Club (DUSC)’s mission is to train and inspire youth soccer players of all ages, abilities and financial backgrounds in a positive and supportive environment. Annually the club provides soccer to over 4,000 players aged 4-18 across NYC.
Can you give us an overview of programs currently offered by DUSC?
We currently have boys and girls programs for all ages (birth years 2013 to 1999), experience and ability levels. These include fall and winter recreation leagues, instructional classes, camps, and — in partnership with New York City Football Club (NYCFC) — schools program. For our advanced players, we have an academy program.
What is the DUSC approach to soccer education?
Primarily, DUSC hires coaches who we feel will be inspiring role models to our players and who promote positive character traits — working hard, being coachable, learning from mistakes, sportsmanship, and resilience. Soccer gives us a privileged opportunity to influence the lives of our players. By creating a positive learning environment, we look to challenge our players at every opportunity. Our approach is for players to have maximum touches of the ball so they become confident with it at their feet. After a solid base has been established, we can then move onto more advanced aspects. Whilst sessions are challenging, they are also fun and engaging. We know that players learn through repetition and that repetition leads to mastery. The key thing for us is that players fall in love with the game, regardless of their skill level. Once a player sees that through hard work and focus they can improve and we, as coaches, can then help them grow and develop as players.
What do you feel is the most important factor when coaching soccer?
As mentioned above, players need to have fun and be challenged. Having fun without getting players out of their comfort zone doesn’t really help them. That said, for me, the most important factor when coaching soccer is patience. Players all have different learning styles and speeds. It is vital that we give our players time to learn and attempt to implement their newly learned skills with confidence.
What is the difference between the DUSC Recreation League and the Instructional Classes?
Our Recreation League provides an opportunity for players to play games against other players/ teams. The league emphasizes skill development, team play and sportsmanship through small-sided games in a positive and supportive environment. The Recreation League is coached by volunteer parents with an emphasis on fun and learning. DUSC Classes are taught by professional coaches and our classes provide a gateway for the dedicated recreational player to our more competitive programs like the Academy. Classes are 10 weeks in duration and curriculum-based. Skills are taught in a focused environment. Advanced classes are also offered for the more skilled players for supplemental training. Managed by a staff, the Academy is a 10 month program is geared towards the complete development of high level players looking to progress to the collegiate level and beyond. We have helped develop players into college, professional clubs and the US youth national teams.
What is unique and special about DUSC?
Above everything, DUSC is a community soccer club. Regardless of a player’s experience, skill level, or background, there is a home for them within DUSC up to age 18. We have programs for players new to the game, for advanced players and for those that want to simply play with their friends. Scholarships are available for all players who require financial support; we make soccer accessible for everyone. Our coaching staff comes from all over the world and reflect the diversity of New York City. In addition, we also aim to give players an opportunity to give back to the community through refereeing, community service and coaching. We care about each player’s progress through the club both on and off the field.
Can you tell us more about your schools program on the Lower East Side?
DUSC uses soccer to educate students in the Lower East Side about healthy eating and lifestyle habits. In partnership with NYCFC, DUSC identified six young leaders (aged 16-20) to set up and run a soccer program for elementary schools (PS 110, PS134 and PS20). Through this program we are able to tackle obesity and health issues whilst also equipping, training and growing young leaders. Two of our young leaders recently went to the Global Youth Summit in Manchester (UK) to meet with other young leaders from across the world. You can find more about that at www.cityzensgiving.org
What are the biggest challenges of running soccer programs in the city?
Our number one issue is space, both outdoor and indoor. All our programs are pretty much at capacity right now and in order to impact more players through soccer we need to find more fields and school gyms to use. Also, we also want to continue offering soccer to everyone, regardless of their financial standing, so we are always looking for sponsors, both individual and corporate. If anyone can help in either of these areas they should definitely let us know!
For more information about DUSC go to www.dusc.net
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