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FutbolCoach

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A recent conversation about how to improve the quality of our Alabama club teams to the point where we could compete with the better states in Region III turned to how Oklahoma clubs were able to be competitive with the better and more populous Region 3 states.  

 

One answer is sheer number of registered players.  In Region 3 the state of Oklahoma gets about twice as many registered USYS players from a state population of a million less people than Alabama.

 

Number of registered players in 2006-07: (rough estimate)

 

Alabama: 19,000

 

Oklahoma: 38,000

 

Total Population: (Estimated 2006)

 

Alabama 4,599,030

 

Oklahoma 3,579,212

 

So what is Oklahoma doing that results in so many registered players and what else do they and similar state organizations do that allows their quality of play to be at so much higher a level than Alabama?

 

Oklahoma is a good case study for Alabama because they have proven to be competitive in the Southern Regionals while Alabama seldom has a team make the quarterfinals.  The size of the state, number of urban areas, clubs, etc. seem to be similar to Alabama's.

 

Can those of you that are familiar with Oklahoma provide any insight?

 

Thanks,

 

Ken Gamble

dsports@hiwaay.net

MikeS

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Reply with quote  #2 
FC,

Go to Wikipedia and search Oklahoma City and Birmingham. Look at the demographics of each. Both cities are the largest in their respective states(1M+) but the cultural make up is totally different. OKC looks like it has more potential soccer customers than B'Ham.

BTW, thanks for taking Nick off our hands.

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AFB

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Ken,

Let me suggest three factors that Oklahoma has that Alabama does not that contribute to the success at Regionals and also lead indirectly to the higher registration count.

First, for a number of years Oklahoma had a professional soccer team in the Tulsa Roughnecks that played in the old NASL and then for a few years at various levels in the USISL.  The impact of a professional club exists not only in raising awareness of the sport, but also in bringing in people who know the game and can teach it.  The former pros often stay in the community they last played in becoming the coaches for future generations of players.  Alabama has not had a professional franchise (the defunct minor league indoor version does not count).

Second, Oklahoma is located closer to strong competition.  The stronger clubs, Hurricanes, TSC (both in Tulsa), ESC and NOKC (both in Oklahoma City) are four to five hours by car from Dallas or Kansas City.  This means that they have a selection of tournaments and friendlies that is challenging. 

I rarely see Alabama teams at major tournaments.  And the major tournaments that do exist near you - Germantown,  Brentwood or in Atlanta - are this close only to the teams in the Huntsville area and not to teams in Montgomery or Birmingham.  At the least the additional three hours driving time to reach these major tournaments means teams have to leave early on Friday, which many teams are unable due to school and work to do. 

Third, there is no major college program (for men) in Alabama.  This reduces the options players may have, news about the sport, and like the professional game, the pool of future coaches.  Oklahoma in Tulsa University has a strong men's program.

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Some wisdom from Winston Churchill:

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"You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life."

"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else."
Maddog

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Reply with quote  #4 
AFB is right on the mark several of the old Tulsa Roughnecks still live and coach in Tulsa. That is a major cause of the quality of play being much higher than Alabama. 38,000 is still a small number to draw from for a competitive program. In my area of Washington there are more than that playing in each of the districts of WSYSA. Yet California draws from even a larger pool. Has a lot to do with success in regional & national competitions.

Get better coaching that is the best hope I know you have to compete against bball, & pointy mindsets in your area. But good coaches make all the difference.
dadinsavannah

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Reply with quote  #5 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maddog
AFB is right on the mark several of the old Tulsa Roughnecks still live and coach in Tulsa. That is a major cause of the quality of play being much higher than Alabama. 38,000 is still a small number to draw from for a competitive program. In my area of Washington there are more than that playing in each of the districts of WSYSA. Yet California draws from even a larger pool. Has a lot to do with success in regional & national competitions.

Get better coaching that is the best hope I know you have to compete against bball, & pointy mindsets in your area. But good coaches make all the difference.

This is gospel.  Different sports, but several examples:

The little town I grew up in had 7000 people.  Starting about 5 years after the YMCA started their gymnastics program they owned the competion in the YMCA league then moved to AAU.  They did quite well there and were climbing through the rankings when I left town.  Thats coaching, not talent pool.

When I was in HS the pointy team in the next school over went to the State finals 8 years in a row, winning 4.  They won about 75 straight regular season games.  The first loss was after the long time coach retired.  They had talent, but it was more that all 11 players on the field knew their job and did their job every play.

Team Savannah had 3, maybe 4 lifters on the US Olympic Weightlifting team in Sydney.  One medalled, another finished about 8th, can't remember the others.  Weightlifting isn't in the water in Savannah, but there is a good coach or two.

There are many, many good athletes out there in the world.  Good coaching can help them shine.

Bobby
TomK

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Reply with quote  #6 
AFB,
You make some good points, but your geography is a little off. Birmingham is closer to Atlanta than Huntsville, and it's all interstate. It would be a two hour drive to the west edge. It's ~180 miles from Huntsville to Atlanta, none of which is interstate, resulting in about a 3+ hour drive to the NW corner. We have been at tournaments at the north, northeast, and south parts of Atlanta. Germantown is about 3 hours from Huntsville, but I think it's probably possible to get there from Birmingham in a little over 4. I once left a tournament in Germantown (younger son) at ~ 9 AM to make it to a league game (older son) in Chelsea, east of Birmingham, and we arrived by 1:30. Brentwood, TN, is less than two hours from Huntsville, and less than 3 hours from Birmingham, though the tournaments that we've been to in Brentwood are not at the level of the Memphis and Atlanta tournaments.

My son's team once made the finals of the Germantown Invitation, losing to Naperville, 0-1, though I won't argue that AL teams reach that level very often.

University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB) is not a bad soccer program. They have been in the NCAA D1 championships at least twice. One of their players, Jerson Monteiro, has played a little with the Chicago Fire this year. I just looked it up and he's had 154 minutes in 5 games and one start, which is more than I realized. And a few years ago, Peter Byaruhanga was picked up by the Wizards, though he didn't last. I don't know much about the coach.

Although the metro areas of Oklahoma City and Birmingham are similar in size, Oklahoma City itself is almost twice as big as the city of Birmingham. I don't know if this reflects a difference in structure or it indicates that Oklahoma City is more centralized, but it could be a factor. Birmingham soccer clubs have undergone some mergers lately and more may be in the works, but in the past they tended to be associated with specific suburbs, e.g., Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills, etc..

AFB

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Reply with quote  #7 
Tom,

I defer to the native.  It has been about 20 years since I drove north/south through Alabama.  In the recent years I have either flown to Huntsville on business or driven across Interstate 10 on my way to Florida.

As to the Universities, UAB did well last year and Alabama A&M's program is not bad, but it is not how the University has done in the last five years that matter, but their presence for many years, literally decades - long enough to establish a loyal following and to produce knowledgeable coaches from the players who stay.  The current coach at Tulsa University, is an alum of the program and has been the head coach for 13 years.  (That should highlight the time frame and tradition concepts.)   He is heavily involved in the local soccer community.  The previous head coach now leads the women's program at some small college in Indiana called Notre Dame.  That is a tradition that to my knowledge is lacking in Alabama, though you may now be developing one.

It is the years of success and tradition that breeds strong youth programs. 

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Some wisdom from Winston Churchill:

"Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened."

"You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life."

"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else."
Maddog

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Reply with quote  #8 
Tom if it will make you happier there are fewer kids playing in the Tulsa area than in the late 70& early 80's losing the NASL hurt the growth. There are more in the OKC area than in the early days but OU has a fair womens team.
What Tulsa gained was experienced professional players who stayed and worked with the local youth it made all the difference. If they had just left the area soccer would have easily collapsed because they have to deal with the same predjuices against the game as you face in Alabama.
TomK

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Reply with quote  #9 
AFB,
I found this on wikipedia:
Quote:

UAB began a men's soccer program back in 1979. Throughout its history, UAB has enjoyed quite a bit of success in both the men's and women's soccer programs. The men's team has been in the NCAA Tournament a total of 5 times including 2 Sweet Sixteen appearances and 1 Elite Eight appearance in 1999. The men's team has been ranked both regionally and nationally numerous times throughout its history. One of UAB's biggest wins in the men's team history came when UAB upset the #1-ranked UCLA Bruins in 1997 by a score of 2-0. UAB would upset another #1-ranked team in 2006 when they beat the SMU Mustangs by a score of 2-1. The men's team plays their home games at UAB's West Campus Field. Mike Getman is the head coach of the men's team.


I noticed that one of the UAB asst. coaches also coaches the best '92 Boys team in the state. I looked up his biography and he played for UAB for three years, including a NCAA Tournament appearance in 1994. I also looked up the head coach and see that he played at Indiana, and "the Blazers have been ranked in the National top 25 in each of the last 11 years and have made 5 trips to the NCAA tournament."

Maddog,
I'm not quite sure how to take that comment. It does not make me feel better to learn there are fewer players in Tulsa than there used to be. I'd like to see more players everywhere. My son's HS, a very good team with a 26-3-1 record, played close games with both Tulsa Memorial (2-1) and Tulsa Union (0-1), which shows that they have some good players.  I think Tulsa Union was ranked in the top 5 HS teams at the time.

I don't have any experience with youth soccer other than here in Alabama, but I don't think there is are any worse prejudices against it here than in many places. It is much more soccer friendly than the small town in Kansas that I went to HS. There has been a soccer-specific shop here since 1979, founded by an immigrant from England. It has expanded to two stores in recent years. South Alabama is less friendly to soccer than northern Alabama.

We do have lose a fair number of kids to football, but that's doesn't seem to be unique to this area. I think the biggest factor related to soccer participation is that I think populations are more centralized in OK.
AFB

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Reply with quote  #10 
Tom,

UAB and its impact on the soccer community in Birmingham and on the State are not the same as Tulsa.  I know players who have played at both and I have talked to coaches who have been in both programs and in other programs in each State, including for example Mark Francis, who used to coach at South Alabama before coming to Kansas University and Joe Klosterman who plays for UAB and played for my PDL team.

It is good, but it is not as deep or as long.  Compare these differences -

UAB has an assistant who was an alum - Justin Griffin - who played on the team's first conference championship and NCAA tournament team in 1994, played in the EISL (minor league indoor soccer - very minor league), but the college sought a non alum for the head coaching job, looking to a more storied program Indiana.

Tulsa has a head coach, not an assistant, who was an alum.  He has been involved in coaching local teams since the 1980's.  Significantly, Tulsa looked to an insider to be the head coach.  In other words, the AD had confidence in the quality of product the school produced that they did not have to look for someone from an Indiana.  The previous coach was no slouch, either; he was hired away to take over the Notre Dame women's program.

You cite two players who have been drafted from UAB to the MLS, one has a few minutes and the other did not make the team.

In the same span of time, Tulsa, according to their web page: "Over the past five years, five players have gone on to play professionally, including four (Ryan Pore, Kyle Brown, Daniel Wasson, Lawson Vaughn) in Major League Soccer and one player (Robbie Aristodemo) has played both in the United Soccer League and in the Major Indoor Soccer League."

Ken asks why Oklahoma has had more success at the local level than Alabama.  I noted that Alabama did not have a major men's program.  That was a poor choice of words for what I meant.  They have a program that over the last ten years has grown to be a Regional power.  They do not have the tradition, however, that Tulsa has had, which is about three times longer.

I looked at both rosters last night, both the statical rosters with playing minutes for the last five years and overall rosters.  It is only in the last few years that Alabama players received significant playing time and even so over half the roster is from outside the State.  Given the scholarship limits I would guess that most of the money is going to out of State players.  I know the break out with Tulsa and about half their money stays with in State players and not surprisingly they have more players from Oklahoma and surrounding State son their roster than UAB does.

For most colleges the foundation of long term success is built on local talent.  There simply isn't the money nor the players willing to travel far from home to do otherwise.  The local colleges and youth programs often have to pull themselves up together.  The problem for the college coach though is he is expect to win, not build, and he often does not have the time to accomplish what must be done.  At UAB the trend appears to be toward more local talent, but that trend has not existed long enough.

I would be curious to learn where the players in your State ODP program look to attend college.  Where are the Regional team players in particular are going?  Do they stay in State? Or, do most look elsewhere?  I tried to find this information, but I could not quickly locate it.  This would tell you a great deal about the opportunities players see and the ability of the college programs to hold the players to the State.  Oklahoma has been successful in this and by keeping the talent home has created a strong youth coaching base over decades and also demonstrated that their opportunities to play locally.  This has also been true of St. Louis soccer for fifty years and is a major source of the depth and strength of soccer in Missouri. 

 

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Some wisdom from Winston Churchill:

"Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened."

"You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life."

"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else."
TomK

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFB
Tom,

UAB and its impact on the soccer community in Birmingham and on the State are not the same as Tulsa. ...


I did not mean to imply that it did, though I appreciate your contrast of the two programs. It's interesting.

Quote:

I know players who have played at both and I have talked to coaches who have been in both programs and in other programs in each State, including for example Mark Francis, who used to coach at South Alabama before coming to Kansas University and Joe Klosterman who plays for UAB and played for my PDL team.

It is good, but it is not as deep or as long. Compare these differences -

UAB has an assistant who was an alum - Justin Griffin - who played on the team's first conference championship and NCAA tournament team in 1994, played in the EISL (minor league indoor soccer - very minor league), but the college sought a non alum for the head coaching job, looking to a more storied program Indiana.

Tulsa has a head coach, not an assistant, who was an alum. He has been involved in coaching local teams since the 1980's. Significantly, Tulsa looked to an insider to be the head coach. In other words, the AD had confidence in the quality of product the school produced that they did not have to look for someone from an Indiana. The previous coach was no slouch, either; he was hired away to take over the Notre Dame women's program.


Your phrasing implies that it is better to pick a alum over an "outsider". Did you mean to imply that? I would think a program would want the best possible coach regardless of where they went to school, using alumni status as a tiebreaker.

Quote:

You cite two players who have been drafted from UAB to the MLS, one has a few minutes and the other did not make the team.


Just to keep the record straight, when I said, Peter Hbaruhanga "didn't last", I meant he was only there one year and never was a regular starter. Peter played in 6 games for the Wizards, with 2 starts, and an assist. Technically he was part of the 2000 MLS Cup winning team. Monteiro only signed with the Fire on 5/23, so one wouldn't; expect him to leap to prominence. He has played in 5 of a possible 7 games, with one goal scored. I saw him play last fall and was impressed, so I'm curious to see if he'll be successful. Another former UAB player, Clint Baumstark, a backup keeper, played in MLS from 2003-2005. I was about to mention that there were several others who had played USL, and I found the following list while I was looking for their names:

International

Rumba Munthali (UAB 1997-2000) Nanchang Bayi in China

Igor Fuentes (UAB 1994-1996) - Municipal de las Condes in Chili
Loukas Papacontantinou (UAB 1993-1996) - Darlington FC in England
Nelson Matta (UAB 2000-2003) - Bolivia
Erik Kuster (UAB 1996-98) - Cakonee in Croatia

MLS

Jerson Monteiro (UAB 2003-2006)

Sandy Gbandi (UAB 2003-2006)

Leandro de Oliveira (UAB 2003-2005)

Marin Pusek (UAB 2000-2003)
Tony McManus (UAB 1999-2003)
Clint Baumstark (UAB 2001-2002)
Roberto Najarro (UAB 1997-2000)
David Clemente (1997-2000)
Peter Byaruhanga (UAB 1998-1999)
Carl Bussey (UAB 1998)

USL 1st Division

Jason McLaughlin (UAB 2000, 2003-2004)

Maurice Hughes (UAB 2004-2005)

Kareem Morgan (UAB 2000-2003)
Flavio Monteiro (UAB 1999-2002)
Brantley Spillman (UAB 1998-2001)
Rumbani Munthali (UAB 1997-2000)
Joe Draganic (UAB 1994-1997)
William Giummarra (UAB 1994-1995)
Joe Mattacchione (UAB 1994-1997)
Justin Pratt (UAB 1995-1999)
Erik White (UAB 1993-1995)
Danny Ziannis (UAB 1993-1996)

I also saw the Byaruhanga coached locally up until last year.

Quote:

In the same span of time, Tulsa, according to their web page: "Over the past five years, five players have gone on to play professionally, including four (Ryan Pore, Kyle Brown, Daniel Wasson, Lawson Vaughn) in Major League Soccer and one player (Robbie Aristodemo) has played both in the United Soccer League and in the Major Indoor Soccer League."

Ken asks why Oklahoma has had more success at the local level than Alabama. I noted that Alabama did not have a major men's program. That was a poor choice of words for what I meant. They have a program that over the last ten years has grown to be a Regional power. They do not have the tradition, however, that Tulsa has had, which is about three times longer.


I can see how a tradition would help a program to be stronger, because good players would want to be a part of that tradition, but I'm not sure I see any inherent benefit beyond that. If program A is better than B, does it matter how long it's been around? Of course, I can see how a tradition would tend to help youth soccer in the area, by raising the prestige of the sport.

Quote:

I looked at both rosters last night, both the statical rosters with playing minutes for the last five years and overall rosters. It is only in the last few years that Alabama players received significant playing time and even so over half the roster is from outside the State. Given the scholarship limits I would guess that most of the money is going to out of State players. I know the break out with Tulsa and about half their money stays with in State players and not surprisingly they have more players from Oklahoma and surrounding State son their roster than UAB does.

For most colleges the foundation of long term success is built on local talent. There simply isn't the money nor the players willing to travel far from home to do otherwise. The local colleges and youth programs often have to pull themselves up together. The problem for the college coach though is he is expect to win, not build, and he often does not have the time to accomplish what must be done. At UAB the trend appears to be toward more local talent, but that trend has not existed long enough.


Good point. Monteiro was originally from Angola and the reason he didn't sign until last May was related to his green card status. However, it appears that many out of town players stay around. My son's last two coaches are Ugandan and both attended college here.

Quote:

I would be curious to learn where the players in your State ODP program look to attend college. Where are the Regional team players in particular are going? Do they stay in State? Or, do most look elsewhere? I tried to find this information, but I could not quickly locate it. This would tell you a great deal about the opportunities players see and the ability of the college programs to hold the players to the State. Oklahoma has been successful in this and by keeping the talent home has created a strong youth coaching base over decades and also demonstrated that their opportunities to play locally. This has also been true of St. Louis soccer for fifty years and is a major source of the depth and strength of soccer in Missouri.



Ken will know more about this than I. I know of several HS girls who will be attending Alabama colleges, but I don't know their ODP status. I'll be interested to see what he has to say.
zimler

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomK
Good point. Monteiro was originally from Angola and the reason he didn't sign until last May was related to his green card status. However, it appears that many out of town players stay around. My son's last two coaches are Ugandan and both attended college here.


Hey Tom,

This is the whole point of having a school with tradition and what everyone is saying the big difference from Tulsa and UAB. I will say that many out of the country players stay where they went to school. The stronger the program and the more alluring it is for the internationals and national players. When you graduate almost all of your contacts come from two places where you were raised and where you went to college. This is where having a good local program benefits, because then you keep the talent and all of there job contacts are in that location.

The same is true for having a pro team. Many pros stay in the location where they last played. There was an article recently here in KC about Dino who played for the Comets becoming a DOC of a local club. This is the advantage of having the pro teams and decades of high level soccer.

The trainers are what make the difference and the more that you can keep local and stay and coach after they are done playing. The stronger and more teams you will have in an area.

in terms of colleges wanting to hire the top coach you are right they do. So when Tulsa higher an Alumni knowing what you said to be true then they probably where seen as good if not better than all of the other coaches, with the fact that the coaches from Tulsa move on to stronger programs only solidifies this.

Tom instead of becoming defensive and wanting to support Alabama take what is being said and think about how to use it. Right now things that Alabama could benefit from are a pro team, and a few more years of having a strong program that both of which will slowly build the coaching pool in the area.

All of the people you list that went to play pro how many of them are from Alabama and how many of them return to Alabama after they are finished. It is this that will create the coaching pool, not just being able to say you have players that went here that have gone on to play pro.

To throw into the mix of things that will increase the chances of having stronger coaches in an area is how well can they raise a family there. Here in KC on the state line for years KS had the stronger teams because most of the good coaches lived on the Kansas side. Only with in the last decade or so has many of the suburbs on the MO side started to grow and rival those on the Kansas side and now MO has the nicer fields and just as many strong teams as KS because the coaches that have been graduated or retired for 5-10 years now have kids and they are coaching those teams and there is an equal amount living on both sides of the boarder. Just another thing to think about.

So, UAB is on the right track but first wait 5 years and you will see soccer grow in the area. The way it works is first you must bring in the potential coaches, ie college/pro players. Then they must want to stay and coach in that area usually not starting to coach until they have kids of their own or need the extra income. Then they need to be good coaches, as has been discussed before just because you played at a high level doesn't make you a strong coach. This is where the numbers need to be high because many of the potential coaches don't stay, many don't coach, and even those that due are not guaranteed to be good.

I hope this helps and sums up what AFB is trying to point out. Alabama is on the right track. Having a pro team would speed up the process but it just takes time to happen and even longer to see results.
FutbolCoach

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Reply with quote  #13 

I wrote this as my speculation on the subject (comparison of why Oklahoma has succeeded where Alabama hasn’t) in a discussion with some local DOCs -  before I posted the question to this list.  It seems to match with what most posters have written here.

 

Oklahoma has a much longer and storied soccer history than Alabama.  They had a number of good professional soccer teams in the 1970s and 1980s (Roughnecks, Slickers, Warriors, etc.).  We didn't even have high school of any measurable size until the mid to late 1990s.

 

I asked both their boys and girls reps that same question and they had a variety of reasons why Oklahoma teams had gotten so much better in the past 5 years.  

 

They cited the burgeoning Hispanic influence on the boys side. 

 

On the girls side the main reason was that although there were a lot of clubs and players, the most talented players had starting moving to just one or two specific clubs.  That seems to be happening in Alabama to a degree (Huntsville girls playing for BUSA teams).  But because we only have half as many players the effect is not as big as it is in Oklahoma in terms of the overall talent of a specific team. 

 

They also have the "North Texas" effect.  Dallas is nearby.  Dallas is only 170 miles from Oklahoma City (only 120 between suburbs) and 220 miles from Tulsa.  A lot of people seem to move to Oklahoma from Dallas so you have an influx of players.  The two city's club teams play each other quite often.  Birmingham is 130 miles from Atlanta but we don't have the same number of teams in either Atlanta or Birmingham to have the same sort of competition.  There is another effect with Kansas City to a lesser degree. 

 

The west Region 3 premier league is also much better than the central R3 league and good competition makes good teams into great teams.   The best central region 3 teams are not the same as the best western R3 teams.   

 

 

I did not consider the effect of college soccer but obviously that has an effect – especially if the players remain in the area to coach after college. 

 

I also had not checked the demographics closely.  Alabama has a population that is 26.4% black and 2.3% Hispanic while Oklahoma has a population that is 7.7% black and 6.6% Hispanic.  At this time the black population in the states is largely uninterested in soccer while the Hispanic population looks to soccer as its first choice among sports. That difference really affects the market demographics for soccer in each state.

 

The ODP Players generally look to the state schools but few get chosen for the D1 schools.  Many get scholarships to the smaller schools – both in-state and out of state.  Alabama had five players that played on the national youth teams last year.  Those players get their choice of schools but choose ACC schools when offered a choice.  Two will attend UNC (Bill Dworsky & Merritt Mathias). 

 

Speaking in a broad sense, the regional ODP players on the boys’ side have been few and those end up at smaller schools.  There are more Regional ODP players on the girls side and those have generally still gone out of state.  Auburn and UAB have each started recruiting more of the in-state players.   

 

Many of the more successful in-state programs still fill their scholarship quotas with out-of-state (and often out-of-country) talent although gains for local players are being made there.       

 

I had hoped to hear that Oklahoma’s state association had some sort of marvelous strategic plan that had helped them.  But it appears that there is no magic solution to emulate Oklahoma. 

 

Some goals for Alabama should be: continuous gains of about 5% per year in total registered players, gains in rural areas, gains in new Hispanic talent, raising the level of both high school play and top clubs and a gradual gain in numbers of local players making the rosters of state colleges.

 

If anyone has other ideas I’d like to hear them.  It does appear that Oklahoma is a good model for Alabama to use for long-term gains. 

 

Ken Gamble

  

zimler

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Reply with quote  #14 
Having played in AZ where there is a large Hispanic population but no pro team or top D1 schools in the area. They do have a lot of JuCos that recruit from out of the country for players that also coach for extra income. This builds on the coaching pool that they have already insuring top coaches for future years.

That would be my suggestion. Get the college players coaching before they are done with college. Use them as assistants and give them some extra income. This is the best way to poll in coaches to coach right from school and keep them local. Most college players do not have time for a job that will pay as well with the flexible hours that coaching offers them.

Just another suggestion of a way to quickly increase the talent pool of the area. It still takes time though and the effects will take about 5 years to become noticeable on a large scale.

Maddog

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Reply with quote  #15 
Ken Oklahoma would be an excellent model, they have faced and addressed many of the obstacles you face in Alabama. When I mentioned good coaching I meant even at the lower levels, a good coaching education program is important.

Here is a link to the Tulsa side of OSA (Green country soccer) check out by laws etc. http://www.gcsoccer.com/
TomK

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zimler
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomK
Good point. Monteiro was originally from Angola and the reason he didn't sign until last May was related to his green card status. However, it appears that many out of town players stay around. My son's last two coaches are Ugandan and both attended college here.


Hey Tom,

This is the whole point of having a school with tradition and what everyone is saying the big difference from Tulsa and UAB. I will say that many out of the country players stay where they went to school. The stronger the program and the more alluring it is for the internationals and national players. When you graduate almost all of your contacts come from two places where you were raised and where you went to college. This is where having a good local program benefits, because then you keep the talent and all of there job contacts are in that location.


My son's coaches both attended a local college with a generally poor to average record. They did not go to UAB, so I don't think they support your point. It could be that the living conditions in the US are better than in Uganda.

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The same is true for having a pro team. Many pros stay in the location where they last played. There was an article recently here in KC about Dino who played for the Comets becoming a DOC of a local club. This is the advantage of having the pro teams and decades of high level soccer.


That makes sense. On the other hand, Wichita had an indoor team for ~20 years. I don't doubt that that helped soccer in the area, but I don't think it made Wichita a soccer powerhouse. I actually started playing in Wichita, but I knew nothing about youth soccer there.

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The trainers are what make the difference and the more that you can keep local and stay and coach after they are done playing. The stronger and more teams you will have in an area. Agreed

In terms of colleges wanting to hire the top coach you are right they do. So when Tulsa higher an Alumni knowing what you said to be true then they probably where seen as good if not better than all of the other coaches, with the fact that the coaches from Tulsa move on to stronger programs only solidifies this.


I am not sure what you are saying. I agree that a strong soccer program will produce players who can later come back and be effective coaches. I don;t see that that would automatically make a returning player a better choice than an otherwise excellent coach who did not play at the school. I can see that a good coach might prefer to return to coach at his old school.

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Tom instead of becoming defensive and wanting to support Alabama take what is being said and think about how to use it. Right now things that Alabama could benefit from are a pro team, and a few more years of having a strong program that both of which will slowly build the coaching pool in the area.


How am I being defensive? I am unfamiliar with Tulsa soccer other than knowing that two Tulsa high schools are pretty good, and having watched the Tulsa Roughnecks a couple of times in '81 & '82 (I had season tickets for the Ft Lauderdale Strikers), and I haven't disagreed with anything significant that has been said about Tulsa. Having done some research, I think UAB may have a little more tradition than I realized, but I can't compare it with Tulsa. I don't doubt that having the Roughnecks in Tulsa was good for soccer there.

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All of the people you list that went to play pro how many of them are from Alabama and how many of them return to Alabama after they are finished. It is this that will create the coaching pool, not just being able to say you have players that went here that have gone on to play pro.


I was providing evidence that UAB has a strong soccer tradition. It is certainly not proof that it equals Tulsa. I don't know the history of most of these players. The former Wizards player played for the Atlanta Silverbacks for a while, then coached here for at least a few years, but for a different club with girls, so I don't know any details. He is not coaching here this year, at least at that club.

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To throw into the mix of things that will increase the chances of having stronger coaches in an area is how well can they raise a family there. Here in KC on the state line for years KS had the stronger teams because most of the good coaches lived on the Kansas side. Only with in the last decade or so has many of the suburbs on the MO side started to grow and rival those on the Kansas side and now MO has the nicer fields and just as many strong teams as KS because the coaches that have been graduated or retired for 5-10 years now have kids and they are coaching those teams and there is an equal amount living on both sides of the boarder. Just another thing to think about.

And not something subject to my influence....

So, UAB is on the right track but first wait 5 years and you will see soccer grow in the area. The way it works is first you must bring in the potential coaches, ie college/pro players. Then they must want to stay and coach in that area usually not starting to coach until they have kids of their own or need the extra income. Then they need to be good coaches, as has been discussed before just because you played at a high level doesn't make you a strong coach. This is where the numbers need to be high because many of the potential coaches don't stay, many don't coach, and even those that due are not guaranteed to be good.

I hope this helps and sums up what AFB is trying to point out. Alabama is on the right track. Having a pro team would speed up the process but it just takes time to happen and even longer to see results.


"First wait five years"? All colleges bring in players. Every year. Some stay. Some are good. Successful schools tend to bring in better players. There's not much I can do at the college level to change it one way or another.

We had a EISL (minor league indoor) team for a season and a fraction. I don't think it was here long enough to have much of an effect. The odds of getting a pro team anywhere in Alabama are low, because we don't have the population. There is PDL team in Nashville, but I have the impression that they struggle. I know of one local (college women) coach who played with them for at least a couple of seasons.

It didn't help much. AFB generally presents his point of view pretty well and I don't doubt most of what he says. I think he may have underestimated UAB, but if someone is familiar with both UAB and Tulsa, and says Tulsa has the better program, I have no reason to doubt it.

Ken's original question was why does OK have more registered soccer players even with a smaller state population? I think that has been partially answered. It is not clear to me what action, if any, this answer means to the average parent or low level coach. The best I can come up with is that I could attend more college games which would help with funding, but I don't see any way to influence either the coaching or the players at local colleges. I don't think we have a prayer of getting a pro team here.
Devistator16

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FutbolCoach

A recent conversation about how to improve the quality of our Alabama club teams to the point where we could compete with the better states in Region III turned to how Oklahoma clubs were able to be competitive with the better and more populous Region 3 states.  

 

One answer is sheer number of registered players.  In Region 3 the state of Oklahoma gets about twice as many registered USYS players from a state population of a million less people than Alabama.

 

Number of registered players in 2006-07: (rough estimate)

 

Alabama: 19,000

 

Oklahoma: 38,000

 

Total Population: (Estimated 2006)

 

Alabama 4,599,030

 

Oklahoma 3,579,212

 

So what is Oklahoma doing that results in so many registered players and what else do they and similar state organizations do that allows their quality of play to be at so much higher a level than Alabama?

 

Oklahoma is a good case study for Alabama because they have proven to be competitive in the Southern Regionals while Alabama seldom has a team make the quarterfinals.  The size of the state, number of urban areas, clubs, etc. seem to be similar to Alabama's.

 

Can those of you that are familiar with Oklahoma provide any insight?

 

Thanks,

 

Ken Gamble

dsports@hiwaay.net

Their club system is still way behind, just like STX is behind NTX, I have to say besides clubs like ESC or Tulsa Nationals, Celtic, ect they aren't really looked on as a threat, especially in Region III Premier league.  I would be trying to compare yourself to NTX.  Your main problem though is that your whole side of the Region is so much weaker and you don't get to play enough quality competition on a regular basis.  Until there are enough clubs in Alabama to keep eachother in check I don't see there being much progress.


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JohnR

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Originally Posted by Devistator16
Your main problem though is that your whole side of the Region is so much weaker and you don't get to play enough quality competition on a regular basis.

Aren't they on the side with Florida and North Carolina?

CASL won U14 boys last week, and TFC of North Carolina took Solar 60 minutes into the match before Solar could put them away. Toss in the two best Florida squads, and you'd have 4 teams there that would be at least the equal of the top 4 NTX teams at that age group.
AttackingMid

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Reply with quote  #19 
I don't know the demographics of each state well,  but I have a suspicion that OK's population is concentrated in two cities:  OKC and Tulsa.  I'm not even sure I've ever been in AL,  but I suspect the population is somewhat more dispersed.

Colorado is only a bit over 4 million in population,  but the vast majority of that population is concentrated in the 120-mile corridor stretching from Ft. Collins down to Colorado Springs.   Population density is one of the key factors in the quality of soccer played.  I suspect quality has some effect on popularity also.

Just some random thoughts.

AM.

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Dogsplayingsoccer

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Reply with quote  #20 
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Originally Posted by AttackingMid
...Population density is one of the key factors in the quality of soccer played...
 

Not just population density, but SOCCER population density is the key factor. If you draw a fifty mile radius around Dallas you encompass about 100,000 youth soccer players. That many players makes for a cutthroat competitiveness not seen anywere else in the South.

FWIW "Dallas" soccer is what is dominant, not North Texas. No one in North Texas can remember the last time anyone outside DFW won a state cup.

And much of that can be attributed to the strength of our local boys league and girls league. Note that South Texas has had state cup champions from Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, & Austin.




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