Our Brian Roberts put in some overtime last week as he hosted representatives from the eight Chicago Fire Juniors clubs across the country in their annual summit at Toyota Park. There was a distinct energy behind the event, as it led up to the home opener for the Chicago Fire Soccer Club, and a 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Union.
With the recent addition of affiliates in Kentucky and Michigan, there are now eight Chicago Fire Juniors clubs in Chicagoland, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Michigan. As Player Development Manager, Brian is their liaison with the Fire.
“The focus of our summit was to educate our affiliates on the new initiatives set by the player development department at Toyota Park,” Roberts told Chicago-Fire.com on Monday. “It also gives them an opportunity to network with one another and to pick up on areas of good practice on and off the field of play. "
Youth Elite Soccer's COO Matt Brown flew in for the summit, joining our Chicago Fire camps and training coordinator Chris Andrew in conducting interactive workshops designed to identify the technical and administrative needs and goals of each club.
As the camps and training partner of the Fire, the summit also gave our YES team the opportunity to update the CFJ representatives on the recruitment, training, and camps support that we offer to help them develop their clubs and engage their communities.
New for 2012, YES will offer CFJ clubs a Community Development Officer, who will play a multi-faceted role in the club and the community, from player training to coach education to social media management. YES will handle the recruitment, immigration, insurance, and payroll aspects of the CDO, leaving the CFJ clubs free to focus on developing their clubs.
And develop their players. Both of the club’s two Homegrown players, Victor Pineda and Kellen Gulley, came through the Fire Juniors ranks. While Pineda is a locally produced player, Gulley, a product of the Mississippi Fire Juniors, serves as an example to players his home club as well as those in Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana and Michigan that there is a way to the first team.
“Our objective is to serve as a hub for our affiliates in two dimensions,” said Chicago Fire Vice President of Soccer Operations Guillermo Petrei. “First, from a technical and administrative perspective, we pool and standardize best practices across our affiliates. Secondly, from a player perspective, we leverage our first team and ‘A Team for the World’ our international alliance with Atletico Madrid, to provide the best opportunities for all our players from the professional ranks down to the youth."
YES is proud to play a support role for CFJ affiliates, and excited to have Brian Roberts exporting the best practices and curriculum from the Fire's Player Development Department to our YESClubs all over the country.