November 2021 Newsletter

 

STEVE'S THOUGHTS

 

Dear WMUSA Family,

I’m excited to welcome you to our first quarterly newsletter! Towards the beginning of each quarter, we’ll be updating you on the latest that’s happening around HillTop. In this edition, you’ll find…

  • information on our new online merchandise store,
  • an interview with our Goalkeeping Director, Todd Hoffard,
  • ways we’re getting involved in our community, and
  • upcoming dates to put on your calendar.

I’m continually impressed by the level of support we receive from our Board of Directors, Directors of Coaching, full-time and part-time staff, professional and volunteer coaches, players and their families, and countless volunteers that step up and make a difference here at WMUSA. Together, we’ve accomplished a lot in the last few months...

Land Development Plan

We’ve started to see real progress at HillTop. The old farmhouse is gone, electricity is being run in the parking lot and over the bridge, and a shed was installed over the bridge. We’ve also taken other steps to hopefully break ground on our two lighted turf fields as early as next spring. Stay tuned for a full update soon.

New Staff Members

In August, we hired Stef May as our U10-U14 Girls Director of Coaching. As the first female DOC in the area that I’m aware of, Stef brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to WMUSA. Her passion and enthusiasm for the game have already made a positive impact on our culture. In addition to her DOC position, Stef is also leading our coaching development, overseeing uniforms and equipment, and launching a parent education program.

Also in August, we created a Marketing & Communications Coordinator position, filled by long-time WMUSA Member and Coach, Asim Mujahid. This newsletter is a reflection of Asim’s involvement. Moving forward, you can also expect to see the launching of a redesigned website, improved communication throughout the club, and more community involvement.

New Partnerships

As many of you know, a new indoor/outdoor turf facility, The Far Post, opened recently. Through a partnership with them, many of our Travel and Premier teams now train there and will play in their indoor winter league. As part of our mission, we are committed to delivering our programs at top quality facilities such as The Far Post.

Additionally, we’ve revitalized our partnership with Rachel Hoeft, M.A., a Mental Performance Coach. Not only will she be meeting with our Travel and Premier players, but she’ll also be sending out a monthly article to all our Members.

We’re in the process of finalizing several other partnerships that will provide even more benefits to our Members, so stay tuned.

Feedback Encouraged

Over the past few months, I hope you feel like you’ve had chances for your voice to be heard. As a nonprofit organization, we serve you, our Members. Therefore, it’s important for us to know what we’re doing well, what we can improve, and what’s most important to you.

Through our Travel & Premier Town Hall and weekly Feedback Fridays, we’ve been able to gather a tremendous amount of Member feedback. We’ll continue to seek your input, use the information we gather to evaluate how we’re doing, and take action to improve.

Thank you to everyone who has shared their feedback with us so far. I encourage you all to continue to do so. Together, we’ll shape the future of the WMUSA Family.

-Steve


INTERVIEW WITH GK COACH TODD HOFFARD

Goalkeepers are critical pieces of all successful teams, and very often, overlooked. To gain some perspective into this misunderstood position and their training methodology, we interviewed West-Mont’s Coach Todd Hoffard, our new goalkeeper coach who hails from a rich background in the MLS and National Youth Programs.

Can you provide a brief background about yourself (as a player and as a coach)?


I was the Goalkeeper Coach for Real Salt Lake in Major League Soccer for 4 seasons from 2017-2020.  I have a vast amount of experience  coaching in both the men’s and women’s game at the youth, collegiate and professional levels.  For 3 years, I was a a GK  Coach for the United States Girls Youth National Teams at the U14-U20 Levels at various National Team Camps.  During this time, I also coordinated the US Soccer Training Centers for Eastern PA.  From 2015-2017, I was also the Head Women's Coach at Lebanon Valley College.  Prior to that I was the Goalkeeper Coach for the NY Red Bulls (MLS) during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. I was also the GK Coach for the 2011 MLS All-Stars when they played Manchester United at Red Bull Arena. During my tenure in New York, not only was I part of two MLS playoff seasons, but the team also won the Emirates Cup in London which included: Paris St. Germain, Boca Juniors and Arsenal.  My pro coaching experience also includes coaching for the PA Roar in the Major Indoor Soccer League.

I enjoyed an 8-year professional career after graduating from Division I powerhouse Hartwick College in 1994. I have been part of the US Soccer Region I ODP Staff and also PA ODP Staff. I finished my playing career with the Charleston Battery of the A-League during the 2001 and 2002 seasons. After being drafted by the Harrisburg Heat in the 1994 NPSL draft, I played for them for two seasons before moving on to the Cleveland Crunch and Philadelphia Kixx. I also played a season with the Albany (NY) Alleycats and three seasons with Reading Rage of the USL D3 League.

While playing, I was also coaching at the college level. In 1996 I was an assistant coach with Elizabethtown College before moving to the Division I level in 1998 with the St. Bonaventure University Women’s program. I spent two years with the Bonnies and helped them achieve the school’s first Atlantic 10 Tournament berth as well as breaking numerous other school records. In 1999 I became the goalkeeper coach for Oneonta State University and then moved on to be an assistant coach with the College of Charleston Women’s program. In 2003 I served as the goalkeeper coach for the UPENN’s Mens/Women’s teams and was the Asst. Coach for Temple University from 2009-2011.  I am the founder of ONE on ONE Goalkeeping and 2010 is the 28th year.  This is a program that has conducted training programs for youth, clubs, etc across the US and in 3 countries.  

How did you get connected with West-Mont?

I have known several members of the West-Mont staff for many years.  Steve Small, Tom Gosselin and Matt Woolley were the ones that were instrumental in bringing me into the club.  After leaving RSL and returning home to my native Lancaster, PA,, Steve contacted me to gauge my interest in being a part of the club at some level.  By knowing him, Tom and Matt for over 25 years, I was very comfortable with the club, its direction and commitment to the players so it was a very easy decision for me to be a part of it all. 

Do you have a philosophy about how you train your keepers? Specifically at these youth ages.  What is it based on?

Goalkeeping for me is very easy.  Keep it simple!  That is the same for any level.  I tell goalkeepers that I treat every goalkeeper the same.  I don’t care if you are a 20-year professional or a 10-year old beginner.  You will do the same sort of things in training, the only thing that will change dramatically at each level is my expectation of what you can/cannot do.  Technique is essential to being a quality goalkeeper.  And every goalkeeper will continue to work on it throughout their career.  There are no shortcuts to this position, and we need to find what works for each goalkeeper as every goalkeeper has different physical attributes that we need to be aware of during their development.  Goalkeepers will always have variations of the “textbook” technique that will allow them to be the most efficient goalkeeper that they can be.  I break goalkeeping down into 3 phases:  Before the Save (Phase 1), The Save (Phase 2) and After the Save (Phase 3).  The Save is always the easy part for me.  The difficult phases are the “bookends” (Phase 1 and Phase 3).  The better you are in these phases determines how good you will are or how good you will become…that is the difference of just being a “shot-stopper” or a Goalkeeper!

So, my philosophy is to present young goalkeepers with the tools to succeed.  It is our job to help them nurture their talent and find out what works best for them as individuals.  For no goalkeeper will ever be the same. 

At the youth level, especially the early years of U9-U12, finding goalkeepers is often a difficult task for coaches.  What advice do you have for youth coaches about either developing players in that position, or at least, just exposing kids to the position?

For me, we need to remember what age they are first and foremost.  Most youth coaches watch Premier League goalkeepers play on a Saturday morning and then go coach their youth teams.  They then expect their goalkeepers to play the same way that de Gea played that morning for Manchester United.  To me, that is so unfair to that young goalkeeper.  I recommend every coach to come and watch their goalkeeper’s train in our sessions.  Experience what they go through in training and see first-hand what they can and cannot do at different ages.  Each age range offers new challenges for the goalkeeper, especially during growth spurts!  Plus, these coaches then can see exactly what we are instructing them in regard to technical attributes and reinforce that during their training sessions and/or matches.  Most youth coaches do not have experience in the world of goalkeeping, so it is completely foreign to them.  So, if we can provide them with a little knowledge to help their goalkeepers grow and have a consistent message, we are ahead of the curve.

In regard to helping them become goalkeepers, I would never force anyone to be a goalkeeper if they don’t want to be one.  However, rotating players around in training so they might be a goalkeeper for a short training exercise or game I think is always a good idea!  If for nothing else, it helps allow that player to appreciate their own teams goalkeeper a bit more and what they do and how they do it. 

As a follow up to that, what advice do you have for parents who get nervous to see their kid in goal, or those parents who make it a point to tell their child’s coach “I don’t want to see my kid play goalie”?

I would say, that goalkeeping is a fantastic position that is only for players that truly want to be a goalkeeper.  If they are not sure they want to be a goalkeeper, you don’t have to be one.  It is a position that takes a lot of inner confidence, the ability to deal with pressure, ability to make split second decisions, courage, willing to make mistakes and move on, and so much more.  If you are not sure you can handle any of these or unwilling to, then goalkeeping might not be for you and that is totally ok.  However, if these types of things excite you, then you should give it a try!  My suggestion to parents, if your son/daughter wants to try it?  Let them experiment with it and see if they like it.  Try to not to allow your own fears of the position get in your childs way.  I would say, why wouldn’t you want your child to play goalkeeper?  They might not want to do it full-time, but at least allow them to experience it.  I think the exposure to it can only help them develop as a young person.  Now they know what the goalkeeper deals with and will likely be a better teammate in the future from experiencing the trials and tribulations from the position.  Don’t be afraid to allow your child to fail or experience new things.  It only helps them grow and nurture into solid young people. 

For younger goalkeepers, what cues indicate that a child may have high potential? Any advice for kids who are curious about goalkeeping, but maybe nervous to try?

If you are a good athlete, that is agile, quick and has a solid mentality/personality?  You have the makings of being a quality goalkeeper.  For me, if you have these aspects, we can train you to being a quality goalkeeper if you are committed to it.  But, committing to it will always be the biggest key to your success.  It takes a lot of work to be successful and that doesn’t just mean 2 nights a week and play on the weekend.  Players that “make it” are willing to train all the time and prioritize their development. 

Given that this is your first year with West-Mont, what are your goals and hopes for the GK program at the club?

It’s the same as anywhere that I have been through the years, I want to help develop goalkeepers to reach the higher levels of the game.  I am from Eastern PA myself and over the years this area has been a hot-bed for goalkeeping.  However, just like across the country, we have seen a drop off in our goalkeeping pool in both the mens/women’s game.  My goal is to help get this back so US Soccer can be the “go-to” nation for goalkeeping! 

If our goalkeepers can improve as individuals from a technical standpoint and can begin to eliminate opportunities “before” they become them by being very good in Phase 1?  Well, then we are getting somewhere because that is what goalkeeping is all about!  I say it all the time, goalkeepers that make 20-30 saves a game are typically NOT good goalkeepers…they might be good shot-stoppers, but not a solid goalkeeper.  For shot-stopping is just one element of being a quality goalkeeper.  I want us to develop the all-around Goalkeeper here at West-Mont!

Thank you for your time Coach Todd.  West-Mont is excited to have you on board, and looking forward to supporting you in the development of our players. 


COMMUNITY & MARKETING

For the last few months, West-Mont has been very active in several community projects.  Going forward, the club wants to continue to be active within our local community to provide our membership with volunteer opportunities, and to help support some of the local businesses and initiatives in our area.  Some of the work that we have recently been involved with include:

  • Raised over $15,000 for the WMU Financial Aid Fund at our 5th Annual Charity Golf Outing
  • Donated a basket for the Holy Cross Regional Catholic School Basket Raffle
  • Title Sponsor for Macaroni Kids SW Montgomery County "Pay it Forward Boo Basket" program
  • Partner for US Youth Soccer'sTopSoccer program to provide buddy volunteers to support community-based training and team placement for young athletes with disabilities.

West-Mont would like to thank ALL of the members who volunteered to support some of these great initiatives.  We look forward to engaging in more of these types of programs throughout the year.  For more information on program volunteer ideas or opportunities, please email asim@westmontunitedsoccer.org .  

On the marketing front, we have made good progress with the development of our online store.  We're workign on adding some exciting new products, so we've taken a little lmore time as we finalize those offerings.  We will be looking to add even more items over the next several months, so check them out and let us know what you think when the site launches!

In addition to the merchandise store, the new West-Mont United S.A. website is undergoing a redesign by our partners at Demosphere.  We should be launching that redesign in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

Field Signs - As a club, we've made great efforts to provide a sponsorship program that is mutually beneficial to West-Mont as well as local businesses in our community.  West-Mont offers field sponsorship opportunities where local businesses can advertise on large 6ft high double-sided 36" x 48" signs located at any one of our grass fields at HillTop.  The first few signs have recently been constructed, and have gone up this month.  Check them out and help support these local businesses that are helping our club with sponsorship!

Banner signs - In addition to the field signs, West-Mont is continuing with banner sign sponsorships for local businesses.  We've been fortunate to gain the help of several businesses for banner sign sponsorships at our fields, so many thanks to those businesses for their generousity.  You can check out their banners along the fences at Fields 1 & 2.

For more information on Field or Banner sign sponsorships, please contact sponsors@westmontunitedsoccer.org


UPCOMING EVENTS

  • November 6: Intramural Fun Day Tournament
  • December: Board Elections
  • Intramural Spring Season: April 2 First Games
  • 2022 Travel Team Camp Dates: 
    • Girls: Sunday 7/31 - Tuesday 8/2, 5:00-8:00pm
    • Boys: Wednesday 8/3 - Friday 8/5, 5:00-8:00pm
  • 2022 BAH Dates: 
    • Girls:  Aug 20 & 21
    • Boys: Aug 27 & 28