Q & A with Sedgwick
Posted on: Wednesday, December 5, 2012
By: Hervey Simard
After spending eleven years coaching in the NCAA Div I and Div II, Neil Sedgwick returned to Vancouver Island to join the Victoria Highlanders as PDL Assistant Coach and Director of Youth Development.
Sedgwick spent seven years as head coach of The University of Montana women’s soccer program, leading the club to the Big Sky Conference tournament in 2004, 2006 and 2008. Prior to this, Sedgwick spent two years as The University of North Dakota's Head Coach, then three years as the Associate Head Coach at The University of Southern California.
Q: In August, it was announced that the Victoria Highlanders FC and Lower Island Soccer Association would be working together on a joint program called the Learn 2 Train Centre, for youth in the region between the age of 8 – 12. In your opinion, what have been some of the early successes so far?
We have a number of quality coaches who have come together to provide coordinated development opportunities to these young players. We work off of a common curriculum that every coach is fully committed to delivering. The young players in our program are hearing consistent messages and this bodes well for their long term development.
Q: What is the current structure of the Highlanders Youth Development Programs?
It really is quite straight forward. We partner with the Vancouver Island Wave within the Learn to Train Centre from u10 - u12, then we run the Club Prospects from u13-u16. The Club Prospects is a once per week program which provides club players an opportunity to be part of the Highlanders programs and be part of a like-minded group of players focused on high performance. The Club Prospects feeds into the full-time Highlanders' Prospects programs for u17 and u18 boys and girls.
Q: How many youth are currently participating in the program? And how many Highlanders staff are currently working with the athletes?
We have nearly 180 players in our programs below u16 and 40 boys and girls in our Prospects. We have four full time coaches and 12 coaches who assist with the delivery of our programs. These coaches include an A License, seven B License, and five National Coaching Institute graduates. The remainder are working towards this certification.
Q: What are the objectives of the Youth Development Programs?
We believe in the Highlanders Way which combines a structure and a system of instruction that
patiently but deliberately takes players through the stages of growth outlined in the LTAD model
[visit Canadian Soccer Association for more information]. Ultimately we want to work with VI Wave
and the clubs on Vancouver Island to nurture a "talent hotbed" which once existed on the island. Our goal is to be part of the best player development structure in the country. This means building relationships and offering consistent programming bottom to top.
At the top of our youth Development Structure within the Highlanders are our PDL and WLeague
teams. If we do a good job our Prospects programs will produce players for these teams and we want to be part of the development of the players who are able to play at the next level of collegiate, professional and national teams.
Q: What are the topics that the training groups will be applying at training during the fall-winter season that you have introduced for the Club?
The training groups will continue to focus on individual technique and decision making. We are
fortunate to have quality coaches who are and we're exceptional players. This playing ability combined
with solid teaching mechanics allows them to provide a clear picture of the movements to players but
just as important, these coaches can also recognize the decisions that need to be made within a game.
We have a clear curriculum based on the Habits/Principles that we want developed and find essential in
all top end players.
Q: If an athlete currently plays for a local community club, how could they actively take advantage of
the Youth Development Programs?
Players simply have to contact us or go to our website to find more information on our programs. If they
feel it is a good fit they can register and join into training.
The training provided is meant to heighten their awareness and expand their technical abilities. This
combination will certainly allow them to return to their clubs and make a stronger contribution.
Q: What kind of player will thrive in the Youth Development Programs?
Players who are great listeners, willing to challenge themselves (which often means making errors), and
take the lessons home and practice.
Q: What level of commitment is expected of players in the Youth Development Programs?
Players in our u16 and below programs are expected to train once per week and then practice
throughout the week so we can advance the following week's training as a group.
Q: When will the details be released for the intake of athletes looking to participate in the Spring
Development Teams for 2013?
We will release details about out Development Teams Program in February. It was an exciting debut of a
program last year and believes it will only be stronger in 2013.
Get into the Holiday Spirit with a special offer from us to you. Purchase your special someone season tickets and a Highlanders FC scarf for only $60. There are only a limited quanitity of this holiday package, so get yours before they are all gone. To secure your holiday package go to SoccerWorld at 831 Vernon Avenue or call (250) 475-3777