“Our goal with youth soccer players is not to win games. Our goal is to connect with and fully develop every individual player that we work with. How do we do this? Love and genuine care; it's that simple. The consequence of this approach is that our teams are generally successful anyway. It is not about winning or being at the top level of soccer; whether that be Premier, Flight 1, Elite or whatever. What matters is how much each individual improves. We are not building professional teams; we are helping individual athletes both on and off the field to be the best players and people that they can be. We teach them to be respectful of opponents, to work hard and to give 100% in every practice, game or challenge that they take part in. Basically, we are helping young players become better people. In today’s climate, that is worth a lot.”
- Paul Spacey, FC England Director of Coaching
FC England is a non-profit 501(c)(3) youth soccer program, committed to developing players in and around West Los Angeles (practices are primarily within Santa Monica). The club was formed to give players access to a progressive playing philosophy and an advanced level of coaching. FCE has only one team per age group as we are driven by quality, not quantity. Our intention is to help players develop in a competitive but ultimately enjoyable learning environment and our focus is on the individual athlete, not the result of the teams.
We don’t look for the biggest, strongest players who can kick the ball the hardest. We look for kids who have all-round athletic ability, good technical skills, game intelligence and most of all, a desire and willingness to work hard and learn from our coaches. For us, attitude and behavior come before everything else. Our teams practice 2 or 3 times per week and we expect our players to work on their technical skills and conditioning in their own time, as often as possible.
The club is run by a small board along with assistance from parents and other key volunteers. Our coaches are full-time professionals with qualifications from US Soccer, The FA (England), and other world soccer governing bodies.
If your son or daughter is looking to play in High School, our club is an ideal place to learn the game; virtually 100% of FC England players have made their respective High School teams since the club was formed in 2016. Paul Spacey, our Director of Coaching, is also the Head Boys Coach at Santa Monica High School.
At FC England, our retention rate (percentage of players who choose to stay with us each season) is more than 95%.
This is an unusually high percentage for club soccer and likely among the highest retention rates in Southern California, not just for soccer clubs but for all youth sports.
In the last two years for example, out of 110 players, only 2 actually chose to leave. That's just over 2% and this reflects our engagement with parents and commitment to making the experience as good as it can be for every kid we coach.
There are many aspects to the club that make us stand out but the primary factor is the genuine love and care we show to every one of our players in what is a true family atmosphere. We treat every player like a member of our family and this is why our environment is so unique and rare.
This personal relationship is hugely important from a coaching perspective and it is evident in the way the players respond to our coaches. It is a friendship, just as much as a coach-player relationship. Our coaches know that they are not just soccer coaches; they are mentors and friends to all of our players and the resulting environment is one that fosters true development and growth.
This page details some of the things we do as a club that will help your son or daughter but just as importantly, we expect players to ask themselves, “what can I bring to FC England and my fellow teammates?”
When we are looking for players, we look for much more than soccer ability; we are looking for hard working, honest, humble kids who want to be part of something special where they can learn and grow over many years.
Our style of play (the result of the way we coach every individual and the teams as groups) is very much an attacking, possession-based one with an emphasis on entertainment. Why entertainment? For us, there is no point in playing youth soccer unless there is entertainment all-round. We want our players to be entertained as individuals. We want teammates to be entertained by each other. We want parents and coaches to be entertained by the players and we even want opponents to be entertained! It's not a coincidence that, win or lose, we regularly receive comments from opposing coaches and parents in appreciation of the way our teams play.
Winning soccer is not always entertaining soccer and entertaining soccer is not always winning soccer. Entertainment (and therefore enjoyment) is, for us at least, winning in itself. That may sound idealistic and it is; we prioritize entertainment and development above winning and always will. That said, our winning record, for anyone who is interested, puts us in the top 5 out of 180 clubs in CSL for the last 3 years running.
We recognize that development and improvement are hugely important; therefore our priority is to help every player that we coach to develop both on and off the field. However, we do not ignore the fact that every individual wants to win. That said, improving as individuals and a collective group supersedes any focus solely on winning – therefore winning is not completely ignored; it is just secondary to improvement. The work we do in training and games is our real focus and therefore it is about the whole process, not the result. The quote below sums up perfectly our approach to coaching youth players:
“Some youth academies worry about winning. We worry about education.” – Xavi Hernandez, FC Barcelona & Spain
Why don't we focus on winning? Simply because it is something outside of our control. The 'process' is controlled by us; we determine the elements of the process (hard work, energy, performance based on how we practice) but we cannot determine the outcome. The outcome of any game is (statistically speaking) roughly 50% decided by chance. Therefore it makes no sense to focus on the end result when 50% of it is outside of our control! We cannot control the outcome but we can control the process and so that is the most important thing to us.
In order for youth soccer players to develop quickly, three key ingredients are required:
1) PASSION – This could come from parents, a role model, or even a film that ignites a desire to work hard at the game. We certainly help to bring out and develop our players’ passion for the game.
2) PRACTICE – Deliberate and meaningful practice is absolutely vital for the development of any youth Soccer player. Players need to be challenged in every single practice session and one of the best ways to do this is via specific small-sided games / pressurized possession situations. We focus very heavily on these aspects in all of our team training sessions.
3) COACHING – Top quality coaching is perhaps the most important ingredient of all. Our coaches possess many of the essential characteristics required to develop young soccer players; they are inspiring, set high standards, and organize practices that provide situations where players are regularly challenged to think for themselves and solve problems. They demonstrate skills and techniques with professional-level precision to give players a visual guide, and they encourage and welcome risk-taking and mistakes; two key elements needed to improve and develop.
When choosing a club and coach, it is worth remembering that qualifications and badges mean very little without the ability to deliver. And this is where our coaches excel – exceptional delivery.
Every aspect of our philosophy is geared towards player improvement. We don’t look at opponents as enemies, for example. This is youth soccer. We look at opponents as a way to help us develop (and hopefully we help them). Our opponents are another cog in the wheel of learning and development.
FCE’s regular player tuition fee for 2020/21 is $2,695 (no increase on last year) and this applies across all age groups (see below for scholarship opportunities). We have fee structures to match AYSO and Recreational level costs for those families unable to afford regular tuition fees. No player will ever miss out because of financial reasons; if you make one of our teams, we will always find a way to figure things out financially for you.
We have options for upfront, annual or quarterly payments (four payments in May, July, September and November). Fees do vary among clubs but by registering your son or daughter with FCE, you are ultimately paying to ensure they receive the best possible level of coaching, in a unique environment that will allow them to develop. Fees cover the following expenses:
There is a $325 uniform fee for all new players and our uniforms are currently supplied by Nike.
Thanks to generous donations from parents and corporate sponsors, we have both partial and full scholarships available for families who are unable to afford regular tuition fees.
For families who have only previously been involved in AYSO or Recreational soccer for financial reasons, we have scholarship options to match both AYSO and Recreational costs. Here at FCE, we do not believe finances should be a restricting factor in terms of young players being able to enjoy club soccer and really thrive via exposure to our professional level coaching and environment.
Please Contact Us to discuss further.