Wicomico County Recreation & Parks Partner with Elite English Soccer Academy
Matrix Soccer Academy Offers Unique Opportunity for Players and Coaches
SALISBURY, July 24, 2015 – Charlie Jackson and his renowned Matrix Soccer Academy and method have partnered with Wicomico County to take youth soccer skill development to a whole new level on the Eastern Shore.
Matrix Soccer Academy is based in Manchester, England where Charlie currently works as an elite skills development coach for Manchester City FC as well as the Scottish FA developing international caliber players and coaches for his native Scotland.
Local Salisbury resident and area soccer product Bryan Watson (Parkside High School and Salisbury University) serves as Matrix Soccer Academy’s US and North American President and is charged with implementing the program and expanding the overall reach of the Matrix Method. “It is a very exciting time to be part of the soccer community here in Salisbury. We are incredibly fortunate and privileged that Charlie has chosen Salisbury as the US headquarters and location to implement this amazing development method and philosophy,” said Watson.
The Matrix system is based around thousands of carefully designed technical drills using real games scenarios in a high-contextual, peer-led learning environment proven to develop not only a technically superior player but an intellectually challenged individual.
“It’s led by the players and develops both creativity and leadership skills,” says Jackson. “There is too much of a focus on winning and not enough on developing intelligent players – especially at the younger ages. Football is not just about steel and grit, it’s about skill and finesse. Through Matrix the children have to work things out: open the body up, twist and turn, make a decision on how to receive the ball and what to do next. You don’t have to be a superior athlete but you do have to have the right attitude to have success in the Matrix.”
The Matrix has received rave reviews from the who’s who of the European soccer scene. Not only does Charlie work with the 2014 EPL Champion’s Manchester City, he has worked in the past for Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers and is the first and only coach commissioned to develop a DVD on Matrix Coaching by Europe’s soccer governing body UEFA (Union of European Football Associations). In addition, he is the only English coach to consult with the world-renowned Ajax Academy in Amsterdam.
“The Matrix development structure is based upon a layer of building blocks, upon which fundamental skills are superimposed. The final building block uses a combination of all the previous building blocks working in harmony. A Matrix player can pass, move, create space and execute a trick in the right time and place. They work individually and as a team to solve problems and are coached to be tactically aware. Such a philosophy is a clear progression from the static drill based environment of classic methods.”
Dr. Tony Strudwick
Head of Athletic Development
Manchester United FC
The goal for the collaboration between Matrix Soccer Academy and Wicomico County Recreation & Parks is to provide a player development program and bridge between recreational soccer and select soccer. Throughout the program, regardless of level, players will adhere to the philosophies and methods of the Matrix Way.
“Our mission is to provide affordable, high quality programming for our residents and to attract visitors to Wicomico County,” said Andy Kitzrow, Recreation Superintendent. “We believe Matrix Soccer Academy gives us a rare opportunity to do that on a number of levels. Along with international renowned programming we see significant opportunities to attract visitors through tournaments, camps and clinics. As a soccer player and fan myself I am overwhelmed with the prospect of having a world class coach and method involved with furthering the soccer offering in our community at all participation levels.”
Matrix Soccer Academy had its first introduction to Delmarva last summer when it offered it’s programming through a one week camp at the Henry S. Parker Athletic Complex last August.
“The camp was a resounding success from our prospective,” said Jackson. “Bryan worked very hard to provide a quality offering to the community and it was abundantly clear to us that the talent pool, and more importantly attitude, exists at a level that will allow Matrix to be very successful there. Both the coaches and my family were overwhelmed with the hospitality we received. They all can’t wait to come back again this year.”
In addition to implementing programming this fall Matrix Soccer Academy will be returning this summer for two weeks of camp beginning July 27th and running through the first week of August.
The goal for Matrix Soccer Academy in Wicomico County is two-fold – to provide a quality experience for the recreational player and to provide the highest caliber of training and competition for those wishing to excel in the game.
“These two goals need not be mutually exclusive,” says Watson. “US Soccer is vigorously promoting the ‘pool play’ concept, which provides ability-based grouping and club registration as opposed to team registration. This promotes fluid movement between teams and levels based on the needs and abilities of the player – not the needs of a team.”
“Obviously we have very high expectations for the better players, but the recreational player is very important to us also,” Jackson added. “Too often kids are not given quality coaching when they don’t excel at a young age. Players develop both mentally and physically at different rates and taking a holistic approach to development allows every child the opportunity to achieve the level of success that meets their goals and aspirations.”
For the more advanced players the goal for Matrix is to compete in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. The program was created in 2007 to further the development of world-class players in the United States. The philosophy is based on increased training, less total games and more competitive matches. It also serves to help better identify players and coaches for future Youth National Teams.
“The US Soccer Development Academy would give us the opportunity to do something we are unable to accomplish working in England and Scotland – the chance to play the best academy teams in the country,” says Jackson. “Though it would likely be a few years off we have every intention of developing players capable of competing against the likes of DC United, Philadelphia Union, New York Red Bulls, FC Delco, PDA and Richmond United.”
Wicomico County offered a taste of what Matrix is all about this Spring by offering an eight week development program, which concludes this Sunday. The program was delivered by Watson with a guest appearance by Paul McGladdery, Head Elite Development Coach for Matrix Soccer Academy in England.
“I am so impressed with how you get these young players to possess the ball. I see tiki-taka and total football with nine year olds – amazing! With other teams it has been depressing to watch wasted practice sessions with no plan for player development,” said Victor Miriel, Associate Professor at Salisbury University and collegiate soccer player.
Lauralyn Geiser has three boys ranging from six to ten years of age training the Matrix Way and she can’t say enough good things about it. “My three boys came to Coach Bryan over a year ago with differing levels of skill, athleticism and knowledge of the game. In that time the growth and development they have achieved is truly astounding. Not only as it relates to their soccer skills but in every other aspect of their lives. They have developed a true passion for the sport and a better understanding of how decision making, discipline, cooperation and work ethic empower them to be successful in anything of their choosing. Watching my six year old and his teammates frustrate players two years older than them by possessing the ball is simply amazing! Wherever we go, coaches, referees and parents comment on how unselfish the Matrix players are. You have to see it to believe it.”
Dr. Scott McGovern, area surgeon and an Ivy League lacrosse player at Harvard University echoes those sentiments. “My three boys have been with Coach Bryan for the better part of the past two years and what he has been able to get these kids to do on a soccer field is hard to comprehend. As a parent, I’m delighted to see my boys develop soccer skills through the Matrix Academy. Their footwork and decision-making have improved dramatically through the dynamic passing drills and individual skill work. As a team they have learned confidence while understanding the importance of possession. You don’t have to understand the game of soccer to recognize something very special is going on out there.”
Watson added, “I think what you’ll find with the Matrix approach is it not only enhances technical skill in the game of soccer but develops the individual through a reward system which reinforces the value of cooperation. It is the process of taking young people from the role and mindset of ‘me’ to ‘we’ - from independence into interdependence. No matter how you look at it, that’s learning both leadership and life skills.”