TEAM SPOTLIGHT | Tampa Bay United Rowdies Boys ECNL U17
RICHMOND, VA (January 11, 2018) – The Boys Elite Clubs National League was founded to provide a top level, club-based development, training, and competition platform for youth male soccer players. Tampa Bay United Rowdies is one of the founding member clubs of the Boys ECNL, and is an “All-In” ECNL member club with the ECNL as the top tier of both their girls and senior boys programs.
In the mid 1970’s Tampa Bay Rowdies participated in the original North American Soccer League, the pro league that swept the nation with the New York Cosmos and other iconic clubs. Tampa Bay United Youth Club joined with the iconic Rowdies in 2017, creating a platform with offerings from youth all the way to the professional level. While most youth clubs merge and generally give up their name, the two entities chose to keep the name of Tampa Bay United as it was well established as a top class development platform for youth in the area. The Tampa Bay United Rowdies are proud to carry the Rowdies traditions and excellence forward.
The Boys ECNL sat down with Tampa Bay United Rowdies’ Boys ECNL Director Kelvin Jones to learn more about the Tampa Bay United Rowdies Boys ECNL U17 team.
How would you describe the Tampa Bay United Rowdies Boys ECNL U17 team in general?
The Boys ECNL U17 team is made up of local players, with a core group of young men that have been playing together their entire youth soccer careers in the club. This team has been trained by local legend, Alex Delgado, who remained at the club to share his knowledge and love of the game. Alex really focused on the technical aspect of the game with this team, investing large portions of training sessions to individual skill and technique. This team is highly motivated on and off the field, with several players at the top of their class academically, which makes for a competitive environment all around.
What makes this particular team special? What sets them apart?
This team loves to train. The passion and commitment they have to training and perfecting their craft is shared from top to bottom in this group. It is refreshing to be a part of a training environment where the entire group is invested to getting better individually, and willing to work to make the group stronger each and every day. The mental toughness and preparation this team exudes is at a level beyond their years, allowing them to play out of situations and find success more often than not.
How would you describe your coaching style and approach to this team?
My coaching style is not complicated. I want our team to do the basics, keep it simple and play fast. We play out of the back, we pass the ball at the halfway line and we take players on in the attacking third of the field. My greatest asset is that my team defends together. Individually and collectively, they work as a unit, making it tough for opponents to break through. Second, I trust my players on the field. They know that I trust them, and it gives them a boost in confidence that you don’t see everyday. The belief each player has in one another, and in the team, is truly remarkable and is the extra nudge we need in tough competitions.
What is your biggest takeaway from this particular team?
I am amazed at their capacity for success. They come to the field every time we train or play, and they are ready and willing to give everything they have so that we can be successful. They inspire me to work harder. I scout teams, look for new ways to keep training exciting, and seek out the best competition for them. They have shown a remarkable consistency in their work rate, and my job is to continue to raise the bar and challenge them. In turn, they challenge me to be a better leader.
What are the expectations for this team in the first Boys ECNL season?
I want consistent, high level competition that challenge both our coaches and players, and so far the league has done just that. We have completed the majority of our conference games, and it has been a wonderful experience for the club and this team.
We wish the Tampa Bay United Rowdies Boys ECNL U17 team the best of luck as they continue league play and work to qualify for the Elite National Premier League (ENPL) Post Season Playoffs.
About Boys Elite Clubs National League: Boys Elite Clubs National League (Boys ECNL) was founded to provide a top level, club-based development, training, and competition platform for youth male soccer players in the United States. The mission of the Boys ECNL is to improve the landscape for players in the United States through innovative, player-centered programming that raises standards of quality and improves the player experience in all aspects of the game.
The Boys ECNL is sanctioned by US Club Soccer.