Valencia Discovery Program
THE PATHWAY TO THE VALENCIA CF YOUTH ACADEMY
Scouting From Day 1
A Performance Driven Pathway For The Performance Driven Player
VDP Technical Manager
1st Team Scout
This is where TALENT DEVELOPMENT starts for passionate, ambitious and skilled players in Washington state! There is absolutely nothing else like this in the United States (at least not yet!). Valencia CF and Eagleclaw FC have teamed up.....
To discover future American professional players.
To accelerate the development of top Eagleclaw players.
To provide direct scouting of Eagleclaw players by Valencia youth academy coaches.
To provide continual monitoring by Valencia coaches/scouts of each player's developmental progress.
To provide the highest level of player and team development.
To create a potential pathway for each player to the Valencia CF youth academy.
To provide opportunities for each player to train and be observed in Valencia.
To prepare talented players for alternative pathways (e.g. college, other international opportunities, MLS academies).
To provide a superior player development and career development alternative to stifling and heavily restrictive programs like the U.S. Soccer Development Academy (DA) and ECNL.
The "path-to-pro" is difficult. Very difficult. There are no guaranties. It takes commitment, passion and countless hours of hard training. The path to Spain is even more difficult. No American player has ever played for Valencia CF. No player from the North American continent has ever played for Valencia CF. That needs to change! Will you be the first?
The ultimate objective of the Valencia Discovery Program (VDP) is to develop ambitious American players with the talent necessary to join the Valencia CF youth academy.* Together, Eagleclaw and Valencia are committed to providing the scouting, training, and monitoring necessary to develop a new generation of players, boys and girls, who can compete at the highest levels. Along the way, additional talent development opportunities will be presented to top players, including opportunities for extended training in Spain on a temporary residential basis. This is talent development on a performance-driven pathway, for the performance-driven player.
Tryouts are not the only opportunity to onto a VDP Team Earning and keeping a spot o a VDP team is a continual process. Like a professional club, Eagleclaw forms a first team (VDP) and a second team (AA or PA) for each team birth year group from Under-9 to Under 18. At Valencia, there is the "first team" and Valencia B, which is also called Mestalla.
Players selected to a VDP team are designated VDP/AA or VDP/PA, depending on their age. AA refers to an Advanced Academy team (13-18 year old players) and PA refers to a Primary Academy team (9-13 year old players). VDP/AA and VDP/PA players train and play with their VDP team, but are expected to play with the AA or PA team as requested by their coach. VDP/AA players may also be directed to train and play with the AA or PA team for other reasons, including getting more playing time or working their way back from injuries.
On VDP team, everything is measured and everything is earned. This standard is more flexible for younger aged VDP teams in the Primary Academy, and more rigid for older aged in the Advanced Academy. VDP is a performance-driven pathway, which means players must constantly work hard to maintain their position on the roster and earn their playing time. Everything depends on performance and we consider everything, including effort, work rate, skill, technical abilities, game intelligence, attitude, desire, character, personality, speed, team fit, humility, commitment to the Club and respect for teammates, coaches, opponents, referees and the game itself.
The Valencia Discovery Program is not a supplemental program. It REPLACES your current club soccer membership and becomes the core of your soccer training and competition experience. If you are an ambitious, talented player, its time for you to move beyond the so-called "premier", "RCL", DA or ECNL clubs. It is time for you to be on the path to pro.
For the 2020/21 Season, boys and girls born 2009-2003 are eligible for Eagleclaw's VDP Teams. The program is under the careful supervision of a Valencia academy coach/scout specifically assigned to Eagleclaw as Technical Manager. During tryouts, the Technical Manager, assisted by coaches and scouts from Valencia CF, will select players for high-performing "VDP Teams". Training and development is carefully monitored by the Technical Manager over the course of the season. VDP Teams train and play year-round with talented Eagleclaw coaches. Twice per year, the Technical Manager travels from Spain to Seattle to conduct training camps with the VDP Teams** Throughout the year, Eagleclaw coaches and the Technical Manager carefully monitor the performance and development of each player, with the goal of identifying talented players who, in the opinion of the Technical Manager and the Valencia youth academy staff, deserve an invitation to join the Valencia youth academy in Spain.
THIS IS IMPORTANT: Even if you fall short of the goal of reaching the Valencia youth academy, the extraordinarily high level training you receive at VDP will likely have prepared you for a wide range of playing opportunities abroad, with U.S. college teams or even MLS academies. But since you are a talented, passionate and ambitious player, there is no point in wasting time at clubs or programs that cannot create these kinds of opportunities for you to pursue soccer at higher levels abroad.
There is a debate raging that young players need to be aware of. Should you only pursue scholarship soccer scholarships with universities, academies at Major League Soccer (MLS) Clubs or opportunities with National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) clubs, or should you pursue learning, development and playing opportunities in Spain or elsewhere in Europe. For us, it not even a close question. For the foreseeable future, the highest level and highest quality of player development and education for the aspiring pro is not in the United States. This means you need to aim higher. You need a club focused on placing you on a performance-driven pathway that will provide concrete opportunities to accumulate development experiences abroad and be observed by European professional scouts and coaches.
If soccer is YOUR passion, then focus on what really matters - YOU. You need to become a more intelligent player. You need to see the real "next level" in Europe. You need to be scouted, seen and monitored by professional club coaches who know how to spot potential pro players. You need to make the next move!
TALENT DEVELOPMENT NOT TALENT RESTRICTION
Talented players benefit from a wide range of development experiences and training opportunities. In many cases, these experiences and opportunities are in addition to regular training, individualized and often involve travel domestically and internationally. Maximizing a player's potential often involves providing the flexibility for players to engage in training or games outside the Valencia Discovery Program. We are open minded about ensuring players can participate in such activities provided it is developmentally beneficial and there is no undue risk of developmentally inappropriate or unsafe training/playing conditions. Unlike the U.S. Soccer Development Academy (DA), the Valencia Discovery Program (VDP) is not opposed to players participating on school soccer teams, independent training camps or similar opportunities. VDP players may participate in such programs provided they have the prior written approval of their VDP Coach and Eagleclaw's Executive Director and with the understanding that the VDP training and playing schedule always takes priority. Participation in Eagleclaw Futsal is highly encouraged and may be required by VDP staff for certain players.
Although we strive to be open minded and flexible about outside training experiences, we do have some limits. The chief limitation is that VDP Players may not train with or "guest play" for another youth club or team in league play or tournaments. Exceptions to this policy are rare and may only be granted by Eagleclaw's Executive Director.
KEY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN VALENCIA DISCOVERY PROGRAM (VDP) AND US SOCCER DA
VDP IS NOT A LEAGUE - The US Soccer DA is a closed league - plain and simple. As a closed league, DA teams only play against DA teams from a small number of other clubs. The Valencia Discovery Program is not a league at all. It is a focused Long-Term Talent Development and Identification Program designed to place promising players on the path to the Valencia CF youth academy and other high level playing opportunities abroad and in the United States. VDP Valencia Teams can compete in any league (not DA ) at any level.
VDP PLAYERS ARE SELECTED AND MONITORED BY VALENCIA CF COACHES/SCOUTS - In the DA, players are selected by local club coaches, NOT by US Soccer team coaches. VDP players are directly scouted and selected by the coaches and scouts of Valencia CF under the supervision of the Technical Manager and continuously monitored by them.
VDP IS LESS COSTLY THAN DA - The DA requires players to be at 12-20 away matches each season, many of which are out of state and require air travel and overnight hotel and meal costs. This cause substantial and (in our view) unnecessary expense for players and their families, not to mention missed work. In the VDP, high quality training and direct scouting happens here, in Seattle. League play will be focused on the greater Puget Sound area. Similarly, we strive to ensure that domestic tournaments are reasonable in terms of cost and distance from Seattle. It is far better and more cost effective for VDP teams to travel to Spain once per year for tournament play, training and scouting thank pursue dozens of pointless domestic tournaments.
VDP HAS FEWER RESTRICTIONS - The Valencia Discovery Program is dramatically less restrictive for players than the DA. The VDP is focused on holistic training and development experiences. With prior permission of the Technical Manager and Eagleclaw's Executive Director, VDP permits outside training, school team play and other soccer experiences that are developmentally appropriate, beneficial and safe.
VDP Teams are formed in April/May each year.
VDP tryouts are open to ANY player from any club or program, whether they are currently an Eagleclaw player or not.
Player selections at tryouts are made by the Technical Manager with assistance from other Valencia coaches/scouts and Eagleclaw coaches
Pre-tryout training opportunities will be made available in Jan-Apr 2020. Email for details.
PRIMARY ACADEMY - VDP TEAMS
2020/21 Season: Boys and Girls born 2009-2007
Tryouts - Apr/May 2020
At the Primary Academy level, VDP Teams for boys and girls teams will be formed for players born 2009 - 2007. VDP tryouts are open to all players. Players participating in tryouts are not required to first register for Eagleclaw's Primary Academy. However, it is highly recommended that players register for the Primary Academy prior to tryouts in order to assure themselves a spot on an Eagleclaw Development Team for the 2020/21 season even if they are not selected to a VDP team. The Primary Academy is limited to 150 players. During the 2020/21 season, Development Team players will have the opportunity to earn promotion to a VDP Team based on performance, recommendations from Eagleclaw coaches and approval of the Technical Manager for Valencia Discovery Program.
ADVANCED ACADEMY - VDP TEAMS
Boys and Girls born 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
Tryouts - Apr/May 2020
At the Advanced Academy level, VDP Teams are open to any player from any club, but the first step is to attend the Advanced Academy rolling tryouts that are overseen by Eagleclaw coaches. During the tryout process Eagleclaw coaches will evaluate the players, provide initial assessments to the VDP Technical Manager and offer players roster spots on the Advanced Academy Team. In Apr/May of each year, the VDP Technical Manager will travel from Spain to Seattle to observe and assess Advanced Academy player and work with Eagleclaw staff to select players for the VDP Teams and make final selections for the Advanced Academy Teams.
If it is offered, players are strongly encouraged to accept the invitation to join an Advanced Academy Team. This will ensure a player has a roster spot while still being considered and evaluated for a VDP Team roster spot. Tryouts are not the only opportunity to earn a roster spot on a VDP Team. As discussed above, there is some roster fluidity between the Advanced Academy Team and the VDP Team at each birth year and non-VDP players always have the opportunity to earn training opportunities with a VDP team, playing time in a VDP match or even promotion to a VDP team. Being on an Advanced Academy team can be the perfect stepping stone to a VDP team.
Cost: Annual fees for VDP Teams are $2400 per player.***
Training Location: All VDP Teams will train at Starfire Sports.
* NOTE: Subject to compliance with applicable FIFA Regulations.
** NOTE: Training Camps are not included in the Annual Player Fee
*** Note: Annual player fee does not include uniforms, training camp fees, tournament fees or travel expenses