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Beachside Soccer Aims To Build Upon Success

What do you do when you've just completed one of your most successful spring seasons ever? If you're Beachside Soccer Club, you keep educating your coaches. You introduce new training methods for the fall. And you prepare for an even better year ahead.

Beachside, the Fairfield County-based club for boys and girls ages 12-18, sent seven teams to the state finals in June. Four boys teams emerged as state champs: U-17, U-16, U-15 and U-12. The U-13 girls were state finalists, a first for the club.

The U-12 squad, coached by Mark Alves, won the US Youth Soccer regional championship , in dramatic fashion. Goalkeeper Tyler Dalton of Norwalk saved three out of seven penalty kicks, earning Beachside its second U-12 regional title in three years.

"This was probably our best year overall," said Beachside founder and president Mickey Kydes. "Playing a very competitive league and tournament schedule, going as far as Maryland and Virginia, really paid off. We had seven teams playing in the Region I and Northeast Leagues, and they did very well. Our coaches deserve a lot of credit."

Coaching education contributes to much of Beachside's success. Soon after regional competition ended, Kydes brought 38 of his premier and travel coaches together for a weekend retreat in Kent, Conn.

They socialized, bonded and were immersed in the training methods Kydes and assistant director Alan Zuniga brought back from a winter trip to Barcelona, where they watched youth teams affiliated with the greatest club in the world train and play.

"At Beachside, we're introducing some key components of what Barcelona does," Kydes said. He trained his staff on pattern passing, possession, immediate pressure and pattern playing to goal.

"What they do is really simple, but they repeat it a lot," Kydes explained. "This fall, we'll introduce six core drills for our premier teams, and three for our travel teams. It will all be done progressively. The two goals we've set is for players to become better passers, and to think before they get the ball."

Kydes said the feedback from the coaches retreat was excellent. "Everyone got to hang out together on and off the field. They really understood what we're doing. And they went through all the drills themselves, so they know exactly what we'll be asking of our players."

Kydes is excited about the coming fall season, with six boys and girls teams, ages U-12 to U-14. High school-age squads will be added in the spring.

"We've got some great additions to our teams," he said. "They all look strong. They'll play another competitive schedule, we'll add more teams to the regional leagues, and the older teams will go down to the Disney tournament." This spring, the U-16 boys squad will play in the prestigious National League.

What do your young soccer players enjoy about playing for Beachside? Start the discussion below!

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