Getting A “kick” Out Of The Canadian Youth Football Academy
by Larry Simpson, snapd Guelph
An eleven-year veteran soccer player in his native Mexico, Mauricio Flores is currently Head Coach/Technical Director for the Guelph based Canadian Youth Football Academy (CYFA), which just so happened to celebrate its first anniversary in business recently.
Mauricio you could say, holds the highest coaching certification in North America, and has coached for over 15 years in several world recognized soccer associations. Prior to signing on with the CYFA, he had the distinction of working with FC Barcelona and Guelph Soccer just to name a couple of previous programs.
He Says that the CYFA program is a new concept for soccer, where the focus is not only on the game itself, but also the human side, namely the results. “We want to continue to develop soccer players at all levels, and the World Cup should only help us in attracting more kids to the academy. Soccer interest as everyone knows, has been growing in Canada, and probably a lot of that has to do with the fact that the country is very multicultural, however we never really have attained success at the world levels. Up to now, Canada has not been able to develop enough quality players to perform at the highest soccer levels, however we believe that our CYFA program could be one of the first steps in the right direction in achieving some future world class recognition.”
He adds too that when it comes to soccer in general, the key to ‘growing the game’ is to start the kids at a young age and this is what the CYFA is all about! “Our goal is to be able to develop kids by starting young and then work with them so that they may have an opportunity to play globally, and not just at the local level. If they want to make it to this higher level, i believe that they will have a good opportunity through one of our programs. It’s interesting but last year we started with six kids, and presently we have close to 100 enrolled so i think we must be doing something right.”
Being a relatively new soccer program can also have its advantages too, correct?
“It does as when you are new there are no limits to what you can do to make the kids better soccer players. We started with a fresh approach to soccer instruction, and continue to make all of our decisions for the sake of the players and what we believe will help take them to that next level of competition. I think too that the CYFA program provides the kids with the confidence that they will need moving forward and will help them to become better players.”
Mauricio also says that the other major goal of CYFA is to begin working with the kids when they are at a young age, and improve the level of their game to the point that when they are 15 or 16, they may be considered for scholarships in Canada and the United States. He adds too that as a sport, soccer comes with the advantage of being less expensive to play, and is much safer, especially now with other sports having concussion issues. But he points out that the major reason behind the CYFA is because as a company, they believe in the dream of raising kids to become professional soccer players and what makes it even nicer is that the players are from the Guelph area. He notes too, that of interest to parents should be the fact that on professional sports level, the long term rate of return financially is better in soccer than say a sport like hockey. Soccer also comes with less risk and it is not as costly to reach the pro levels and when you take into account the money that is already being paid to players in Premier League compared to say the NHL, it becomes an excellent future path.
Mauricio adds too that with the CYFA program, parents will pay a minimal fee for the kids to learn the game and develop their skills accordingly. “There is a lot of talented kids here in the Guelph area and we want to expose the CYFA program to as many as we can and also make it affordable as possible for them. We are offering a very cost friendly program considering the extent of training the kids will receive anywhere. We want to provide the opportunity to the kids in the area at a minimal cost, and i think too that it would be great and very fulfilling if we could develop the first ever Canadian professional soccer, right here in Guelph!”
He adds that with the current roster of kids enrolled after the first year of the program, that he has already noticed some that have shown enormous potential and are perhaps good candidates for future scholarships which will promise to make the CYFA’s future a very exciting ride for everyone!
Currently the Canadian Youth Football Academy offers year round soccer program to kids between the ages of 3 and 14 with various fees for the different levels of instruction. Further information on program dates and fees is available on their web site, www.cyfa.ca.