Young soccer players watch as Sarah Slagle, 11, far right, moves the ball during a drill at The 10 Soccer School’s summer camp session last week while assistant coach Jamison Waugh, 18, left, observes their techniques. Village Life photo by Julie Samrick

Business

Sky’s the limit at ‘The 10’

By From page A1 | June 28, 2017

The 10 Soccer School recently opened in the El Dorado Hills Business Park and co-founder Fritz Libby said students are already seeing results.

Libby, an El Dorado Hills father of three who also brought Ethos Soccer Club to the region in 2011, said The 10 Soccer School fills a void, despite the many soccer clubs in the region, explaining that it’s a club-neutral place for individual players to learn technical skills.

“Unfortunately all of the time I see kids get far down the soccer path without really being taught fundamentals,” Libby said. “There are really talented athletes who could be so much better.”

“We get back to the technical aspects of the game, the details,” said Krissy Looney, one of The 10’s head trainers. “When the focus is increasingly on the need to win, technical aspects get put to the side. We focus on each individual.”

The 10 has developed curriculum based on governing body U.S. Club Soccer’s age rubrics. “We don’t care about clubs or coaches,” Libby said. “We look at, ‘OK, we have a 7-year-old girl. What skills should she have?”

Students sign up for one-day-a-week classes that cater to their ages and abilities. Classes are designed with low student-to-trainer ratios. Progress is charted by taking monthly videos of a child working on specific technical skills.

“We have constant communication with parents,” Looney said. “It’s really a cool thing.

“It encompasses everything I wish I had (as a youth player),” she continued. She grew up in Auburn and played club soccer in the area before playing soccer for Fresno State.

“Many kids have to travel to different locations and see different trainers,” Looney added about The 10’s niche. “We have every position covered and we don’t charge an arm and a leg because we know parents are already paying to be in whatever soccer club they’re in.”

Looney reiterated that The 10 Soccer School is club-neutral. “We get players from all over the place,” Looney said. “All we think is: How do we make these kids better?”

That’s the whole reason for creating the soccer school and where it gets its name too.

“The No. 10 jersey in soccer is always for the highest skilled player … players like Messi, Neymar and Pele,” Libby explained. “No. 10 is the player who encompasses all of the tools to play the game. It’s also a position on the field, the central role.”

“The 10 is the attacking center, mid-position player,” Looney added. “That’s where the magic happens. We want to create those players.”

Libby played soccer for Chico State and then professionally for the American Pro Soccer League (before there was MLS) for New Mexico. “I wasn’t the biggest or the fastest, but I had the technical skills,” Libby said. “I had a few great coaches who, thankfully, I listened to.”

The facility is 6,000 square feet downstairs, including an indoor field, and has a 2,000-square-foot classroom upstairs, which is called The Institute. Libby said they are launching a full college placement program this fall, to be held inside the classroom. “We’ll be helping high school students understand how to be recruited and will be offering designing your life kind of classes like leadership and decision making,” he said, among other offerings. Various soccer clubs have also been using the classroom space to host team meetings and to hold referee training courses.

Miles Rice, 14, is an incoming Ponderosa High School freshman. He takes a class at The 10 Soccer School every Friday and is currently taking part in the school’s summer camps. “I love it here,” Miles said. “I love the coaches. I feel at home. The camp is based around one thing with lots of drills and the Friday class is based on one skill each week.”

The next sessions of summer camps will be offered July 10-14 and July 17-21.

“Coaches have already been coming to us to say they’re seeing results in their players,” Libby said, adding that they’d like to expand to open more locations and add more to their programs, including bringing in nutritionists.

What’s the ultimate goal?

“At the end of the day we want our students to be standouts on the various teams they play on,” Libby said.

The 10 Soccer School is located at 4669 Golden Foothill Parkway, Suites 106 & 108, El Dorado Hills. For more information visit the10soccer.com.

Julie Samrick

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