When you join the Chicago Soccer Academy program there is a plan for you. At the first moment you enter the club, there is a plan for every player individually. The ultimate goal is to place each player into a learning environment where they will also have fun.

Our curriculum’s as staff are focused on the correct things. Everything is based on what a player will need to get better within their ability; rather than what they may need over one game after one weekend. Our program is set up for soccer education, a soccer school for teaching soccer. We place demands on ourselves as staff, to educate, be educated and licensed. Our internal education program provides better programming, leadership and coaching. All these things mentioned provide a better program for our kids and we are doing them together as a club.

We are always under a constant review from one year to the next. We are evaluating, discussing and planning the way we are providing experiences for our players like: Which competitions they play in? Which arenas they should be playing in? This ultimately give us continuity through the age groups and levels.

In youth soccer you need to have stability. Within stability you need good and consistent coaches, regular leagues to play in and to have set training routine. After the stability, players need opportunities to grow and to develop their own talent; this is how they will fulfill their potential.

As players develop locally, they can move into arenas regionally and ultimately we can challenge them on a national platform. The U8 who are the most talented player, may not be most talented at U18 because of player growth at different points. We understand this and try to help all of our players get better along this journey. We help players together, the whole staff working as a team helps us to focus on every player’s best interests, rather than staff focusing on the one team individually.

I let all youth teams play the same way and I always put the emphasis on learning. Sometimes I had the suspicion the youth coaches were more concerned with winning. They cared about their own reputation; I cared only about the interest of the club. When a player with talent couldn't defend, I put the player in defense so they could learn but that cost a point or win. I didn't care, I was busy developing the player. This is how all CSA players, parents, and coaches will be thinking.

Tim Balatsoukas