In 2003 I came to America from England to coach summer camps for three months. I was 20 years old. I enjoyed it so much I came back in 2004 for nine months and I was based in the Chicago suburbs. During this time I met many people and coached many players and teams. I returned to the Chicago area in 2005 to coach for Oak Park River Forest Strikers (now Chicago Edge) and I am still there to this day.
In 2007 I came up with the idea of coaching small groups of players. I started out with one small group of U12 girls and doing some individual 1on1 coaching sessions. The next year this grew to a handful of small groups. By 2009 I had over 40 kids participating in small group training. Every year the numbers grew and I explored different ways to make the players experience even better. In 2011 I added winter clinics and in 2012 I added a summer camp. The idea of small group coaching had seemed to capture the imagination of the Oak Park and River Forest community with almost 90 players participating last summer.
So in October 2012 I decided to start Grass Roots Soccer Academy LLC. An academy focused on improving the soccer player’s individual skill and technique. In 2013 we added 4 winter clinics and 2 summer camps as well as continuing with our small group clinics which is our primary focus.
In the summer of 2014 we expanded and offered clinics in the Lyons Township area with much success. We also expanded in to Berwyn for our winter indoor clinics. We have had close to 90 players participate in the 14/15 winter clinic program. In the summer we are putting on two summer camps in Berwyn and River Forest as well as clinics in the Oak Park and Lyons Township communities.
It is our ambition to have over 150 players participate in our camps and clinics this summer and for us to continue to improve on the success we have had in the past. Many players that have attended my clinics play varsity soccer at OPRF, Fenwick, and Lyons Township high schools and have gone on to play college soccer. This is what we strive to achieve. Five of that first group of u12 girls I started coaching in small groups back in 2007 made the OPRF Varsity Soccer team in their freshman year. Three of them are now playing college soccer.
We have a vast wealth of coaching experience including head coach and CEO Daniel Cross’s 13 years’ coaching experience. This includes coaching and scouting youth players for Arsenal FC. Dan also holds the two highest coaching qualifications you can achieve in the United States- USSF ‘A’ license and NSCAA Premier Diploma.