The NSCAA Convention was a place of affirmation for thousands of players, coaches, and fans. We all were reminded why “the beautiful game” is the world’s most popular sport. The passion, enthusiasm, and love for the game were seen in the eyes, words, and actions of those in attendance. It was a first-class event in every sense and deserves its reputation as “The Oscars of Soccer”.
Football agents have been in the news a lot lately. It hasn’t been all good publicity as critics complain about the loads of money handed out to agents and advisors, especially in Europe.
People have a picture in mind when they think of a sports agent. Many people probably think of the movie Jerry Maguire, the tale of an agent who gave up his unscrupulous ways in order to find a better way to represent clients and the industry as a whole. Print reminded me of the movie and talked about the way his agency, Sports Management Worldwide (SMWW), operates. SMWW not only represents athletes in a way that inspires integrity and honesty, but they have a mission to educate others in their cause. A huge part of the agency is providing courses for students so that they can become ethical members of the sports community.
The SMWW Soccer Career Conference, which was held in conjunction with the 2010 NSCAA Convention, was one of these opportunities to educate others. Over 80 students participated in the event, hearing from the best in the business, including John Print. He has proved to be a dynamic advisor and agent; Print has also taken on the role as mentor and advisor to young players and agents alike. It is a special opportunity to help people achieve their dreams.
The future of football agents is certainly in good hands with people like Print and SMWW’s founder Dr. G. Lynn Lashbrook.
Waxler, a true pioneer in the women’s game, has dedicated her life to the promotion and expansion of soccer in the U.S. The 2009 Award of Excellence was a small token of thanks for her 20+ years in professional and amateur sports. Waxler was not only active in the NSCAA, but she spent time with the Washington Freedom, the Washington Area Girls Soccer League, and the Maryland State Youth Soccer Association. Perhaps her biggest success has been the KICKS Against Breast Cancer charity soccer tournament, which is in its 13th year of competition.
The audience was in for a real treat when Hackworth, Assistant Coach/Youth Team Coordinator with the Philadelphia Union, led a clinic on “Technical Tactics for Advanced Players.” Head Coach Peter Nowak was scheduled to be part of the event, but was called overseas for a scouting trip. Rumors suggest that the Union may be close to signing a major player, perhaps a DP.
Hackworth set up several drills for youth players to demonstrate. He offered praise and encouragement to the young players, while sharing “tricks of the trade” to an audience of coaches from across the country. The players clearly enjoyed his expertise and thoughts about the game. Critics often complain about the quality of coaches here in the States, but this convention proved the future of the game is in very capable hands.
The voice of American soccer finally received the credit he deserved with the Honorary All-America award from the NSCAA. Dellacamera will join an elite group of recipients that includes Pele, Anson Dorrance, Lamar Hunt, and Bob Ley. He has rightfully earned a reputation as the leading authority on international soccer here in the States.
He has spent three decades with ESPN, serving as the lead commentator for the network’s coverage of Major League Soccer and the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams. Dellacamera has called the last six FIFA World Cups and the last four FIFA Women’s World Cups. He also was the lead soccer commentator for the last two Summer Olympic Games (Athens and Beijing) for NBC.
Dellacamera was part of a team that called the most-watched soccer telecast in U.S. television history, the 1999 Women’s World Cup final on ABC. Simply put, he is the best of the best and is a gift to the sport of American soccer.
John (Jack) McInerney
The young striker from Alpharetta, Georgia had quite a week. On Thursday, he was drafted seventh overall by the expansion Philadelphia Union using a pick acquired from D.C. United. He was the youngest player drafted as one of two seventeen year-olds in the SuperDraft. Just two days later he was named the boys NSCAA National Youth Player of the Year for 2009.
The 2009 season was a whirlwind for McInerney. He started all 15 matches with the U-17 National Team. He scored 11 goals and added four assists in 1,178 minutes of playing time. A member of the USSF’s elite residency program, McInerney has scored a total of 18 goals with 31 caps for the U-17 squad. Recently he participated in his first U-20 training camp.
Despite a small frame, many believe McIerney is the best youth player to ever come out of the United States. Scouting reports indicate that he has a great soccer mind and solid fundamentals. He is sure to benefit from the leadership of Alejandro Moreno, who was acquired during the expansion draft from the Columbus Crew.
Bunbury swept the 2010 All-American awards, bringing home every major honor for a Division I player. He was named the NCAA Division I Player of the Year and First Team NSCAA/Performance Subaru All-America. He would then go on to claim “The Heisman of Soccer,” the Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy.
In 2008 Bunbury scored six goals as a true freshman, earning a reputation as a deadly striker. The native of Prior Lake, Minn. would continue his ascension in 2009, leading all Division I players with 17 goals. His performance would help propel the University of Akron to its first appearance in the NCAA Division I national championship game.
Bunbury would prove to be a hot commodity in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft and would end up going fourth overall to the Kansas City Wizards. He looks to serve as an understudy to Argentine sensation Claudio Lopez.
The convention’s exhibit hall was simply unbelievable. Hundreds of the world’s biggest and best vendors were on display in one location. Many agreed that the adidas booth was the most impressive; this is no surprise as adidas has been a major supporter of the NSCAA for many years. I think it is important to thank adidas for their support of this convention and of the American game itself.
A few other companies caught our eye while walking the floor. Primo Sport was the first; we were excited to see Jon Busch at their booth signing autographs for fans. The Chicago Fire keeper has endorsed Primo Sport products, which are highly innovative and feature patented technologies. Nic Platter, Nick Noble, Ronnie Pascale, and Anita Asante also use Primo Sport products on an everyday basis.
The result is three highly competitive product lines: Nitroblock™ balls, Carplgard™ keeper gloves, and Hexoflex™ shin guards. Nitroblock™ balls play like the world’s best match balls, but stay inflated for months because of a high-tech synthetic latex bladder. The Carplgard™ line of keeper gloves were designed by Busch and Jeff Duback, former U.S. National Team and U.S. Olympic Team goalkeeper. The gloves feature a backhand plate that provides comfort and superior protection for the wearer. Don Sandusky, Primo Sport’s director of Technology and Business Development, was quick to say that “it is more than a glove. It is a machine.”
Primo Sport even made improvements to shin guards, creating a product that exceeds safety standards and actually fits every player. We found their products to be reasonably priced, proving to be quite a bargain considering the technology and innovation involved in each.
Baden let their products do the talking at their convention booth. Baden Sports has been a leader in the athletic ball market for over 30 years. The company, which is still family-owned and independent, is known for its stability and reliability. Baden has already become the official soccer ball of the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL), NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Assoc.), and the NWAACC (Northwest Athletic Assoc. of Community Colleges). This is in addition to state high school adoptions (Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming) and state association endorsements (South Dakota, Wyoming).