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U.S. Soccer to Host 2002 Youth Soccer Symposium in Florida from Dec. 6-8

CHICAGO (Tuesday, November 19, 2002) - U.S. Soccer is preparing to host the second annual Youth Soccer Symposium this winter, and it will once again coincide with the U.S. Soccer/Nike Friendlies that will take place at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.  The symposium includes nightly presentations from December 6-8 at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

The Youth Soccer Symposium will focus on the development of players from age 12 – 17.  The symposium will also give the participating coaches the opportunity to watch the Nike Friendlies and the nearly 50 games that will place at the IMG Academy over a four-day period.

After a successful tournament in 2001, the number of teams in the 2002 U.S. Soccer/Nike Friendlies swelled from 19 teams in two age groups last year to 28 teams in three age groups this year.  In addition to the two U.S. Under-17 squads, Finland’s U-17 Men’s National Team will compete in the Friendlies, as will 25 other teams representing 10 different states.  In all, 49 games will be played over the four-day event.

“Nike and U.S. Soccer have worked hard to put together an event that will benefit the coaches who come in for the symposium,” said U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head and Director of Youth Development John Ellinger.  “This symposium and the surrounding friendlies present a very unique opportunity for youth coaches to watch some of the top youth players in the nation during the day, and then listen to and work with some of the best youth coaches at night.”

The symposium opens on December 6, with presentations from two of the top two youth coaches in Finland’s Youth National Team system.  Jyrki Heliskoski and Timo Liekoski will discuss the preparations of Finland’s Under-17 Men’s National Team and the upcoming 2003 FIFA Under-17 World Championship that will be hosted in Finland.

On Saturday evening, U.S. National Staff Coach Mike Haas will discuss the steps U.S. Soccer  takes to prepare the Under-14 player pool for the next level. A member of IMG’s mental conditioning staff will also present that night, speaking about mental preparation with elite athletes.

The symposium’s final night is highlighted by a presentation from Ellinger on the Under-17 MNT’s preparation proves for the world championship qualifying tournament that will take place in March, 2003 in Guatemala.  Tom Durkin, the IMG Soccer Academy Director of coaching, and a video analysis expert from Dartfish will also speak on Dec. 8.

The symposium lectures will take place at the IMG Academy "Sports Performance Center" on the IMG campus.  The sessions will start at 7:30 and are expected to last about two hours each night.

There is no fee to attend the three-night symposium or the U.S. Soccer/Nike Friendlies.    Coaches wishing to attend should e-mail the U.S. Soccer Coaching Department at to register.  In the registration email, please include name, address, phone #s, e-mail address and affiliation.

“A” license coaches will receive two Coaching Education Units for their attendance at all three nights of the symposium.

For questions, please contact U.S. Soccer’s Director of Coaching Programs, Kati Hope, at or (312) 528-1231.