Lepore Presents Development Academy at First-Ever Meeting of CONCACAF Technical Directors
• Trip to Cayman Islands Featured Representatives from all English Speaking CONCACAF Federations
• Lepore Presented to FIFA Education and Technical Development Committee, and Other Regional Technical Directors
CHICAGO (May 18, 2010) -- In late April, Development Academy Technical Advisor and Director of Scouting Tony Lepore represented U.S. Soccer at the first-ever Meeting of CONCACAF Technical Directors in the Cayman Islands.
The joint venture between FIFA and CONCACAF brought together technical advisors and directors from the United States, Canada and all of the Caribbean nations to share ideas, goals and challenges. Mexico and the Central American nations held a similar conference in Spanish the week prior.
Focused on developing world-class players, grass roots efforts, technical development and talent scouting, FIFA and CONCACAF committee members met for four days and broke off into smaller groups to expand further on discussions.
“We talked a lot about the role of the Technical Director within a football association,” explained Lepore. “The idea of bringing a group together that was in many ways diverse, but also in many ways dealing with similar challenges, was really beneficial to all of us.”
The opportunity was brought to Lepore as a chance to present some challenges that are unique to American soccer, but also to learn about how other nations have approached similar challenges.
“I realized just how fortunate we are to have not only a high level of motivation, but resources, an incredible infrastructure, commitment to youth programming and the financial wherewithal to do a lot of different things,” said Lepore. “That’s not to say we’re a country without football problems and challenges, so I outlined what those were too and they are very different from a lot of the other countries in attendance but I think for them to realize that we do face difficulties in our sport was important.”
With the dialogue opened up, the representatives talked at length about challenges that face a majority of nations in CONCACAF. The implementation of the Development Academy in the U.S. was a major point of discussion following Lepore’s presentation.
“With the landscape of our soccer nation changing, it was great to be able to share ideas with other nations who have gone through similar situations or will be going through them in the future,” said Lepore.
For instance, Canada has similar challenges to the U.S. with its sheer size and diversity, while a place like Jamaica is set up similarly to the United States with different geographical zones used for scouting, but there is heavy reliance on high school teams for player development.
Lepore, who almost immediately boarded a plane to Argentina with the U-15 Boys’ National Team following the conference, took advantage of the opportunity to network with the FIFA Education and Technical Development Committee, as well as his colleagues from throughout CONCACAF.
From the conference, Lepore will continue to share the importance of competition within the region, and what the bigger countries like the United States can do to help improve the standards with Academy and youth national team colleagues.
“I think it’s important to continue the dialogues that we started at the conference with our neighboring countries,” said Lepore. “We are going to keep working on ways to increase the programming at all levels within our region, which I think is important in a lot of ways, but even more than that is taking the opportunity to help some of these smaller nations for the general good of the game.”