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Development Academy SPARQ Testing Provides Soccer-Specific Strength and Conditioning Program


CHICAGO (October 22, 2008) – U.S. Soccer Development Academy clubs are in the midst of SPARQ Training, a revolutionary training component that partnered with U.S. Soccer in April 2008. SPARQ, which stands for speed, power, agility, reaction and quickness, provides physical testing and training programs for each Academy club as well as the U.S. National Teams.

After introducing Academy players to SPARQ testing at last May’s Spring Showcase, all Academy players will be tested twice during the 2008/09 season – once during the Winter Showcase in December and again during the Spring Showcase in May. Testing consists of the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test, a 20 meter sprint, vertical jump and the Arrowhead Agility test. By administering two tests, players and coaches will be able to track their progress over the course of the season.

The Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test is currently being conducted in the local Academy club markets by SPARQ-certified trainers. The Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test is a maximal aerobic test and is conducted separately from the anaerobic tests at the Winter Showcase, so it does not impact team and individual performance.

Featuring some of the highest recorded SPARQ ratings last May, Schulz Academy recently completed their Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test by local SPARQ-certified trainer Rob Oristaglio on October 16 at Schulz’s local training facility in Boca Raton, Fl.

“The players have responded well,” said Josef Schulz, head coach at Schulz Academy (Boca Raton, FL). “It fires them up because they make it into a competition. When we sent them to our SPARQ trainer, they were cheering each other on and getting really into it. They always like when they can compete and in this case they can compete against everyone in the country. They want to be the team with the best scores.”

Once tested, players will receive an individualized program designed to provide meaningful training by addressing personalized areas of weakness and focus on areas of strength. The physical training element is focused on developing soccer athleticism, which is a major component of successful professional clubs programs, along with tactical and technical training.

“It’s more of a confirmation for the coaches,” said Schulz. “I don’t think coaches are surprised to see a score that says a player can’t jump high enough. They see that in corner kicks and free kicks at training. For the players, it’s a motivation factor and it makes them realize their weakness.”

Programs are designed by SPARQ’s fitness experts, Paul Winsper and Adrian Lamb, who will work with Academy coaches on demonstrating and implementing the new training programs. Winsper acted as the former fitness coach for Newcastle FC and is now the strength and conditioning coach for Toronto FC. Lamb also acted as Newcastle FC’s fitness coach and now works full-time with U.S. Soccer’s Youth National Team Programs.

“Nike SPARQ training provides coaches the opportunity to not only get quality objective information on the physical condition of their players but also to access the most up to date training programs designed specifically for youth soccer players,” said Winsper. “The testing sets a base line measure upon which the effectiveness of training can be assessed. Furthermore the test data allows coaches to make comparisons against soccer players across the globe.”

In addition, Development Academy clubs will also receive instructional material to apply throughout their club in areas such as dynamic warm-ups, strength, speed, agility and soccer-specific speed and agility.

U-15/16 Results:
Thursday, October 16
Richmond Strikers 2 – 0 Richmond Kickers

Saturday, October 18
IMG Academy 0 – 0 Concorde Fire
Clearwater Chargers 0 – 2 AFC Lightning
Dallas Texans 1 – 5 FC Dallas
Cal Odyssey 1 – 0 De Anza Force
Chivas USA 0 – 4 Nomads SC
LA Galaxy 0 – 4 San Diego Surf

Sunday, October 19
Clearwater Chargers 1 – 5 Concorde Fire
IMG Academy 3 – 0 AFC Lightning
Andromeda 1 – 1 Solar
Cal Odyssey 1 – 0 Santa Cruz Breakers
Washington Premier 1 – 1 Crossfire Premier


U-17/18 Results:

Thursday, October 16
Richmond Strikers 1 – 1 Richmond Kickers

Saturday, October 18
IMG Academy 3 – 2 Concorde Fire
Atlanta Fire 0 – 1 Miami FC Kendall
Dallas Texans 2 – 2 FC Dallas
Cal Odyssey 2 – 3 De Anza Force
Chivas USA 5 – 2 Nomads SC
LA Galaxy 4 – 2 San Diego Surf

Sunday, October 19
Clearwater Chargers 2 – 0 Concorde Fire
Birmingham United 2 – 1 Miami FC Kendall
Andromeda 2 – 0 Solar
Cal Odyssey 0 – 1 Santa Cruz Breakers
Washington Premier 1 – 2 Crossfire Premier


U-15/16 Upcoming Matches:

Saturday, October 25

Kickoff            Match-up                                                          Venue
10 a.m. ET     Bridge FA vs. Concorde Fire                         Charleston Battery Park
1 p.m. ET        Virginia Rush vs. AFC Lightning                  Hampton Roads Soccer Council
1 p.m. ET        IMG Academy vs. Birmingham United        IMG Academy
2 p.m. ET        Clearwater Chargers vs. Atlanta Fire          United Glen Oaks Park
2 p.m. ET        Miami FC Kendall vs. Richmond Kickers   Tropical Park
4 p.m. ET        Schulz Academy vs. Richmond Strikers     Florida Atlantic University
4 p.m. CT         Texas SC vs. Classics Elite                         Elizabeth Meyer Park
5 p.m. CT         Texas Rush AHFC vs. Lonestar                  Bear Branch Soccer Complex
1 p.m. PT          LA Galaxy vs. Nomads                                  Home Depot Center
1:45 p.m. PT   San Diego Surf vs. Chivas USA                   San Diego Polo Club
4:30 p.m. PT   Santa Cruz County Breakers vs. Mustang  Cabrillo College

Sunday, October 26
Kickoff             Match-up                                                                  Venue
9 a.m. ET        Clearwater Chargers vs. Birmingham United   Glen Oaks Park
9 a.m. ET        Virginia Rush vs. Concorde Fire                           Hampton Road Soccer Council
9 a.m. ET         IMG Academy vs. Atlanta Fire United                  IMG Academy
10 a.m. ET       Schulz Academy vs. Richmond Kickers             Florida Atlantic University
10 a.m. ET       Miami FC Kendall vs. Richmond Strikers          Tropical Park
12 p.m. ET       Bridge FA vs. AFC Lightning                                 Charleston Southern University
9 a.m. CT         Texas SC vs. Lonestar                                           Elizabeth Meyer Park
1 p.m. CT         Texas Rush AHFC vs. Classics Elite                 Bear Branch Soccer Complex
1 p.m. CT         Solar vs. FC Dallas                                                University of Texas at Dallas
1:30 p.m. CT   Andromeda vs. Dallas Texans                             Andromeda Training Facility

U-17/18 Upcoming Matches:

Saturday, October 25
Kickoff               Match-up                                                                    Venue

12 p.m. ET         Bridge FA vs. Concorde Fire                                   Charleston Battery Park
3 p.m. ET            Virginia Rush vs. AFC Lightning                            Hampton Roads Soccer Council
4 p.m. ET           Clearwater Chargers vs. Atlanta Fire United       Glen Oaks Park
4 p.m. ET           Miami FC Kendall vs. Richmond Kickers             Tropical Park
6 p.m. ET           Schulz Academy vs. Richmond Strikers                Florida Atlantic University
6 p.m. CT          Texas SC vs. Classics Elite                                     Elizabeth Meyer Park
7 p.m. CT           Texas Rush AHFC vs. Lonestar Bear                   Branch Soccer Complex
3:30 p.m. PT      LA Galaxy vs. Nomads                                             The Home Depot Center
3:45 p.m. PT      San Diego Surf vs. Chivas USA                              San Diego Polo Club
7 p.m. PT           Santa Cruz County Breakers vs. Mustang             Cabrillo College

Sunday, October 26
Kickoff                   Match-up                                                                   Venue

11 a.m. ET            Virginia Rush vs. Concorde Fire                           Hampton Road Soccer Council
12 p.m. ET            IMG Academy vs. Atlanta Fire United                    IMG Academy
12 p.m. ET           Schulz Academy vs. Richmond Kickers                Florida Atlantic University
12 p.m. ET           Miami FC Kendall vs. Richmond Strikers             Tropical Park
2 p.m. ET             Bridge FA vs. AFC Lightning                                    Charleston Southern University
11 a.m. CT           Texas SC vs. Lonestar                                             Elizabeth Meyer Park
3 p.m. CT             Texas Rush AHFC vs. Classics Elite                    Bear Branch Soccer Complex
3 p.m. CT             Solar vs. FC Dallas                                                   University of Texas at Dallas
3:30 p.m. CT       Andromeda vs. Dallas Texans                                Andromeda Training Facility

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