CHICAGO (Sept. 29, 2017) - As part of U.S. Soccer's ongoing effort to make soccer the preeminent sport in the U.S. by developing world class players, coaches, and referees, U-15 Boys' National Team head coach Dave Van den Bergh will now assume his National Team role full-time after beginning his tenure in a dual role and also serving as a Development Academy Technical Advisor for Texas. With Van den Bergh's transition to full time Youth National Team coach, Scott Spencer will now support Texas Academy clubs. Additionally, Austin Daniels will join the Academy as a Technical Advisor for clubs in Northern California.
The U-15 BNT serves as a developmental and identification squad for potential future National Team players. Van den Bergh has helmed the program since February 2016, working to introduce players to a culture and style of play consistent throughout all of the U.S. National Teams as well as impart the importance of character development in qualities such as attitude, discipline and commitment. Success at the U-17, U-20, U-23 and senior Men's National Team levels has come with numerous players who began their career with the U-15 BNT.
"I'm really excited about this next step of my career where I can focus more on the coaching part of things," Van den Bergh said. "I've been really happy for the last three-and-a-half years as a TA. I met some great people, saw some great players and have seen the Academy and the Texas market grow. I'm looking forward to handing over the very talented '02 group to (U-17 MNT head coach) John Hackworth and looking forward to start anew with the 2004 age group."
Before his time with the U-15s, Van den Bergh worked as an assistant coach for the U-20 MNT. Capped with the Dutch National Team, he enjoyed an illustrious playing career, including 12 years in Europe, highlighted by a six-year stint at Eredivisie-side FC Utretcht in his native Netherlands. He finished his career in M.L.S., playing four seasons with the Kansas City Wizards, New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas.
Spencer, who worked alongside Van den Bergh as a scout for the Texas region, now assumes the Technical Advisor role. Daniels has been appointed as the Technical Advisor for Northern California.
In their roles, Spencer and Daniels will primarily spend their time working closely with the Academy Directors of the Clubs in their respective environments. The Technical Advisor creates a direct line of communication for each Academy club to U.S. Soccer, offering guidance to create everyday environments that meet standards to develop world class players. Spencer and Daniels will also support clubs in their efforts to build relationships in their community to create player pathways for individuals to develop and advance in the Academy.
In addition to support, leadership and education the TA manages the talent identification networks in their respective markets, which consist of U.S. Soccer scouts who attend training, games, and Academy showcases to identify elite talent. As the next step in the development pathway, they provide scouting reports and player-specific data for players that are selected by Youth National Team staffs.
"It's an exciting time for youth soccer development in the country, within the Development Academy, and throughout the Texas region," Spencer said. "The talent pool is growing and our goals are to keep improving the environments our top players are in. I'm looking forward to working in the Texas region."
Spencer has a long career in the world of youth soccer. Most recently, he worked as the U.S. representative for Liga MX club CF Monterrey Rayados, launching the team's U.S. club affiliation program. At the same time, Spencer served as president of Premier Soccer Services, an event and tour management company, and as a U.S. Soccer scout for Texas and Atlanta. Previously, Spencer was Director of Coaching for the Alabama Youth Soccer Association, Director of Memphis' GSC/Fury club and a U.S. Soccer coach educator.
Daniels comes to support the Academy's Northern California clubs after serving as Technical Director for the Arizona Youth Soccer Association and as a coach in Arizona's U.S. Soccer National Training Center program. His role as a national instructor for the Federation will provide valuable education to Academy Directors to support the development opportunities and mentoring of their coaches and staff. He will lead 19 Academy clubs in NorCal.
"I look forward to supporting and enhancing the Northern California Academy clubs by working with the Directors, Coaches and Players," Daniels said. "It's an exciting opportunity to be a part of the Academy and help players develop to their full potential."
Daniels has previously worked as a scout for the U.S. U-20 Women's National Team and as a coach at the Arizona U.S. Soccer Boy's Training Center. He's spent time as Director of Coaching at the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association and at clubs in Connecticut and Kentucky. His head coaching career included tenures with the Women's Premier Soccer League's New England Mutiny and the University of Colorado women's team.
All U.S. Soccer Technical Advisors are required to hold a minimum U.S. Soccer 'A' license. Spencer and Daniels earned theirs in January 2001 and January 2016, respectively and will soon take part in the U.S. Soccer Academy Director Course.
On a day-to-day basis, Technical Advisors support club efforts to elevate the everyday environment by providing consistent, meaningful feedback while helping identify players who deserve consideration for U.S. Soccer Training Centers and Youth National Teams.
U.S. Soccer's increased focus on club and player development will ensure Technical Advisors' integrate and align with the six Sport Development departments: Talent Identification, Coaching Education, High Performance, Youth National Teams, Refereeing and Membership. The Technical Advisor role works closely with clubs to support Academy Directors and staff to achieve their goals through U.S. Soccer's Player Development Initiatives.