Stockade FC hosted a youth clinic on Saturday, November 11th, which provided a number of opportunities for both the club and the attendees, and provided a small glimpse into the future for Stockade FC’s youth development program.
“We have big crowds at Stockade FC matches, up to 1,400, and a lot of them are kids,” Kingston Stockade FC Chairman Dennis Crowley said. “So we wanted to get a low-cost way to get the kids on the same field as our players, learn some skills, and just get on the pitch.”
The youth clinic featured 15 Stockade FC players and Crowley saw it as a great opportunity to make the club as accessible as possible.
“From a brand perspective it’s just a way to get kids out there playing, I want the whole thing to be accessible to the kids, keeping the costs low,” Crowley said. “The idea is to do something for the community as a way to give back.”
For Crowley, though it’s a one-day youth clinic, this is a small step in a much larger plan for Stockade FC’s future.
“The first thing you do is you offer a one-day clinic, then maybe next year it’s a five-day camp, then maybe the next year it’s a five-week camp,” Crowley said. “This is a way to do something in the offseason that helps the community and helps the team.”
Dan Hoffay, the Director of Player Personnel for Stockade FC, took the reins on the youth clinic project and sees a bright future ahead of it.
“The goal (of the clinic) is to provide high-level coaching and high-level soccer for the Hudson and make it as accessible as possible to as many people as possible,” Hoffay said. “The goal for the youth clinic is eventually to make it as cost-free as possible, so this is our first step to making that a reality.”
Hoffay took the reins to make an impact on the soccer community that he grew up in, and help make a positive change in soccer in general.
“I’m a Hudson Valley local soccer product and I want to see it grow here, and I know that some of the… big pay-to-play programs have really engulfed the smaller local soccer market and really hurt them,” Hoffay said. “So we wanted to try and find a way to not only help local Hudson Valley kids, but also to make it more accessible to all of them.”
Another goal Hoffay had for the youth clinic was to see the amount of support from the community the youth clinic to develop.
“We wanted to see the response, and we were up over 100 kids registered within the first 24 hours, “Hoffay said. “This is just one of the first things to start getting the kids involved and show people we are going to be doing more and more… but yes the (cost-free) academy is the ultimate goal.”
When all was said and done, 149 kids came out for the clinic, and thanks to the sponsorship of Ulster Savings Bank and an average donation of five dollars from the players, the clinic was run with no cost to the club. Hoffay recognizes the success of the clinic and is hopeful for the future of the youth development program.
“Our clinic was a huge success,” Hoffay said. “We look forward to continuing this first step in our Stockade FC Youth Program and working closer towards an affordable and accessible Stockade FC Youth Academy.”