La Jolla Nomads' Derek Armstrong talks about CLS-Super Y-League season with USL

July 2006

 Article taken from USL's web site

When United Soccer Leagues joined forces with the Coast Soccer League as their representative of Southern California, the Super Y-League gained one of the most historic youth soccer clubs in North America.  The La Jolla Nomads Soccer Club of San Diego, California possesses one of the most experienced coaching staffs in North America.  Led by their Technical Director Derek Armstrong, the Nomads boast one of the most impressive alumni factions in American club soccer history. USL recently questioned Armstrong on his thoughts regarding the USL/CSL merger…
USL: What are your thoughts on the Coast Soccer League doubling as the Pacific Southern California Division of the Super Y-League?
Armstrong: I think this is long overdue.  The Coast Soccer League is a large part of one of the premier soccer areas in the United States.  We belong in a nationwide league.  Making the CSL a nationwide league would have been financially impossible on our own. The Super Y-League provides clubs in Southern California with another avenue of competition and the draw of being a nationwide league.
USL: You’re just getting into the inaugural season under the USL format. How is it working up to this point?
Armstrong: I’m optimistic. This is going to be a big incentive in drawing players to our club. We’ve got some of the best competition here in Southern California and to integrate what we already have with a national flavor is something really big – it’s great for soccer in the U.S. I say congrats to everyone who had a hand in making this happen.
USL: What initially drew the CSL to join the Super Y-League?
Armstrong: One thing I love about the Super Y-League is their lack of conflict.  Your league has a working structure that takes into account major events on the North American soccer calendar. Other leagues show a lack of strides in getting better.
USL: Did the highly successful Super Y-League ODP system make the decision to join easier?
Armstrong: The traditional ODP system never made any strides towards fixing the problems.  The Super Y-League system avoids conflict. It might get the current ODP system to get their act together which is good. I have kids that have to choose between playing important club matches and ODP events. It cannot continue to be run like this.  It is a disadvantage to the player.  The Super Y-League does their ODP scouting in league play.  Anytime you get players and coaches on the same page like that you’re going to have a good thing.
USL: How are the La Jolla Nomads in 2006?
Armstrong: The Nomads are in a bit of a growing phase. The clubs out of the Los Angels Area can draw on some 14 million players. They really bring together some competitive sides. San Diego is a tough, competitive environment for youth soccer. Our U13’s are one of our best sides so we’re up and coming in that respect.  Our U16’s had a championship side last season and they’re still trying to regain that form after losing a few players.
USL: Looking at your alumni page, you’ve had some incredible players come up through your system. What’s that like for a club?
Armstrong: When you’ve had players like Frankie Hejduk and Steve Cherundolo go through your club system and reach the heights of the World Cup it gives you quite a bit of perspective.  I was talking about Steven when he was 13 and nobody wanted to listen because of his size (currently listed as 5”6’). When he was 16 and still playing great football people started coming along.  Now they listen to me more readily. He played just an incredible match against Italy in the second half.
Because of our club history and players like Steven and Frankie we’re able to draw some great talent. There’s not a lot of clubs that can match us when it comes to our history.  We’re one of the premier youth soccer clubs in North America heading into our 30th year. I’ve been here since ’80.  Most of our other coaches have been here for ten to twelve years.  We have been successful sticking to our goal which is to create an atmosphere for development. And I’ve said nothing of winning matches but that comes on its own after you take care of the devolpment.
About the Super Y-League
The future of soccer lives in the USL Super Y-League, a professionalized system that is the first step for developing elite youth soccer players in North America. Affiliated with US Soccer and partnered with US Club Soccer, the league is designed for talented youth players destined for professional or international careers. The league contains the youth academies of USL First Division, USL Second Division, Premier Development League, W-League, and Major League Soccer clubs, as well as many of the established premier youth clubs. Through Olympic Development Program status events such as the North American Finals and National ODP Camps, the nation's top players are identified for selection to US National Team Programs. The 2006 campaign features over 800 teams within the U13 – U17 boys and girls age groups competing within ten geographic divisions of the U.S. and Canada.