Avila Creative Soccer offers creative indoor soccer training to help players of all ages play brilliantly through:
- a skill deconstruction method that helps players develop at their own pace
- an assortment of specialized classes that improve tactical awareness, fitness with the ball, creative skills, and overall confidence
- accomplished trainers who place a strong focus on personal attention, participation, enjoyment, and individual growth
In addition, our strong reputation for developing highly skilled players, proven stability that shows the effectiveness of our approach, and high-value packages that provide quality soccer lessons at an affordable price enable us to grow athletes that express their imagination on the field.
4 Avila Specialties
In just four weeks Eryck Avila has gone from being a serious-minded pre-law student to being a serious international soccer player. The 21-year-old student, who grew up in Islip but now lives in Rocky Point, is so serious that he gets up at 4 a.m. to drive to 6:30 a.m. practice in Brooklyn. And that’s all before driving to pre-law classes at 10 a.m. at the State University at Stony Brook, where he’s a junior and the team’s leading scorer.
Now he’s to fly to the Caribbean Tuesday, where he’ll use his spring recess to play for Puerto Rico, the land of his forefathers, which has never yet qualified to play in the World Cup.
Avila’s trip to soccer fantasyland started when Arnie Ramirez, the Costa Rican-born coach at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus, was asked by the Puerto Rican government to recruit players from the New York area to make up a team to train for the 1994 world competition.
Ramirez, who was familiar with Avila’s play at Stony Brook, invited him to try out. Four weeks ago he was accepted as a midfielder—and one of the youngest members on the Puerto Rican team. Avila is one of three Long Islanders on the team; the others are Milton Espinoza of Franklin Square, a Fordham University graduate, and Phil Padilla of Brentwood, an Adelphi University graduate. “Eryck is skillful and controlled; he’s going to help us a lot,” Ramirez said.
Now Avila’s main problem is to juggle his studies with his boyhood dream of being a soccer star. But he’s not new to juggling fact and fantasy. After high school he played a European tour with a young team called the American Ambassadors, during which he had been offered a contract with a Dutch team, “which I turned down to go to college.”
Then a year ago, after two years at Fordham University, he took a year off to try out for various soccer clubs in England. He got a two-week tryout with the Liverpool team, one of England’s best. He wasn’t picked up in Liverpool, but did have a four-month stint with a second-division Liverpool team, the Tranmere Rovers. “Even this was almost unheard of for an American and great experience,” he said.
After that, Avila decided to return and continue pre-law studies at Stony Brook, where he had lived on campus as a boy while his mother, Sylvia Smith, and step-father, Peter Smith, were postgraduate students in social work.
“Eryck got his first real training in Brentwood at the age of 7, with a wonderful coach there, Ernest Boedner, who still teaches kids and got things started for Eryck,”
“Eryck got his first real training in Brentwood at the age of 7, with a wonderful coach there, Ernest Boedner, who still teaches kids and got things started for Eryck,” recalled his mother, who hails from Aguas Buenas in Puerto Rico, where her family still lives.
Her son’s bedroom—the walls full of medals, trophies and soccer memorabilia—illustrates his longtime dream and his fan worship of Brazil’s soccer stare, Pele. “Eryck was the youngest player in Rocky Point High School, when as a ninth grader he got on the varsity team and it won the state championship,” his mother added.
The schedule ahead calls for Avila to head south for a practice game March 15 with either Venezuela or Costa Rica. From there, he’ll travel to the Olympic Village of Salinas in Puerto Rico for intensive training and practice games against regional teams through March. The serious stuff starts with “away” and “home” matches, March 22 and 30, against the Dominican Republic, in the opening elimination games for the 1994 World Cup.
“We’re hoping to make history by beating them,” Avila said. “They’re archrivals of Puerto Rico and the game is already sold out.”
“I feel a commitment to the kids—to give back a little of what I got,”
The slim, serious Avila, who relaxes to Chopin and Schubert and enjoys political debate, did an internship in the Suffolk County executive’s office two summers ago and for the past three years has been a speaker at Suffolk County’s annual Hispanic Youth Conference. He also volunteers his coaching skills to help young soccer players. “I feel a commitment to the kids—to give back a little of what I got,” he said.
How will he manage the interruption to his studies? Avila, who has a 3.0 grade point average, says he’s lucky that the training comes in spring recess. He’ll only need to catch up on a week of classes, he said, with other training and games scheduled for summer and for as long as his team stays in World Cup competition.
“I’ll take it as it comes,” he said.
An avid 10-mile runner, Avila also embraces healthy eating (“including alfalfa sprouts,” he said) and the Greek ideal of a healthy mind in a healthy body.
“He does aerobics with me at my Sunday aerobics class—the only fellow in the class and it doesn’t faze him a bit,” his mother said. “He feels aerobics are a good way to limber up and put in time with his mom.”
It is time to examine organized youth sports as an institution to help safeguard the great work so many dedicated coaches are carrying out. There is increasing evidence that participation in youth sports as we know it today may come at a high price. Regrettably, we may be coaching the greatness out of our children. At a young age, many children are put in an environment where almost all decisions are made for them by referees, coaches, and parents. This has major ramifications that may be causing a sociological crisis in youth sport.
For example, the epidemic of anterior crucial ligament (ACL) injuries in female athletes has been blamed on several things; estrogen, which causes laxity in the tendons and ligaments (to help girls later during childbirth), severe hip-to-knee angles/ratios, and a host of other causes. Researchers are baffled, while coaches and trainers approach the task of injury-free training with a host of prevention techniques. That is because they are searching for what appears to be a developmental deficiency, when in fact ACL injuries may have a sociological genesis.
Children are no longer climbing trees, exploring meadows, catching fireflies or building tree houses.
Consider, for instance, that kids no longer “play”. You need only visit a soccer practice to observe this phenomenon. Children are told what to do, how to do it, and when to do it by adults who, in many cases, may be inexperienced in working with children.
Children are no longer climbing trees, exploring meadows, catching fireflies or building tree houses. Children’s play is regimented, uniform (and in uniform), on lined fields (no thinking outside of the box), boring and with no shortage of supervisors to watch over them. The sad reality is that the natural wonderment and genius in every child to evolve his athletic prowess is undergoing a troubling arrested development.
We tell them how to zig and zag with special technical names for each move. This precision drilling, which forces children to conform to a sport ethic, is in fact part of the problem. Play and the many intangibles that contribute to it, such as chaos and improvisation, may in fact be the missing link to solving the ACL epidemic. Unfortunately, nature’s own mechanisms are not activated, so children are left vulnerable at the knees – the center of gravity of the leg.
The crisis of adult controlled youth sports participation has more than just physical manifestations. Sports are mechanisms of socialization for youth, and therefore, the way sports are rendered affects who and what our children become.
Traditional sports, however, have become increasingly more competitive and predictable, with an emphasis on drills, rules, scoring and ultimately, WINNING.
All around us a rebellion against organized activities is evident. The emergence of extreme sports such as stunt bike riding and skateboarding, which by their very nature do not involve adult interaction or supervision, are more popular than ever. In these sports, young athletes are encouraged to be as creative as they are daring.
Where are all the center midfielders?
In developing countries, children play sports such as soccer in the streets. No adult structure and formalization corrupts the purity of the street environment. What irony. When left to their own devices, these children negotiate everything from potholes and bad traffic, to low light and stray dogs. They become expert problem solvers with creative solutions for maintaining the action. No one suffers the stigma of being on the bench. Instead, one goal is made large and the other very small to accommodate talent levels. They learn statesmanship and diplomacy and how to interact in positive ways rather than alienating any one player whose absence might cause a small sided game to cease in many cases. Isn’t that what sports are supposed to be teaching our kids?
It is not surprising that during the last few FIFA World Cups, the USA has been hard pressed to find a home grown center midfielder. (This position is also known as the creative midfielder.) Today, the United States has its own professional league, and joining the MSL (Major League Soccer) is the goal of many American youth players. Interestingly, MLS data regarding team rosters clearly shows that most teams occupy the creative midfield position with foreigners, particularly those from developing countries. We are coaching the greatness and the originality out of our youth!
It is time for what noted author Jay Coakely would call a “pleasure and participation model”. There is a crisis and powerful tools are needed for engaging athletes in a way that is keeping with origins of sport. If your youth athlete is in need of some confidence building and self attainment, empower them by offering freedom, not structure; by emphasizing creativity, not competition.
No one would advocate the abolishment of all organized youth sports; they are too important in getting and keeping young people active and involved with their peers. After all, no one would say that the welfare of youth wasn’t the ultimate goal of any of these wonderful organizations. There simply needs to be a shift in the philosophy that drives the programs and curriculums.
Coaches have the power to not only influence team cohesion but the proper team climate
That is why all coaches who make a difference everyday should remember that they have the power to not only influence team cohesion but also the power to create the proper team climate. This means creating an interactive setting where an athlete’s ideas are taken seriously. When a coach alters a lesson plan as the direct result of an athlete’s suggestion, that athlete will often take ownership of the practice and perform the drill in a superior way. This step eventually leads to them taking responsibility for their performance on game day. Coaches should not focus only on drills that involve scoring and going to goal. Instead, they might de-emphasize competition and reward non-traditional, under appreciated forms of athleticism such as originality, creativity, rhythm, coordination, and vision.
Some children are more influenced by coaches than any other figure; and so it is incumbent upon the coach to deconstruct some of the negative patters that characterize Western trends in youth sport. The heart of this issue speaks to the true power of coaching; and that, simply put, is that children use sports as cultural mechanisms of socialization. Therefore, the specific way in which sports are rendered (by coaches) affects who and what our children become.
Parents can also foster this type of atmosphere by letting their kids play in unstructured, “pick-up” games in the back yard with siblings and neighbors, or even at the park with other kids that they find there. Let them make up their own games, bend or modify rules, choose teams, and settle dispute s with little or no adult intervention. Observe carefully to make sure that no child is being hurt or bullied, but outside of that, keep out of it. It will teach a multitude of lessons without the kids even knowing it.
Creativity is the currency of business
Eryck Avila is the founder of Avila Creative Soccer, which trains young players at three locations in Austin, Texas, thanks in part to funding from Merchant Cash and Capital. Recently, he was a guest of “Small Business Digest”, a program on BlogTalk Radio, talking about what it takes to succeed as a small business owner in America today. For Avila, it’s something to be found in the very name of his business: creativity. “Creativity is the currency of business”, he told the show’s host.
Avila was praised for the work he’s put in to grow his business. “Any man that can help a thousand children we want on our program,” said Don Mazzella, who hosts the national show.
It was a rainy spell in Texas that set Avila on the path from serving a handful of children outdoors to a having company with 18 employees and many, many trained players. “I needed to get out of the rain,” he quipped. “I needed to put a roof over my head. I didn’t know that I was starting a business.”
And Avila insisted that some of the credit for his success must go to his parents, who are social workers. “My mom and dad have given me the greatest gift, in terms of constructing this business and working with children, because sports are mechanisms of socialization,” he said. Avila added that the support of his family helped him get through some of the mistakes he made along the way.
“I was born with this passion for soccer,” Avila said. “That’s something that any business owner, any CEO has to have. They have to have a passion.”