As a member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, I was very excited to have our 2010 convention in my home town of Philadelphia, especially given the fact that 2010 will also bring with it expansion teams from both the MLS (Philadelphia Union) and WPS (Philadelphia Independence).
Needless to say, there was a big buzz in the tri-state soccer community.
In addition to attending the event with my NSCAA colleagues, I was also there in a media capacity to cover the MLS Super Draft and WPS College Draft for the BleacherReport.com.
The Convention officially ended yesterday afternoon, so with that in mind I thought we could take a look back at the week’s events with some photos I took.
Day one of the convention officially kicked off January 13th, as many of us went through the registration process to pick up our credentials for the week. Thank you once again to the NSCAA for the great media gift. A large, black and red Adidas backpack. Boy, did that come in handy the rest of the week.
As you can see by this photo, there were more than enough events to keep us busy over the five day convention process and trust me, due to the overlapping nature of the many of the events, there was no way you could really attend every event.
Day two of the convention actually started at McGillin's Olde Ale House, a little watering hole not far from the Convention Center. This, however, is not just any side street pub.
It’s the actual bar where the Son's of Ben Supporters group was founded three years ago in anticipation of our new MLS expansion team, the Philadelphia Union. Oh yes, I am also a member of the SOB’s group.
From McGillin's, the SOB's formulated an orderly parade and navigated their way for several blocks and into the convention center to settle in for the first ever draft in Philadelphia Union Franchise history.
Once again, the MLS events department out did themselves. The set-up for the Super Draft was a very visual site to behold.
As expected, the Son's of Ben were not the only MLS supporters group at the Super Draft. D.C. United's Screaming Eagles and La Barra Brava made the trip up from our Nation's capital, while the Red Bulls Empire group jumped on the Jersey Turnpike south to join the festivities.
There are always plenty of soccer dignitaries to see at the convention like for instance, former U.S. National men’s coach and current L.A. Galaxy GM/Head coach, Bruce Arena.
Former MLS and national team standout, Cobi Jones, also attended the superdraft. Jones is currently an assistant under Bruce Arena with the Galaxy.
Once the draft was under way, the expansion Philadelphia Union selected Oregon State striker, Danny Mwanga, with the number one over all pick as the Union snagged three of the first seven selections in the first round
Thursday night at the convention. WPS Commissioner, Tonya Antonucci, introduced the new WPS Official Match Ball as PUMA athlete and Los Angeles Sol goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc made her “first save” on the new ball, snaring a practice shot on one of the clinic fields at the Convention Center.
After securing the ball’s “first save”, Leblanc walked over and presented PUMA’s WPS PWR-C 1.10, the Official Match Ball of the 2010 WPS Season, to Commissioner Antonucci.
The WPS PWR-C 1.10 features a unique 20-panel construction developed with the aim of improving both shooting speed and flight distance.
The ball is abrasion-resistant and water-repellent and, for the first time in PUMA’s history, high-frequency molded instead of hand-stitched, providing improved stability of form and less water uptake.
On day three of the NSCAA Convention, all eyes were on salon 201C of the convention center, where a standing room only crowd watched Women's Pro Soccer hold their second annual college draft.
The Expansion Atlanta Beat and Philadelphia Independence were slotted to select one and two in each of the seven allotted rounds. Philadelphia, however, traded both their first round selections prior to the draft so Independence GM Terry Foley and his technical staff had to sit back and watch until the second round.
As expected, the Expansion Atlanta Beat selected the University of North Carolina's, Tobin Heath, with the over all number one pick which in turn set off a draft explosion of some of the top women's college talent in the nation.
One night after unveiling their new ball, Puma and WPS unveiled their new Uniforms for the 2010 season. Philadelphia's Amy Rodriguez sporting the new Independence kit in this photo.
This time last year of course, A-Rod was modeling a different uniform after being selected as the overall No. 1 pick by the Boston Breakers in the 2009 draft. Rodriquez was acquired from Boston in exchange for Philadelphia’s 2010 first round selection.
One of my favorite aspects of the annual convention is the numerous technical and tactical clinics put on by some of the top coaches and clinicians from around the world.
On Saturday, January 16, team fitness and conditioning guru, Raymond Verheijen (left), did a clinic on conditioning through small sided games.
As a certified goalkeeping instructor, I always love to watch the keeper course demonstrated by the likes of goalie gurus Dan Gaspar and Tony DiCicco.
The largest component of the NSCAA convention each year is Exhibit Hall. Over 300 vendors selling everything from the latest in out wear to the newest training equipment. Trust me, there are some great training innovations out there.
There is certainly no shortage of vendors selling patches, badges, and flags.
Well, once again another eventful and exciting conventions come to end. Next year you should join us when the Convention makes a stop in Baltimore, Maryland.
Oh by the way, no sooner had the NSCAA packed up, The Philadelphia Convention Center opened it's doors to the Philadelphia Home Show. Need any brick work for your walk way?