Last month, Fire Juniors staff conducted Technical Visits to three out-of-state affiliate clubs: Florida Fire Juniors, Louisiana Fire Juniors, and Kentucky Fire Juniors. Director of Affiliates Jamie Lyons and Chicago Fire Academy Scout Matt Pearson spent three days with each club reviewing best practices with administration, ongoing education with the coaching staff, and identifying potential players for the Fire Juniors Emerging Talent Program.
While the Fire Juniors network is in constant communication year-round, club visits are critical to continuing development and strengthening the relationships within the Fire Family. “It’s always a huge benefit to have Chicago Fire Staff spend time with our club. It's great to have the opportunity to share what we are doing and get input on how we can continue to grow and improve,” said Kentucky Fire Juniors Director of Coaching Craig Jones, “It's also helpful to discuss how other affiliates are dealing with the same issues we face and encouraging to hear when we are doing things well. Our coaches, players and families are always grateful to see the Staff from Chicago taking the time to watch the teams train and see the coaches/players in action."
The Chicago Fire Staff visit each out-of-state affiliate once a year, holding events to engage the entire club on and off the field. Affiliate coaches benefit from ongoing education from the Chicago Fire First Team and Academy philosophy, and in-person visits provide an opportunity to collaborate in action on the field. For Paul Williams, Director of Coaching for the Florida Fire Juniors, the Technical Visit is “one of the highlights of the season” for players, parents, and staff. “We arrange in-house scrimmages for Jamie and Matt to observe our players in a controlled environment. Matt was able to identify a group of our top players during his evaluation process. Jamie had the opportunity to engage with our membership and players in a series of small group meetings.”
Top players identified during Technical Visits and by their coaches throughout the season will be invited to participate in the Fire Juniors Emerging Talent Program Residential ID Camp later this summer in Lake Forest, Illinois, and club staff from each club will receive a comprehensive report with key recommendations and next steps. From Louisiana Fire Juniors, Director of Coaching Julio Paiz reflected that, “the latest club visit from the Fire was a complete success, and we look forward to continuing to have these visits for years to come.”
Jamie Lyons speaking to parents and players of our Florida Fire Juniors.
Academy Scout Matt Pearson presents Fire Academy Methodologies to Florida Fire coaches
Kentucky Fire Juniors working hard for Academy Scout Matt Pearson
Jamie and Matt speaking to our Kentucky Fire girls.
Chicago Fire Director of Youth Affiliates, Jamie Lyons, collaborating with the Louisiana Fire Staff
Jamie Lyons speaking to our Louisiana Fire players and parents