Club Highlight: Los Angeles Surf
Surf Nation is comprised of like-minded coaches and administrators dedicated to our Surf mission to provide the best experiences and opportunities for their athletes. Since 2019, Los Angeles Surf has been a proud partner of Surf Nation, and we have thoroughly enjoyed the partnership, watching their amazing club grow and seeing them take full advantage of being under the Surf brand.
We sat down with LA Valley Soccer Club’s Director, Barry Ritson, to learn more about how Surf has helped his club, players, coaches, and administrators and their upcoming season goals:
What is the biggest value to LA Surf being part of the Surf Nation community?
The knowledge of the leadership within Surf Nation is important for us to share in and stretch our thinking on what is possible for our players.
Surrounding yourself with innovators inspires you to think outside the box, look at ways that have been successful in other clubs or areas of the country, and implement them in your own organization. We have taken initiatives shared within Surf Nation and brought it back to LA, adding our own twist, and we have seen them aid us to be better each day.
As you reflect on 22/23 Season, what key success indicators defined the club’s year?
The 2022/2023 Season was successful both on and off the field at LA SURF.
On the field our staff have thrived. Creating a culture of excellence for our players. We have developed and improved our foundation levels at LA Surf. Our LA Grassroots program has given local players an opportunity to explore the game, fall in love with the sport in a fun, supportive and professional environment. The club teams continue to reach the top levels of the game locally and regionally and have shown whether you are in the San Fernando Valley, Torrance, Hollywood or La Canada, there is a common goal to be the Best of the Best and players are maximizing their potential. Our Elite Program is one of the best in the country. Top talent are mentored and stretched to be the best they can be, chasing their goals with excitement and enthusiasm.
All of this is supported by the best administrative staff in the industry, working tirelessly to keep us moving forward. We are proud of our accomplishments and have looked to social media to spread word of the benefits at LA Surf and with numbers increasing across the board, people are taking note and finding their way into our network.
Now you look forward to 23/24. What are some of the KPI’s and goals you have set for the Club?
We want to see continued growth in all areas of our organization. We want to maximize the indoor facility in Pasadena, share more benefits of the partnerships we have cultivated in Sport Performance and Health and Wellness, putting the player firmly at the core of our environment. More teams winning championships at the National level. More players committing to college. More access for our players to USYNT programming and more boys signing with pro clubs. This is the next stage of our progression and commitment to be the Best of the Best in what we do while making sure every single player has a great experience wearing Surf Blue.
You have a really interesting player development pathway, how do you keep the coaches aligned on the Clubs vision through to the Elite program?
LA Surf is a large and robust organization but also has a small village feel. The club directors in each region are specialists not only in their field but they also take the time to understand the goals and desires of the players and families that participate in their region. This gives us a unique ability to train, develop and identify talent. The collaborative nature of our staff ensures that each player can find their way and not only explore the game but land in their optimal spot on the team that best fits their needs and ability. Communication, transparency and advocating for players to be evaluated gives us a really good foundation to make sure players move through the club to the appropriate teams, at the appropriate time.
The boys you have had great success being in the MLS feeding players onto professional youth academies, now you have qualified the Girls program to the GA Champions league – what do you put this success down to?
Leadership and drive. Our leaders are truly invested not only in team success but also individual coach and player advancement. For the Boys we have proven our development plan and coaching nurtures talent. With humility, we understand that coaches and players have aspirations to compete at the top level of the game. At some point, we exhaust our ability to keep them progressing. We know that professional organizations are watching our players and through our growing relationships with their Academy staff, we can help facilitate upward movement. For Girls, we have developed a grit within our program. A strong desire to be better. Again, Leadership is critical. We are blessed to have the staff we have, and they work smart to make us difficult to beat, hard to play against with a will to score goals. Across the age groups we performed well last season and secured a Champions Cup spot. It’s just the beginning.
Learn more about LA Surf at https://wearelasurf.com.