Club Highlight: Bay Area 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 2021, Bay Area 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 Bay Area Surf’s Director Heath Piper to learn more about how Surf has helped his club, players, coaches, and administrators and their upcoming season goals:
What has been the biggest value to Bay Area Surf being part of the Surf Nation Community?
The most significant value for Bay Area Surf within the Surf Nation Community is the abundance of resources and knowledge shared among leaders, administrators, and coaches. The community provides a wealth of insights and expertise. With Surf evolving into an international brand, the available resources have expanded even further. Surf’s forward-thinking approach to enhancing value and resources for clubs and the overall brand adds another layer of significance to our involvement.
Reflecting on 2023, what defined the Club’s year?
The defining aspect of the club in 2023 was the remarkable growth, nearly 70% increase from 2022. This growth, while overwhelming, is a testament to the hard work of our dedicated staff, players, and supportive families. The synergy among our staff, administrators, players, and families is evident both on and off the field, extending even to academic excellence in the classroom. Our commitment to supporting players in every aspect of their development, coupled with a focus on the details in the training, has lead to the clubs success.
As you move into 2024, what are some key performance indicators for the Club?
Our primary goal for 2024 is player development, prioritizing it over winning, and instilling our distinctive style of play across all teams. While reaching the playoffs is a target, we believe that staying true to our game model and curriculum will naturally lead to success. In ECNL and MLS Next, we aim to send a minimum of 5 teams to the playoffs in their prospective leagues, building on the success of previous years. We strive to have 2-3 players in every age group playing on National teams and to builb on our success playing players in top D1 college programs. We had multiple former female college player sign NWSL and European Pro contracts in 2023. On the boys’ side, working closely with SJ Quakes to promote top players into the MLS pro academy is a key focus, in 2023 we had our first boys player sign a pro contract with the Quakes at age 15.
The Club is creating a proven track record of developing players with exposure to various international training centers – what do you attribute this to?
Our success in developing players with exposure to international training centers stems from strong relationships with US Soccer and federations in CONCACAF and Europe. The emphasis on individual development, including cross-age group and gender challenges like integrating girls into MLS Next games and trainings with boys, has set us apart. Our commitment to constant assessment and evolution of training methods, utilizing available resources, contributes to a track record of developing well-rounded players sought after by federations, colleges, and pro clubs globally.
The Club enters its 2nd year in ECNL Girls and is a member of MLS on the boys’ side – can you share your player development pathway from Grassroots to the Elite tier?
Our player development pathway begins with the pre-academy program covering 5v5, progressing through the academy program with 7v7 and 9v9 ages, and culminating in the elite program with 11v11 for ages U13-U19. What makes us unique is our personalized approach, considering the maturation process of each player. We make adjustments, moving players to appropriate levels based on development needs, even if it means playing with older age groups or integrating girls with boys. The individual development plan is central to our approach. Additionally, top U17/19 club players and our current college players have the option to play for one of the most successful USL-W semi-pro teams, which finished 3rd in the National Playoffs last season.
Learn more about Bay Area Surf at https://www.bayareasurf.org