The Naperville Soccer Association -NSA was the 1st traveling soccer Club formed in Naperville in 1986 to provide an opportunity for players to participate in traveling team soccer. Our Club has always operated in a positive environment by qualified and seasoned coaches who have USSF coaching licenses and who are NSCAA & USSF certified. Coaches also attend clinics that include skills, techniques, strategy, care of soccer related injuries, nutrition and the newly enacted Safe Sport certifications for abuse and bullying.
Our Club's success in carrying out our goals can be seen by the major tournament wins compiled since our inception and by the players that receive college scholarships.
2021 is our 35th year as NSA was formed in the Spring of 1986 by Jeff Bradley, who is currently still the President of the Club. He is a USSF licensed coach and referee, as well as being a past board member of the Illinois Women's Soccer League (IWSL) and the Illinois Youth Soccer Association (IYSA) and the name sake of the Illinois State Cup U14 Girls Champions Cup!
NSA continues to be a not-for-profit organization incorporated in the State of Illinois, with the objective to teach and develop girls and boys for traveling team soccer in a fun, competitive, safe and friendly environment! Open tryouts are held in May and June of each year. We have programs and teams for Boys and Girls from ages 4-23. NSA's professional licensed trainers are hired for all teams and most have decades of soccer coaching experience. Our Teams begin their Team training in August with a week long camp and then their weekly trainings from 2-4 times per week. Teams U7-U10 practice twice a week and teams U11 and older practice three times a week. Optional outdoor sessions are also available. Indoor practices and games are held at the Naperville Yard and the high school teams also practice and play games at various local indoor facilities.
NSA's programs have their foundation in our Player Development model with an emphasis on skills, tactics, fitness and fun. NSA also offers free Goal Keeper training and fitness training. Our teams participate in IWSL, YSSL, NISL, IYSA State Premiership, Midwest Conference/National League (former MRL), Illinois State Cup, Illinois President's Cup and National League in the Fall and Spring. Teams practice weekly during the winter and play in indoor league(s). Teams typically attend two to four tournaments a season, with the High School program attending more National and Showcase Tournaments for exposure to college recruiters and coaches.
We also have a Junior Training Program, which began in 1996, for our youngest players ages 3-6 years. The emphasis of this program is to train younger players in preparation for traveling soccer and our Pre-Travel teams for ages 7-9.
The Covid Pandemic has not only shed light on our physical health and safety, but it has also raised issues about our children’s physical fitness, increased injuries and mental health. Hopefully having a regular training schedule has helped many with this, however we have also noticed an increase in injuries this past year.
With youth athlete injuries being on the rise, after a year of less activity and the increasing severity of some injuries, we recognize that one of the most often over looked aspects of youth sports is the actual conditioning, stretching and overall good health of youth athletes. We have been researching various programs over the past several years that can provide the training and tools for players to achieve better overall physical health for their growing and changing bodies, which in turn reduces injuries.
Whether it is to prevent injuries or to become more healthy, flexible, faster, stronger and/or coordinated, we are excited to be adding this essential training as a much needed and unique program to our players.
Our program will now incorporate a Professional International trainer that will not only educate and train our players and Coaches at our daily trainings, but will also be an incredible resource to everyone. This trainer and soccer coach is affiliated with the University of Granada and supported by Dr. Jose Conde, the current strength and conditioning coach of Sevilla FC and Formerly Real Madrid and the Spain National Team.
Dr. José Conde is considered one of the top 5 conditioners in European professional soccer. His science-based methodology is innovating and highly effective. José’s teams have consistently achieved the highest physical performance level and his rosters have the lowest injury rates out of all European professional clubs on a consistent basis. Besides working for Real Madrid FC, Sevilla CF and the Spain National team during the last 2018 Soccer World Cup, José directs the University of Granada Master’s Degree Program in Conditioning and Fitness.
This amazing program, Trainer and the enhanced training will be the physical foundation for our athletes to build upon, alongside their specific soccer trainings at no additional cost nor an increase in fees this year
The 2nd important aspect for NSA's program is to also focus on the cognitive side of soccer and therefore we will be integrating a very unique offering with a program from Lasting Learning. We have been working with a team of leading Learning researchers from Lasting Learning (also affiliated with the Bjork Learning & Forgetting Lab at UCLA). They study how people learn and when it comes to sports, what kinds of activities promote accelerated learning and what activities/training are less valuable when it comes to transferring player actions from training to games.
Lasting Learning will assist in our coaches’ education and integrate these thought processes in their training and games and they will also offer their classes to our players which teach them about “how” we learn. They have workshops to teach children concepts, such as understanding confusion and how it relates to learning, the importance of making mistakes and the value of struggle in long term growth.
One of the key objectives will be to change players’ mindsets towards struggle and challenge, seeing those as key tools in learning and not something to shy away from. Lasting Learning will be providing classes throughout the season to both our players and parents via Zoom. These impressive classes will impact players’ development both on and off the field.