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Cobi Jones Launching His First Youth Camp

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Dec 2, 2016

Cobi Jones Launching His First Youth Camp

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Photo credit TC Franklin

Former US National Team and MLS legend Cobi Jones is set to launch his first youth soccer camp here in Los Angeles. We sat down with Cobi to hear about his idea for the camp, what makes it unique and to catch up on what he has been up to recently.

Tell us about the camp and how it came to be. What are your ideas for it?

Well I’ve always wanted to be part of a camp that really caters to kids that have an understanding of the game already and that want to take their game to the next level. That’s what this is all about. I’m really trying to give back. I’m trying to take the better players and teach them just a little bit more that might give them that edge that will help them get to the next level.

That notion of helping gets get to the next level, are there specific areas that you have identified that the camp will be focusing in on?

I’m going to bring my experience as a player, my coaching experience with the Galaxy and my experience working with youth national teams (U-20s and U-14s) in recent times. I’ll take bits and pieces from my experiences and apply them to where I would like to see the game go. I want to see a more free flowing attacking style of game along with intense defending. Letting the kids understand what it takes. It’s not just about going out there and going through the motions. It’s trying to improve in every aspect. We’re going to be bringing in Jim Liston who works with Toronto FC. He’s going to be talking to the kids. We’ll have some former players that I played with that will come in. Guys like Clint Mathis is a perfect example. His abilities as a striker and a guy that played all over the world.  These guys will come in and share their experiences.

I’m a big believer that there isn’t just one way. I’m the perfect example of that. Coaches didn’t think that I was the right type of player, up until I hit college. I wasn’t recruited or sought after. I was a walk-on at UCLA. So those are important things for me to try and share with the kids and for them to have a different way of thinking about the game.

Where do you see American youth soccer is at the moment?

I think we’re at a great stage where I think the opportunities are endless. We are seeing the continued growth of the support in the United States, there is more attention on the sport from TV and media. We’re seeing an expansion on the professional level for men and women so there are actual avenues for kids to go into and make a great living out of the sport. There are more opportunities involved in the sport than just the playing side on the filed. There are opportunities around the sport if players want to get into all the ancillaries that go around being part of the sport.

What do you think the level of young American players is in terms of technique and tactical awareness?

The kids these days are better compared to the majority of kids that I grew up playing with. That goes without saying. I think a lot of that is that we have former players getting into coaching and teaching the sport. That’s very important to learn from people that have been there and done that. That’s part of what this camp is about. Learning from people who have been there and done that and are now passing that along to young players.

One of the interesting things about this camp to is that it is boys and girls combined. We’ll have men and women coaches there and boys and girls players. That makes this pretty unique.

Is this camp something that you guys are looking at growing into additional opportunities?

The first step is making the first one great. We’ll have growing pains, but I do have plans for the future for it to grow. I don’t want to just give back at one time, I do want to continue to teach kids from all over. Since I announced this about a month ago I have gotten quite a few calls from people outside of Southern California asking if I would come to their area to do a camp. I expect that we’ll be doing more in the future.

Besides just the camp, what are you up to at the moment?

I’m doing broadcasting and doing a lot of work with Spectrum, the Galaxy regional broadcast. Doing work with Fox. I’m getting my broadcasting game up and hoping to see what happens with the 2018 World Cup. I’ve done some coaching with the youth National Teams. I did some stuff earlier in the year with U-20s and did some recent work with the U-14s.

Thanks for your time and best of luck with the camp.

More info on the camp can be found at Cobi’s website.

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