Youngsters geared up for US soccer trip

Members of the Grove Soccer Academy are, from left, Lyndon Kannemeyer, Asanda Tom, Lutho Dungulu, Ejaz Badat, Nino Daniels, Mandla Hela, Tristan Jepthas and Martin Taku.

Not even the weekend’s pouring rain could stop Lyndon Kannemeyer, Asanda Tom, Lutho Dungulu, Ejaz Badat, Nino Daniels, Mandla Hela, Tristan Jepthas and Martin Taku from going through their paces during a training session ahead of their trip to America.

The boys- all members of the Rondebosch-based Grove Soccer Academy (GSA) – will attend a 12-day soccer clinic in America, during the school holidays.

The group was chosen based on their skill and soccer ability, and showing qualities of discipline and good character, says GSA founder, Justin Grove, based in Richmond, Virginia, in the United States.

While abroad, he says, the players will take part in educational trips, be exposed to American university coaches, and train with their United States counterparts.

The youngsters will train everyday while in America and be paired with other academy players in match games.

Grove established the programme in 2014 after his visit for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Cape Town.

Arriving in Cape Town to visit family in the area and to catch a few the World Cup games, Grove was unexpectedly exposed to the young talent in the Cape.

Grove founded GSA in the United States about five years ago in the state of Virginia.

Over time the academy developed, ultimately bringing talented youths together from South Africa and the United States.

Grove said there are three goals GSA has for each of their players: development, education, and exposure.

He said the development component emphasises a high level of technical training and looks to develop the individual player as well.

“Coaches are either licensed or undergo a three to four month mentorship programme to make sure they are qualified,” said Grove.

“Originally the academy was geared to groom and train players on an individual level, but it has transformed into a programme that works on a group-model, focused on the holistic training of each player,” said Grove.

He said the academy encourages their players to prioritise their education, to attend college or university and earn a degree that can give them something to fall back on.

GSA will be hosting trials when the squad returns from their United States tour.

These will take place every Sunday after Monday July 11 and are open to players 18 years and younger. Visit www.grovesocceracademy.com or call 060 932 1941.