The EDP 1st Team is a fully-funded player identification platform for 12U players in the 2019-2020 seasonal year, featuring neutral training and playing environments to create optimal development opportunities for players to learn, travel, and experience competition against some of the best clubs nationally and internationally.
Currently, the EDP 1st First Team’s participation in the Spring Classic is part of the tryout phase of player selections, in order to find the team’s definitive 16 players before their United Kingdom tour.
Lawrie Dudfield, former Leicester City and Hull City player, co-founder of Iconz Experience and member of the coaching staff for 1st Team, details the level of play that awaits the team, stating “The teams can expect to come up against some very high levels of competition during the tour. For example, the boys have games against current World, European and EPL Champions in waiting for Liverpool, as well as former EPL Champions Leicester City. So, that right there gives you an idea of the level of competition ahead of them.”
In preparation for this next level of soccer and facing the difficulties of traveling and competing abroad, EDP 1st Team will be under the watchful eye, guidance, and direction by some of the best coaches the UK has to offer. Coaches, who themselves have played and instructed at some of the highest levels the sport has to offer and who have faced similar challenges as these athletes in a professional capacity.
The coaching staff includes:
Micky Adams, a former professional footballer with a career that spanned 19-years, with five of them at Southampton Football Club. Adams’s background also encapsulates time as a manager or assistant manager in the EPL with clubs to include Fulham Football Club, Brighton & Hove Albion, Nottingham Forest, and Leicester City. He has been named Manager of the Season twice in his career.
Richard Thomas, the current Watford Football Club Academy Manager as of May 2019. Thomas developed a reputation for nurturing gifted young players during the seven years he spent at Leyton Orient, four of which were as Academy Manager. During that time, he led the club’s Under-18s to a league title and oversaw a run in the FA Youth Cup. Thomas recently served as the Notts County assistant manager.
Lawrie Dudfield, another former English professional footballer who has played for professional clubs that include Kettering Town, Leicester City, Hull City, Northampton Town, Notts County, and Southend United. He retired from professional play in 2009.
The goal of EDP’s 1st Team is to provide players with ‘Best v Best’ experience in the development of young athlete’s growth in soccer, with no cost to the committed members. This unique opportunity will allow the team to improve in an educational and competitive environment that also offers once in a lifetime cultural exposure and expert instruction.
Dudfield, explains what these players can look forward to gaining, in terms of tactical experience and playing exposure from being apart of this program. He says, “It’s really important to understand that we’re not reinventing the wheel here. The 1st Team project is aimed at the competitive nature of the opposition, a real best versus best program. To that end, the teams can expect tougher opposition than they’ve ever faced before. The tempo of the game will certainly be a lot quicker and more physical than they are used to, with the key being: Exposure! Exposure to international clubs, exposure of the player and exposure of the level required to play in this environment!
He continued to detail what he believes will be critical in the program’s success, emphasizing, “The most important factors for the EDP 1st Teams will be to ensure their concentration and that their commitment levels are as good as ever. Then, from an educational perspective, to understand their positions and to examine the level of the opposition players who play in their position as well.”
EDP is excited to see the regional 1st Team rosters competing at the EDP Spring Classic. These regional team players will be competing for a place on the EDP 1st Team final squad. We are very happy to provide these young athletes with a platform to test their skills and hone new ones under the watchful eye of professional-level coaches. EDP looks forward to seeing the continued journey unfold in this young team in the upcoming months.
Founded in 1999, Elite Development Program Soccer (EDP) is one of the largest organizers of youth soccer leagues and tournaments in the U.S. EDP operates youth leagues for boys and girls ages 9-19, conducts a Futures program for players ages 7-11, and operates U20/23 men’s and women’s leagues. EDP also runs over 20 tournaments each year. The key emphasis for EDP’s leagues and tournaments is its Pathway to College™ programming which enables soccer players to reach their full potential with an emphasis on attending college. More than 3,500 teams participate in EDP’s leagues and more than 170,000 players compete in EDP tournaments annually. For more information on EDP, visit www.edpsoccer.com.