When Cami Privett began to take soccer seriously, she knew if she was going to reach a highly competitive level she had to train year-round. That meant seeking coaches to train with when her club season ended.
California is a hot bed for youth soccer, but that didn’t mean it was easy for Privett to find quality coaches. In fact, she discovered it was quite difficult.
“I went to a lot of different private trainers who said they knew what they were doing, but they didn’t necessarily follow through,” said Privett, who recently retired from professional soccer following a three-year career with the Houston Dash.
To help young players in the Houston area avoid that problem, Privett created a project called Train Like a Pro that simultaneously bridges the gap between local fans and the Dash.
Through the project, eight current Dash players and Privett are available to lead training sessions with youth players. Those seeking a training session can visit the website to see each trainer’s availability. Once contact information is exchanged they can determine the best location to meet.
The Dash players included are Lindsay Agnew, Jane Campbell, Claire Falknor, Michaela Hahn, Haley Hanson, Savannah Jordan, Veronica Latsko and Nichelle Prince.
“As a player you want a quality coach,” Privett said. “You can say you’re a coach and still not know what you’re talking about. If you get a coach who is a professional player, they have the credibility. They know soccer. They know techniques and tactics and everything.”
The idea of professional players seeking clients to train is not new, though Privett’s site gives the Dash players a better avenue to find them. During her playing career, Privett often resorted to posting fliers in local soccer stores and hoping someone would see it and call her to set up a session.
Prince, a Canadian international forward, has faced similar problems. Her issues extend beyond the typical travel that comes with NWSL games. She also leaves Houston during FIFA breaks.
“This is my second year, and it has been difficult to find clients, especially with our busy schedule,” Prince said. “Having this program shows exactly when we are available and helps us keep it organized. We can be available to younger girls and take advantage of our position being role models. Hopefully I can get a few clients, coach them and influence them.”
Falknor, a second-year midfielder, already has taken advantage of Train Like a Pro. She recently worked with a 10-year old defender who found her through the website. A total of five young player have used the service since it launched March 27. Prices to train with a pro range from $70 to $100 per hour.
While the training itself is valuable, Falknor said it may be even more valuable to connect with youth players because of what it could mean for their future in the game.
“We all had a dream to be professional players,” Falknor said. “We want to help other youth players achieve that dream. The best way to get there is to get advice from a professional player. If you want to know what drills to do, what to do for fitness, and mental preparation, you go straight to the source.”
Privett always thought she would pursue a team coaching career following her playing career, until she saw how a project like Train Like a Pro could help all involved. She said she has received positive feedback in the first few weeks, including parents who want their children to do group sessions with the Dash players.
As Privett develops the project, she thinks about the problems she had growing up and how much she would have benefited from being able to train with a professional player. It is enough to make her excited about what Train Like a Pro could turn into.
“I want to help with women’s soccer in general,” Privett said. “I want to help make a connection with the Dash on a personal level. If they know the players, they’re going to be more tempted to follow the Dash and women’s soccer by bringing people out to the games. It’s a win for the coaches. It’s a win for the players.”