Seamus' Op Ed January 2017

In my last article I mentioned how we are designating 2017 to be The Year of Individual
Technical Improvement for All Penn Legacy Players.  The goal behind this is to a). provide as many opportunities for our players to practice and perfect skills, moves, and first touch with BOTH feet, and b). motivate the players to practice on their own, both replicating what we have shown them, but also improvising and creating new ways to improve their skills, and thus their comfort on the ball.  Below are some of the ways we hope to accomplish this goal:

As often as possible over the next few months we will host clinics where players can sign up for a nominal fee to work with me on a selected technical topic.

Starting very soon we will be bringing back our PL Juggling Club where our players can earn recognition and small awards for reaching different levels of juggling expertise.  The new version of our juggling club will feature levels both for number of juggles, but also distance.  In other words, static juggling and then motion juggling.  We hope to launch this program in the next few weeks.

You may have noticed some teams go through a pilot program with myself where we were using a ball on a string.  The balls we were using are called senseballs and we plan to bring these into more and more of our training and clinics moving forward.

Starting in the spring we will be offering “mini technical clinics” that will begin about 20 mins or so before team practices on select days where kids can just show up with their ball and go through some technical exercises with either myself or a member of our coaching staff.   Then, once practice time arrives, off they go with their team.  Simple concept, and hopefully they will be helpful for players to work on their skills in a very relaxed environment.

Once the summer rolls around, we plan to set up a designated area at the East Pete venue that will have football tennis nets, mini goals, and a few technical-based items for our players to come and play and practice on their own. Of course, our winter and summer training programs have always been rooted in individual player development, and hopefully this will all compliment with our team trainings to help all our players achieve marked improvement in their overall game, and especially in their technical ability.

Seamus Donnelly
Director of Coaching and Player Development
Penn Legacy Football Club

Seamus' Op Ed December 2016

The year 2016 has certainly been a tumultuous one in youth soccer. The switchover to birth year is complete, and the new PDIs (Player Development Initiatives) are in place in regards to heading and encouraging teams to build from the back. The birth year vs school year changeover was hard for everyone, especially our older teams I feel, but now is the time to look forward instead of back, and to concentrate on the positives, of which there are many.

First off, the year 2017 marks the club’s 40th birthday! Formed originally as Hempfield Soccer Club, the change was made a number of years ago to Penn Legacy. The new name was chosen with an eye to the future, of letting people know where we come from (Penn), and also as a nod to those who went before us, those who had the vision and the wherewithal to set up a youth soccer club in 1977 when the popularity of the sport was unrecognizable to what it is today. In doing so, they created the legacy that our players continue today.

Speaking of 2017, I have decided to officially designate this “The Year of Individual Technique Improvement for All Penn Legacy Players”. It might not be the catchiest of titles, but I think it is the single most important part of player development that can be improved upon. We plan on providing all sorts of new and exciting programs and opportunities for our players to participate in, both in person with our coaches, and also at home on their own. We will be bringing back our PL Juggling Club (with a twist), we will introduce a new program called The Zidane Sessions, we will be adding lots of cool new content to the PL YouTube channel, and even adding a Technical Playground to our East Pete venue this summer. More information on all these ventures (and more) will be coming in the New Year.

Speaking of YouTube, I want to say a few words about Lionel Messi. When I first came to America I often heard people speaking of Michael Jordan and of never taking for granted that we were able to watch the greatest basketball player of all time. The same can now be said of Messi. I know not everyone has access to BEIN Sports Channel, but please try to take the time to watch some footage of the little genius in action with your young footballers. He is simply sensational and inspirational on so many levels. If you get a chance, try to watch his dribbling skills from yesterday’s game against Espanyol.

Lastly, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. This club is a special one; in many ways it is an extended family, and as it turns 40 I can only promise you we will continue to expand upon opportunities to provide the best possible learning and playing environment for your children to play this wonderful sport.

-Seamus Donnelly, Director of Coaching