Capital Futbol Club (CapitalFC) has just announced the creation of a new girls U12 travel team, the Sting, which will compete in the Old Dominion Soccer League starting in the fall. Until now, girls looking for high-level travel soccer opportunities were not able to find them locally, but the new team will advance the goal of increasing competitive sports for girls here in Capitol Hill.
CapitalFC is a non-profit, volunteer-run soccer club that puts high priority on player development. By forming a girls program, CapitalFC hopes to match the success seen with the boys program, which last year produced six players that were selected into the prestigious state Olympic Development Program (ODP). Whitney Minnis, Director of Club Development and Technical Director, is also forming partnerships in Brazil—with five CapitalFC players participating this summer in a month-long international development program with Brazilian coaches and players. Minnis states “CapitalFC’s programs are really taking off—we have quickly grown from two to 12 teams, we now have a good start on the girls’ program, and international opportunities are beginning to take root.”
The Sting team members will hone their ball control skills throughout the summer and will compete in tournaments before the formal game structure commences. The new program will also include a developmental Academy for U12 girls looking to further develop their ball control skills in preparation for travel soccer. CapitalFC hopes that the program’s example will lead to more girls participating and preparing for travel soccer at the U7 and U8 levels. This will create a pipeline for girls of all ages to pursue their interests in travel soccer.
Increasing opportunities for girls to play travel soccer will complement the successful girls' soccer program run by Sports on the Hill. As noted by the SOTH U11 Commissioner, Danilo Pelletiere, “Every year we have a larger cohort of recreational players and more successful teams. The CapitalFC travel program will give girls an opportunity to raise their game without having to leave the Hill while SOTH will continue to provide the opportunity to play recreational soccer in the Suburban Friendship League."
Coach Kab Hakim will lead The Sting team and associated Academy. He has extensive experience in coaching competitive girls’ and boys’ soccer teams, with more than 20 years as a youth coach and numerous national and regional championship teams. He brings his cultural experiences growing up in England, the Netherlands, and the United States to bear on his approach to coaching youth soccer. Kab’s core philosophy is based on individual player development within a community, focusing on exposing kids to different techniques, environments, and challenges so that they can adapt and be creative in expressing themselves on the field. Practices will set a foundation by initially concentrating on ball control, dribbling and juggling, all the while encouraging players to take risks and try new things. According to Kab, “once you nurture kids to not fear, you will see magic in them.” This includes a long process of “guided discovery,” where the girls will continuously grow and learn to adapt by making various techniques their own.
Coach Kab is excited to be back coaching youth soccer in DC and is looking forward to making this year both fun and competitive. He also is coaching a girls’ U15 team in Annandale, VA and believes the U12 girls will be able to learn from the older girls. Kab has 15 years of college-level, high-school, and professional coaching experience, and more than 100 of his players have been selected for State ODP. CapitalFC and parents of Sting players wish to express a special thanks to The National Capital Bank of Washington and Clark Construction for their generous support of the new girls team.
U7/U8 Developmental Academy
In addition, CapitalFC is beginning its summer/fall soccer training program for boys and girls seeking professional training in a fun environment. This Development Academy is a pre-travel soccer program for all skill levels which will use Dutch coaching methods -- focusing on foot skills and becoming comfortable with the ball.
The Academy provides training primarily for boys and girls who are U7 and U8, and some beginner U9 players. This is a key age to be trained on proper soccer techniques, toward being prepared for travel soccer when they reach U9. The Academy provides several sessions per week during the summer and fall at Capitol Hill locations. Coach Denis Chekuristov will lead practice sessions, with other CapitalFC coaches participating. See www.capitalfc.org for more information and registration details.