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Blue Fire 3v3 Soccer

The Blue Fire Story

Welcome to the story of the Blue Fire Girls!

The 3v3 format will develop your daughter faster than any other form of soccer and kids love it! I have done this before and I am going to do it again... all be it on a smaller scale. 

Why I started Coaching and Why I started Blue Fire: 
I started the Blue Fire Soccer Club as a "give" back to the community. I had the great fortune to play baseball and football for some incredible coaches that were life changers for me. Men who would get up at 4:00 A.M. to get their jobs done early so they could run a practice (for no pay) in the early afternoon. Teachers / Coaches who gave up their summers (with no pay) to open up the weight room for me and my teammates I had coaches that loved their sport and they loved us! I just wanted to give back. I never have and never will accept payment for my any of my time or services. Coach Manny, Coach Passara, and Coach Brennan were game changers for me. The believed in me and they cared about me even though I was an average athlete at best. Sometimes I think about all the seeds they planted, and I am in awe! I will never be able to repay them...

The Beginning: 
I founded The Blue Fire Soccer Club ten years ago in 2006. The design of the program was very unique. The club was focused on just one age group which was first grade or U7 at the time. 

The program had just two goals - The two F's: 

Fun and Feet! 

1) FUN - Make the "experience" so fun that we hooked the kids on soccer... for life! We wanted the kids to have a lifelong love affair with soccer, competition, and fitness!
2) Feet - A maniacal focus on their feet. We wanted our kids to have deep skills that would server them well in their future athletic careers. 

The Strategy: 

If I was going to donate my time for free, I wanted the kids... I wanted :)

Our strategy had three components: 
1) Find and attract the most athletic players at a young age before the established clubs even knew they were out there.
2) Attract and retain great coaches who aligned with the vision and a burning desire to teach young players.
3) Dominate one age group. Be really good at just one thing and that would result in the best players in the extended region migrating to the program. 

The thought was if we could execute on attracting the most athletic players and the "right" coaches the result would be age group domination which would result in even more great players and coaches wanting to join the party.  

Finding the Players: 

So how do you find and attract the most athletic players before the big clubs find them? 

You hustle! 

As I am doing now, (and how I met you),  I attended roughly eight hours of Naperville Park District and Wheatland Athletic Association recreation soccer games every Saturday for the fall and spring seasons. My guess is I invested over 140 hours watching recreation soccer the first two seasons. I would attend recreation games and look for kids that "stood out". 

Once I identified a player, I would approach her parents and explain my vision. As you can imagine, a lot of people thought I was crazy and were very apprehensive at first.  As the vision started to gain traction, we had parents calling us asking how they could get their daughters into the program :)

The Results: 
As imperfect as this approach was, the results were impressive by any measure of success. We found 30 of our eventual 44 players from attending rec soccer games. 14 other players joined us over the next several seasons from other travel clubs. We formed 4 teams that dominated the age group over the next 4 years. Our top team was by far the best team in IL and played at a high level in the boy’s league. Our second team played and won championships in the highest (A) division of the girl’s league. Our third team played in the next division down, the AB division. And our forth team played at the next division down in the B division. Our forth team played at a higher level than many of our competitor's first teams. 

Our Secret Sauce was Small Teams and Small Sided (3v3) Games: 
The secret is simple. The secret is get the kids more touches in a more productive environment.  Period! 

We built small teams so that each player by default would get a ton of playing time / touches on the ball. 

Most clubs do not want small teams because small teams cut into profit margins. Think about it this way. A club is a business (which is OK). A club wants to generate a profit after they pay their coaches and other overhead. The first X number of players cover the fixed costs of paying the coach and other overhead. The last Y number of players are pure profit. Large teams mean large gross profit margins. Unfortunately large team also means a low number touches per player on average. 

Another benefit of me not taking pay or having a profit margin is you never have to wonder if I am taking a player for the money. If I take a select a player it is because I see something in that player and I want to develop her. 

Because we believe more touches develops a player faster, we offered optional 3v3 programs in the summer. At one time we had six 3v3 teams playing over the summer. See our page Why 3v3 to learn how 3v3 develops players faster. 

Blue Fire 3v3 Teams Domination: 
The Blue Fire 3v3 teams dominated the  Midwest and at a National level. We took a team or teams to the Disney National Championships 4 straight years. 
To my knowledge, no club has ever qualified to send thee teams all in the same age group to the National Championships. Our last year at Disney, the Crazed Dogs took second in the country and the Fire Cats and Shockwave both showed well against the best teams in the country.

Rock Starz: 
In 2011 / 2012 I coached The Rock Starz (U10) 3v3 team which had (a) younger sister of one of the older Blue Fire Girls.I have never coached a nicer group of kids with a nicer group of parents on one team at one time. The team chemistry was amazing.

The Rock have the most amazing story of any team I have coached. At the 3v3 National Chanpionships, they were in an incredibly tough pool and finished the first day as the third seed out of the three teams in their pool. They went on to win their first playoff game. In their next playoff game, they lost in golden goal overtime to one of the teams from their pool The Cannons out of Fl. They then won their next two games in golden goal overtime. Then they played the Cannons AGAIN and with 20 seconds left in regulation tied the game up and played (their forth golden goal overtime game in a row). Neither team scored in the overtime period which resulted in a PK (penalty kick) shootout! The Cardiac Kids came through one more time and moved on to the finals where they lost to an incredible team from Florida by a score of 1-3. The Rock Starz finished second in the country as U10s. Four golden goal games in a row to get to the championship game! The Rock Starz demonstrated rock hard resilience and mental toughness!

The Blue Fire Girls Today:
Ten years latter, The Blue Fire Girls are Juniors and Seniors in High School. Two of the players have been invited to play with the US National Team. As of this moment, 18 of the 44 players have committed to play soccer at Division I and Division II schools with more to come in the next few months. More important than their soccer achievements, almost without exception, The Blue Fire Girls are killing it in the classroom. 

Fast Forward to NOW:
I am NOT starting another Club. We are not competing with other clubs in the area. We are the Switzerland of soccer. Our 3v3 program does NOT conflict with club soccer and it does not conflict with Naperville Park District recreations soccer. I hope your player participates in as many forms of soccer as possible. The more touches the better! 

Last Thoughts:
I am very proud of what the girls that we starting working with ten years ago have achieved.  I was asked the other day if I thought I should get a lot of credit for The Blue Fire Girls and what they have accomplished. My answer was the girls deserve the credit. They have worked their rear ends off and they deserve everything they are getting now. Secondly, the coaches that have coached them from U12 until now deserve a tremendous amount of credit. I will take credit for picking the right kids 10 years ago and I will share credit with our fantastic coaching staff for starting them off with a solid base.

I picked the right kids then and I want to do it again... one more time! 


Yours in Soccer

Coach Kevin
P.S. If a picture is worth a thousand words, video is worth a million words - Check out the Crazed Dogs and the Rock Starz Videos