Over the years Kurt Kelley and his staff of professional coaches have established indoor teams through an evaluation process that analyzes performance, athleticism, bio-type, skill and desire. During the winter season these teams have not only experienced excellent competitive play, they have also had extensive training with the individual player in mind. In fact, many of the players from those teams continued to train with the staff of coaches even when they went back to their outdoor club teams during the spring and fall seasons. This trend reflected the high quality of training, soccer environment, non-political approach and emphasis on player development. Players who participate not only have come to expect this superior level of training, but they also recognize the commitment the professional staff has to advancing their soccer abilities
At this point Kurt Kelley started Atletico F.C. in Farmingville, NY, in 2010, by holding tryouts to field teams that would play in the JSS (Just Say Soccer) league. For the first season, Spring 2010 they would only field 2 teams at the developmental ages.
With tryouts twice a year, the club blossomed to seven teams in less than a year. Kurt continues to add new teams each year, always focusing on the U-7 level. Presently, with 18 teams, the oldest teams being the BU-13 and the GU-13. Both of these teams have a core group of players that are Atletico players from the beginning.
Earlier in his training career Kurt mostly worked with older players in their teen years at the club and ODP level and had much success with the U-13’-16’s. While they were consistently competitive and successful with State and National championships, his honest assessment of the players as a group was that they were technically deficient and challenged to mentally understand the game at a high level. Though reluctant, Kurt knew he had to change his approach and focus his efforts in the early development of a soccer player. The Atletico F.C. was, therefore, begun with the philosophy of developing players so that when they are older they would be able to have a much greater sense of the game, or if you will, a higher soccer IQ. To do this Kurt and his trainers set a course of focusing mainly on skill development and field position awareness with the U-8’s, 9’s and 10’s. In watching these youngsters in training, the emphasis of keeping the ball to the point of being selfish is evident. When Kurt was asked why he would want U-7 or 8 players to be selfish, he replied, “It is much easier to teach a player to release the ball than to teach a kid that’s not confident to hold the ball.” The idea is to give players a soccer environment that is intense, structured, and demanding. Our emphasis is on individual skill and technique without leaving out basic tactical functions and tactical awareness
The success of the club is captured in the style of play that can be seen on any given weekend at St. Joseph’s college where the U-10’s, 11’s, 12’s and 13’s play on stadium-quality fields. You will see a mixture of very skilled players that like to play possession but at the same time are being taught to look to be direct to goal and take advantage of opponent’s weaknesses. All the teams are focused on possession of the ball and try to be as creative and aggressive as possible in the last 3rd of the field. These players can be seen looking for opposing players to go 1 v 1 with or look for small combinations. What emerges is a creative style of play with a “free form” on general tactical conceptualization. Defensively, the focus is to be very strong and always look for the transition to be as quick as possible. The U-13’s realize all their efforts having worked on fundamental skill development for 5 years and are able to utilize a higher degree of tactics in their game.
I have been training with Kurt since I was about 11 years old. When I first met Kurt I had no idea that I was meeting not only an awesome trainer, but a life long mentor and friend. Almost a decade later, I still go to train with Kurt as often as I can, whenever I need a tough soccer workout and soccer advice from a genuine person. I consider him one of the best soccer coaches I’ve ever met and ever had the opportunity to train with not only because of his professional experience, unique perspective of soccer, and unwavering passion for the game, but also because of how much he cares about the players who he coaches and trains. I’ve grown so much as a player and a person throughout the years in his company. My development, skill, and confidence in soccer are in large part a reflection of his time, effort, and how much he has pushed me. Even when I found myself away from the game for a few years, he helped me find my way back to it. For this I am forever grateful and know that my friends, who have also been training with Kurt for years, and I will never get too old to call Kurt.
Kurt Kelley truly provides a welcoming atmosphere where a player can train at the top level. I started training with Kurt at age 13 and within the first couple of weeks of training, there were noticeable improvements in my game. He does a great job developing skills and brings out the best in players. Kurt technically and tactically gives a player the attention and support he/she needs to get to the next level. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Kurt. I highly recommend any serious player wanting to improve their game to work with him.
Starting around the age of 13, Kurt developed me from an undersized, technically sound role player into a prominent, tactically aware play maker. Thanks to the lessons Kurt taught me I was able to secure a scholarship to play four years of Division I college soccer at the University of Michigan. After my years of eligibility expired at UM, it was Kurt's contacts which gave me the opportunity to sign a professional contract to play in Costa Rica's Second Division. Without Kurt's guidance I doubt whether my career would have advanced any further than High School."
All players in the Athletico club can expect much individual and team evaluations by expert training personnel. Game video recordings are also used for learning purposes. Most teams in the older groups can expect training 3 times per week (U-11 and up). Weekly speed, agility and strength training is also managed by a trainer who specializes in fitness. Players are also given access to indoor open pick-up game sessions one time per week where no coaching occurs in order to mimic “street soccer” play. They are allowed to come down at any time and use any of the fields to do as they please with the soccer ball.
Atletico players also benefit from the coaching staff, led by Kurt Kelley. Their experience, knowledge and networking at the college and professional level has opened many opportunities for players to play at the highest level their ability allows them. Kurt also has direct contact with FIFA licensed agents who can offer extremely talented young players the opportunity to have their ability and talent showcased abroad.
It is no secret that many professional teams are eager to feed their youth training programs with talented players. Atletico now has the ability to refer players and showcase some of these players to different parts of the world.