HIGH SCHOOL / COLLEGE AGE PLAYERS
The High Desert Elite Men’s Team 2 uniquely operates to elevate high school- and college-aged players into to the men’s game, enabling qualified elite youth players the opportunity to know, understand, and excel amid the men’s game at an early age. Generally, these are players age 15 to 21. The goal is to grow their level of competence and confidence with the the speed of play, the strength, the psychology, the tactics, and the craftiness of the more experienced men’s game. This way, when they enter the men’s game, there’s no culture shock; it’s just business as usual.
WHO THIS TEAM IS FOR
This team is for advanced youth and college-aged players seeking a higher level of competition and challenge than what completive youth clubs and local adult soccer leagues are accustom to. Those college-aged players need not be enrolled in college. Furthermore, players will not loose high school or college edibility playing on this team. Furthermore, for those players simply looking to fill the gap between high school or college seasons, this team is a perfect fit to maintain and even elevate your game during the off season. You will be required to be committed to the team but will not be required to compete in the conventional United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) or So Cal Premier (SCP) League fall or spring seasons.
This team generally operates in the standard spring season (March-May), summer season (June-August), and fall season (September-November). While not competing in a specific league such as the UPSL or SCP, regularly friendlies (scrimmages) are scheduled throughout the month versus UPSL Premier, UPSL Division 1, Junior Colleges, and Universities, meanwhile earning valuable experience and highlight video footage. Plans are to compete in the Cal South Adult State Cup, U.S. Open Cup, and tournaments.
TRAINING SCHEDULE & LOCATION
Training sessions generally take place two to three times a week in Hesperia, Victorville, or Adelanto. Right now, our primary training days are Tuesday or Thursday evenings. Players registered for tryouts will be contacted and provided details.
- HEAD COACH: Orlando Ruiz – 760-217-3886
- ASSISTANT COACH: Andrew Ruiz – 760-662-3152
- GOALKEEPER COACH: Mark Coombs – 404-808-5261
- GUEST COACHES: Guest coaches from colleges and universities will join train and evaluate the team on occasion.
PLAYER CASE STUDIES
17 YEAR OLD HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR PLAYER
Heading into spring 2021, the High Desert Elite Team 2 squad competed against United Premier Soccer League Premier and Division 1 teams as well as regional colleges and universities. We won nearly every game against some tough men’s teams with players that ranged from 15 to 20 years old. Most of them were just 16. But they played phenomenally well, recording epic video for their college video highlights and even helping to land college scholarship opportunities as well as secure roles on professional academies outside the United States.
SPEED OF PLAY: Competence Among College Players
During this time, these young men learned to become comfortable at a fast-paced men’s game, where speed and strength were above and beyond them. Therefore, our players had to become smarter, develop their game intelligence, playing against college players, semi-professional soccer players, and even former professional soccer players. For the HD Elite Team 2 Players, entering into the college game will not be a culture shock but be nothing more than an another day on the field, competing at the high level players.
MAKING A STATEMENT: The Confidence of Experience
As an example, one of our high school seniors was invited to tryout at a university. He wasn’t even a college freshmen yet, but he made an immediate impact during his tryouts. As a natural center back, on the HD Elite squad, he was challenged to play multiple positions, enabling him to expand his experience and versatility. This was perfect. Because when he stepped onto the field, speaking with the university coach, he was asked to play as a right wing. Immediately, his confidence was on full display, showcasing his strong defensive qualities and his newfound attacking fullback qualities. Within minutes, he was fierce into the attack, dribbling up the flank. A few passes later, he was in position and took a phenomenal shot on goal, beating the goalkeeper and wowing the coaching staff.
15 YEAR OLD HIGH SCHOOL SOPHMORE PLAYERS
These players were playing in a very talented youth club team that competed in the Coast Soccer League in the Gold and Premier brackets. They were strong players. In training, they were welcomed onto the squad as brothers, nurtured, and looked after by the older players. Because of the gap in experience, the younger players required some time to acclimate, believing it was just as much their field as the player next to them. The game is a great equalizer. But with time, coaching, and mentoring, these players were allowed to excel in the development of their game, their competence, and their confidence.
Within three weeks, one player, standing 5-foot-6-inches and weighing 105 pounds, was prepared to make his debut in a game. After regular conversations with the player and his parents and careful evaluations by the coaches, he made his debut 15 minutes into the game, competing against a top level UPSL Premier Division team. The opponent’s squad was comprised of active college NCAA Division 1 players, NCAA Division 2 players, NAIA players, and former professional soccer players.
SOCCER: “It’s In Your DNA, Your Character”
Before being subbed onto the field, the coach called him up: “Relax. Enjoy yourself. Play your game. You’ll do well. You’ll work hard. And you’ll be great. We know this. It is in your DNA, your character. Within five or 10 minutes, you’ll be on fire. Just remember what we are working on today. And enjoy your game. Are you ready?”
The first five minutes, the High Desert Elite Youth Player was indeed nervous. But it was against the right team and the right time for him to enter the field. Along side him, the right players were there to encourage him, guide him, mentor him to acquire his gift with no pressure. After five minutes in, he gave a nutmeg to a former professional player, executed a quick give-and-go, and executed a beautiful shot on goal, the top right corner. If not for facing a very talented goalkeeper, it would have been his first goal at that level, earned only 10 minutes into his game.
Freedom From Pressure To Make Sound Decisions
Within a few months, he was among three players to move onward to international academies with first division professional teams. This particular player approached us, struggling with the decision to leave the team for a great opportunity abroad. “Coach, what should I do? It’s a good opportunity, something I have been working for. But I don’t want to leave what we have here,” he said. With a tight hug, his coach replied, “God willing, we will always be here for you and players like you, to love and support you. You know we are just a phone call or text away for anything, advice, a connection, . But this opportunity, which we have all worked to prepare you for, will not last for ever. This decision remains your choice, as you are a young man, charting your path, for your future, your future family’s destiny, and the generations to come of it. We are merely a series of steps in the pathway to elevate your game. Have we done that?,” said the coach. “Yes,” he replied. Now, look into your future, you have a son who is your age or maybe a little younger. He’s asking you about this very moment in your life. What do you want to say to him? What would you want him to do? That’s what you do. We’re always here for you. You’re always welcome back. It’s tough to say goodbye. But it will be even greater saying hello to one another again, when you return.”