When your son/daughter joins Saint Louis Scott Gallagher (SLSG) the organization welcomes your family with open arms. We design our curriculum on the field to improve your child’s play and off the field to encourage them to be an individual who positively impacts our community. SLSG aims to be your first choice when it comes to soccer for your family in the region. With that being said, we took some time to catch up with the Hammond family, who has four boys who play in the club. Throughout their time in SLSG, the boys have set upon their own playing pathways and simultaneously, their parents have gotten increasingly involved in the club. We sat down to speak with Mr. and Mrs. Hammond about their experiences as parents in the club, what it has meant to their sons to play for SLSG and their advice for other SLSG parents. Here’s what they had to say.
How did you find Saint Louis Scott Gallagher and what made you want to sign your boys up?
Nancy: I played for Busch growing up, so I was familiar with the Soccer Park. After researching the local clubs, it seemed like a good fit with all levels available up to the highest caliber in the area. The park is also close to our home so logistically it seemed easiest.
Jay: We have four boys (03, 05, 07, 09) and we were looking for three things: (1) one club for all four boys so logistics might be easier when it came to leagues, training and games, etc. (2) a coherent curriculum that developed technical skills at a young age, and (3) tiered teams for every age group that would accommodate their different skill levels and development needs as they aged. SLSG provides all three!
What do you enjoy best about the club?
Nancy: That all four boys can play for the same club and is adjusted to their skill level, the high level of coaching and play, and the shield values.
Jay: The boys love to play soccer. It is an integral part of who they are. SLSG provides them the opportunity to do what they love. Boys have good friends in the club and on various teams; I have made good friends with several dads, and I enjoy watching the beautiful game. Team trips are fun.
How have your boys grown on and off the field since joining the club?
Jay: Soccer has provided all the boys with structure and discipline that has paid dividends in their study habits. When you have “less time” for schoolwork because soccer trains 3-5 times a week plus games and travel, the boys know they must be good with their time management since poor academic performance due to soccer is not an option. Likewise, with four boys, the family schedule is CRAZY, which taught the boys early that they are responsible and accountable for their own gear and schedules. Great life lessons that form habits that facilitate success.
Nancy: The shield values challenge them to be good people both on and off the field. They have learned to be team players; they’ve learned discipline and how to manage a busy schedule with soccer and school.
What programs have you participated in (Soccer School, PDT, camps, etc.)
Nancy and Jay: All four boys have participated in Soccer School (technical training), PTC (performance training center), PDT (personal development training) and futsal. All these activities are in addition to the boys regular scheduled seasons. Their development has benefited from all the activities.
What are your boy’s goals for their careers on the field? Off the field?
Nancy: Soccer-wise all our boys want to play soccer in college. Our oldest (Elite 03) – first to “graduate” SLSG this summer - will start playing at Johns Hopkins in Fall 2021. He will be a neuro-engineer. Our next is a Sophomore so is still discerning. The other two…who knows!
Jay: As Nancy says, our oldest will graduate SLSG this summer – hopefully after winning a USYS U18 National Championship with the Elite 03 team – and will go on to play at JHU next year. He was recruited to play soccer, which is what made him stand out from all the other great applicants. Without SLSG, he would probably not be going to JHU. This is why we see SLSG as an integral part of his education “on and off the field.” We know that SLSG will help provide similar opportunities for our other four boys. For this, we are deeply grateful and why we think SLSG is such a great club.
How can parents prepare themselves for the various levels of SLSG?
Jay: One phrase, “be patient and trust the process.” As your child gets older, let them take more ownership of their own development. If a parent is still in the “driver’s seat” at U12 or U13, then maybe the parent should think about stepping back and let the player step up.
Nancy: Depending on the team level they play on, the time involved can be challenging for a large family with both parents working. However, when the boys love it, it makes it all worth it.
How did you get more involved in the club?
Nancy and Jay: Jay is now the manager of the 07 Elite team and he has filmed games for several years for several different teams. Some of the boys are also supported by SLSG Living Legacy Scholarships. Living Legacy is a gem within the SLSG club.
In your opinion, what sets SLSG apart from other clubs in the area?
Nancy and Jay: First off, there is no “perfect club.” So don’t expect to find one. With that said, SLSG provides great technical development at younger ages and they play at the highest levels in SLYSA, in MYSA in USYS, ECNL, MLS Next, etc. They provide the full spectrum of soccer experience and competition. All said, SLSG is a great club, and the Hammond family is proud to be a part of it!
What advice do you have for parents and/or players?
Nancy and Jay: Again, trust the process. It is not a straight line. For us, trusting a club is on the same level as trusting a school to educate our child. However, that trust can be hard to come by because “they are my child” so sometimes parent expectations don’t match reality; and sometimes what one coach sees is not what another sees. For example, Pulisic was getting more minutes under Lampard; he is now getting less under Tuchel. Sometimes the line is not straight, even in the Premier league. This is why we have always presented things as conditionals to the boys: If you want to be on that team, play that position, start, etc., then what do you need to do and are willing to do it? This is also why we think feedback to the players (“individual development”) from coaches is so critical. They are the teachers to the learners. Building a “culture” of trust is critical in any educational enterprise. SLSG does this well, and keeps striving to do it better!