Drake played his youth soccer in the Dallas area and played for Ed Puskarich and the Texas Spurs. At the collegiate level he competed at Hendrix College in Conway Arkansas before moving on the UC-Santa Barbara. Drake eventually earned his degree from the University of North Texas in Denton.
Professionally, Tahlon spent the better part of 2004 and 2005 in Europe while playing for FCM Onesti in Romania and then RSC Anderlecht in Belgium before playing with the LA Blues in 2005-2006. He returned to the professional game in 2015 as a player/coach with the newly formed Liverpool FC America as they entered the NPSL in the Dallas area.
As a USSF National B licensed coach, Drake also became heavily involved in the Dallas area Club Soccer arena the past 13 years with coaching stints at Milan FC, Liverpool FC America (NPSL), Liverpool FC American (youth club), Texas Spurs (UPSL), Sting SC and Titans FC.
Drake is married (Joanna), has two children and will relocate to the Las Cruces area in July.
Mal Saville, UDA’s visiting “coach liaison officer” in the UK, will be attending the national signing day and recruitment event at New Mexico State, March 27th -29th.
In addition to attending this event Mal will be visiting the region and the New Mexico Campus to meet the surrounding soccer communities to outline his role at the NMSU program and give insight into his work as a professional scout.
Mal’s work, as a professional scout, has spanned over thirty years with clubs from across the football league pyramid, including, Leyton Orient, Walsall, Cambridge United and Brentford. Mal presently works for premier league team, Aston Villa FC and spends most weekends and weeknights scouting their upcoming opposition as he visits grounds such as the Etihad, Anfield and Old Trafford to name a few.
Mal Saville, professional scout at Aston Villa FC and UDA Visiting coach liaison officer in the UK will visit during UDA’s national signing day at NMSU, March 27-th to 29th
Mal, at the event will speak about what is needed, and give insight to what it takes, to make a professional player from the perspective of the clubs he has worked with. He will focus on what is referred to as the A,B, L of players and explain that the scouting of players goes way beyond the tactical and technical ability of players.
In addition to Mal’s insight into what it takes to play at the top level, he will outline how the visiting coach program will work and what type of coaches UDA students at the New Mexico program can expect to see in the program.
UDA staff Coach Reilly and Coach Haley conducted the final UDA recruitment event for 2019 at Lakewood Ranch on December 20th -22nd. Thankfully,the weather cooperated with warmer days at the Premier Sports Complex than the previous year.
Lakewood Ranch, FL 2019 at Sports Premier Campus.
The event attracted prospects from all over the country, including Georgia, The Carolinas and Florida. Similar to the previous events in Phoenix this past November, the event included informative presentations for the UDA academy programs at both the University of Chester and New Mexico State University.
Excellent Turn Out For the New Mexico State Recruitment Event. Next One at NMSU is set for Friday, February 7th to Sunday, February 9th.
Director of recruitment Coach Reilly, stated, “The events in Phoenix and Florida showed that prospects understood the types of opportunities and pathways UDA offers for their families which combines their academic and soccer aspirations. UDA will be making offers to students based on both areas of their respective needs and development.”
Presentations were made for the UDA Programs at Univ of Chester and NMSU
Reilly added, “Most of our offers for the 2020 class at the University of Chester have been made. The main focus is now on the class of 2021 for the University of Chester program. This recruitment will begin in Dallas, March 13-15th.”
Denver Recruitment Event in November. The next Denver event will take place in April.
Reilly added further, “The recruitment is ongoing for the New Mexico State University program through the spring. While we have made several offers for this program we will still continue to offer opportunities for enrollment as we move into the Spring.”
LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – In the fall of 2020 NMSU will have a self-funded men’s soccer team. It will be the first of its kind program in the United States.
University Degrees Abroad also known as the UDA is partnering with NMSU to bring a men’s soccer team to the campus.
“There’s so much talent down here that goes unserved without the program at the university,” said Will Hanson a Senior at Mayfield High School. “So this is a good step towards it, still giving the players the opportunity to study at a university level.”
UDA’s philosophy is changing lives through education. They hope to draw students to NMSU not only to play soccer but to get a degree as well. It is catching the attention of high school seniors from around the country.
“I want to do sports medicine to become an athletic trainer something so that if I don’t go anywhere in soccer, like the pros then I’d like to still be around sports and stuff like that,” said Maximillian Patton a High School Senior Las Vegas Nevada.
Recruiters from UDA were at NMSU on Saturday recruiting players for the fall of 2020 and they say it will be a year-round program.
“We're not governed by the NCAA so we can have an extended season,” said Jeff Thompson the National Director for UDA. “Really, we play from August through May so it’s all about development and giving all the players an opportunity to play.”
UDA has a program already at the University of Chester in England. UDA is working with NMSU to make it so that players from NMSU can transfer to Chester and vice versa.
UDA is recruiting locally, nationally and internationally for players. They said NMSU was the perfect choice for the first program in America do to the large soccer community, the need for a university team and the beautiful weather year-round.
For more upcoming training sessions you can visit https://www.udaus.org/.
Courtesy of KTSM.
by: Shelby Kapp
New Mexico State University and University Degrees Abroad have agreed to establish a
developmental men’s soccer program at the university and to begin recruiting local, state,
regional and international players to take part. NMSU will be home to the first UDA soccer
program in the U.S.
“I’m excited to have UDA become part of our Aggie Community,” said NMSU Vice President
for Student Success Renay Scott. “Having developmental soccer on campus will enhance Aggie Life while allowing participants be part of a supportive community where we all want to see them succeed in their goals. This is a win-win for everyone.”
For years, UDA has operated a year-round developmental soccer academy in England. Their
mission is to provide student athletes with an internationally recognized university degree, a
developmental soccer experience and opportunity for multiple pathways in their chosen career within a fully integrated university experience.
As part of the agreement, UDA will establish a European-style academy with a professional
coaching environment on the NMSU campus. All program participants will be full-time, degree-seeking students at either NMSU or Doña Ana Community College.
“When we made the decision to bring our academy concept to the U.S., we had a number of
qualifiers we felt were paramount to our success – especially as we look to offer a different
option to the current men’s collegiate soccer model in this country,” said Jeff Thompson, director of graduate recruitment for University Degrees Abroad. “Most importantly, NMSU offers student-athletes a fully integrated university experience and a full range of internationally recognized academic programs. Additionally, Las Cruces and the surrounding area provide a perfect environment for the delivery of a year-round play, access to quality competition and a lot of local, state and regional soccer talent to recruit into our program.”
NMSU will facilitate the admissions process, in conjunction with a UDA liaison, for participants in the program. All UDA recruits are subject to NMSU’s standard admissions procedures and standards. UDA will work to recruit 18-25 new participants each year, with a goal of having at least 50 participants by the third year of the program.
WRITER: Justin Bannister, 575-646-5981, firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTACT: Jeff Thompson, 575-644-5764, email@example.com
The regional recruitment events for UDA at NMSU program, will kick off beginning Nov. 3rd in Denver, Colorado. Further events will take place in Dallas, Texas, Nov. 30th, and Las Cruces, New Mexico Dec. 7th to round out the fall recruitment.
Prospects can also attend one of the national recruitment events for UDA programs at Rose Mofford, Phoenix, Az Nov. 22nd- 24th and at Lakewood Ranch, Fl. Dec. 20th 22nd.
Regional recruitment events will be scheduled for the spring at various locations in the western states to be announced later this fall.
The events are intended to give prospects an insight into the program with training sessions, small, and full sided games as well as a presentation of the full program at NMSU.
Each event begins at 9am and ends at 4.00pm. Enrollment is limited.
Why the UDA program at NMSU?
The UDA program at NMSU offers the opportunity for those students wanting to stay in the USA while continuing their soccer development during the critical years of 18-20, without sacrificing their undergraduate education.
The UDA academy will mirror the UDA program in Chester, England for player development with a year round training and playing. The pathway at NMSU will also allow students to move into the UDA Academy in Chester, stay at NMSU, or move into scholarship positions at a U.S. collegiate program.
Coach Reilly, who will oversee the soccer operations at NMSU stated, “We know some students are not quite ready at some levels, they may need an extra year of development, sometimes in the classroom and sometimes on the field. Rather than sit on a collegiate bench because with no opportunity until junior or even senior year students can work on their game while earning academic credits. They may if they so choose, move into our UDA University of Chester program, collegiate soccer or stay at NMSU until graduation."
Students interested in attending a regional recruitment event should contact Director of Recruitment, Coach Reilly at 614 421 8084
UDA is pleased to announce the launch of their US academy in Las Cruces, New Mexico starting in the fall of 2020. The development of the US based academy follows the success and demand at the UDA-UK academy in Chester England, where students can earn a degree while playing year round in a professional coaching environment.
UDA has recognized the need for students in the USA who would like to pursue similar opportunities of year round development as they pursue an academic degree within a fully integrated student experience. Students can now choose the three year degree track at the UDA-UK program in England when they graduate from high school or enter into the UDA-US academy at New Mexico State University.
The UDA-US Academy offers students at different points in their academic and/or athletic career, multiple development opportunities that fits their needs.
Students can begin and complete their four year degree program at New Mexico State University or use the first year as a “Gap Year With Purpose”™, gaining general education credits to seek other opportunities within the collegiate system. The option to transfer to the UDA-UK academy at the University of Chester in England is also available.
Jeff Thompson , Director of UDA who will oversee the Las Cruces project stated, “ What we know is there are many students that like the concept of year round playing, and that the traditional route of collegiate soccer has a different focus through its limits and regulations."
Thompson continued, “ This program is designed to offer a different opportunity for college bound student/athletes and has a different focus than collegiate soccer. A total focus on development through year round training and playing. Our season will start in March and finish in November, with a month of preseason in February. We play a schedule of 28 games per year in a balanced training and game ratio for optimal player development”
Thompson states, “In addition, we have developed a "coach in residency" program where coaches from the UK and USA will deliver coaching sessions at different times throughout the year. This will help our players develop and offer greater exposure to different coaching styles."
Students can choose to attend Dona Ana Community College or New Mexico State University as they pursue their academic career when they enter the UDA academy.
Thompson concludes, "As we see it, the ultimate goal is to provide multiple pathways for student/athletes to pursue their goals in the classroom and on the pitch. Changing lives through Education has been, and will always be our ultimate goal."