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UDA at NMSU Monthly Updates
The staff and players would like to thank everyone for their support during the UDA@NMSU Pink Shirt Fundraiser!
We received over 200 donations from family and friends as well as close to 100 of those donations coming from the Las Cruces community. Hopefully ALL of those that donated will be regulars at our fixtures once they start in the Spring.
UDA will be donating over $1,000 to the MMC Cancer Care Center in Las Cruces.
We would like to thank the following for their support in making this a success:Julian Alexander - Writer - Director - Filmmaker
Julian literally put together a crew and filmed our commercial for our fundraiser in about two hours and then shot footage in a couple more with our team. Julian is a former NMSU Aggie as well as a UDA Alum. UDA helped Julian onto his Master’s program at Leeds Beckett University where he earned his MFA in Filmmaking. He currently resides in London where he is working on his PhD and continues to teach at NMSU.
Watch the Video here:
Brian Weidauer - Ice Box Brewing Company
Brian is another NMSU Alum and General Manager of Ice Box Brewing Company, a locally owned and operated brewery in Las Cruces. Ice Box was gracious enough to allow UDA to promote our Pink Shirt Fundraiser and our Academy at all three of their locations and outfitted their front of house staff in Pink Shirts! We estimate that we had over 100 donations from Ice Box patrons and look forward to all of them supporting our program as we ramp up in the Spring.
CW Ward - House of Grafix
CW is also an NMSU Alum and Owner of local print shop, House of Grafix. He managed to provide UDA with all of our Pink Shirts as well as worked around the numerous orders we continue to push his way over the course of the last couple of weeks.
"Highs" from the Past Month
As a staff, we are extremely proud of how our boys have adapted to a “less than perfect” semester both in the classroom and on the pitch.
I am equally impressed with the job Tahlon and Alexis have done to continue to get the most out of each training session, adapt to ever-changing mandates and continue to monitor the academic progress of all of our student athletes.
One of the many positives that we have experienced over the past month, aside from the beautiful weather here in Las Cruces, is the continued evolution of our players from a Strength and Conditioning perspective. Siddeeq Shabazz (NMSU Alum) has brought a level of professionalism that most programs can only hope for.
With the addition of access into the weight room at the Activities Center (limited to five players at a time now), Siddeeq continues to push our players to get better physically and emotionally as it relates to S&C.
With that being said, we would like to thank Dan Montoya and Nor Benzoni from the Activities Center for providing UDA with access to the weight room and LIGHTS on the outdoor field for the “early morning” S&C sessions! Great support from the NMSU community for the UDA program.
Plans for the UDA Soccer Field are almost finalized and construction should start by the end of this year. With that target, the pitch will be ready for the Fall semester 2021. We are very grateful to NMSU, Dr. Renay Scott and everyone that has pitched in to make this happen. THANK YOU!
UDA entered into a partnership with FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Center to provide our UDA players Athletic Training, Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy care throughout their time in the UDA@NMSU Soccer Academy. Special thanks to FYZICAL’s David Gallegos (NMSU Alum) for providing an extra level of care to UDA players!
"Lows" from the Past Month
From the standpoint of our games program, the current situation in New Mexico, the surrounding area and on-campus at NMSU has limited us from an “outside” competition standpoint. Travel restrictions, mandatory quarantine and size limits on groups have provided us with a number of roadblocks to navigate.
Over the past 10 weeks, the coaching staff has adapted to what the Governor’s Mandates require and have provided as much “competition,” along with continued training sessions, as possible whilst working within the rules and regulations set forth by the state and the university.
While we have had some opportunities to play outside competition over the past couple of months, as a staff we have made the hard decision to “error on the side of caution” as it relates to potentially exposing our players to COVID-19. As part of the larger NMSU community, it is our responsibility to act in as safe a manner as possible as to not expose others as we continue to have the opportunities to operate and train in as normal a way as possible.
We do believe that the UPSL fixtures will run as planned in the Spring and hope that the NIRSA University league will reschedule their Fall season for the Spring as well.
With that being said, we will continue to provide close to 20 hours per week in various training opportunities and be ready to step on the pitch for a match should that opportunity present itself prior to the end of the semester.
With the holidays approaching, the staff is working to outline how the next six weeks will operate given state and university mandates on travel, quarantine, group activities and our student-athletes plans for Holiday travel.
As you know, the COVID-19 situation is ever evolving and we will update everyone as we confirm our schedule for November/December.
Order your long sleeved pink shirt in time for pink week!
Pre-Order Closes on October 5.
COST: $30 + $2.50 s/H
30% of proceeds will be donated to Cancer Support Groups in the Las Cruces area.
The first month of the UDA at NMSU Men's Soccer Academy is officially in the books!
Coach Tahlon Drake welcomed UDA players out on the pitch and began a journey of what we hope becomes a "model" program for men's collegiate soccer around the USA.
Whilst August 17th was our first "official" day of training with our full squad, players have been training as early as the first week of August when they arrived into the program from around the country. The players capped off the month with a Maroon & White scrimmage on Thursday as El Paso Locomotive (USL) Coach, Bob Bigney, reviewed the session.
El Paso (USL) Locomotive Coach
The Locomotive's are one of the many partnership opportunities available within the UDA Academies, as they continue to gain a foothold in the US Collegiate Soccer market both here and in the United Kingdom.
Coach Bigney was impressed with both the number of players UDA brought into the program and with their overall level of play. Bigney stated, "there are a number of players the Locomotive would possibly be interested in inviting down" for training opportunities with their squad in the near future.
Classes officially kicked off on August 19th with a mix of in-person and online delivery. So far, NMSU has done a wonderful job with keeping the University and its students as safe as possible during these unusual times.
The UDA at NMSU office on the NMSU campus is again open on a limited basis. UDA Liaison Officer, Alexis Mendoza has been working with all of the incoming student-athletes to ensure a smooth transition into University life.
Coach Drake has set the boys up on an "early morning" training schedule during the week that includes sessions for our three GK's with Coach Kris Vaudrey. The training schedule includes two mornings (Monday and Wednesday at 6:30a) as well as Strength and Conditioning twice weekly (Tuesday and Thursday at 6:00a) with Coach Siddeeq Shabazz.
Shabazz is a former NFL player from the Las Cruces area that competed at NMSU. Coach Shabazz is currently finishing up his PhD at NMSU in sports science and has enjoyed working with a different type of "football" player. His early focus has been on speed and agility as well as "correct form" as it relates to increasing a player's running technique.
Coach Drake has proven to be a valuable asset to the UDA at NMSU program in his short time as Head Coach and Director of Soccer. His knowledge of working with young men, both on and off the field, has been a shining light for the program. He continues to work to evaluate players and is getting to know each student-athlete on a personal level to ensure their success both on and off the field.
For now, the UDA at NMSU squad will have to work through the confines of COVID restrictions and continue to train and play mostly amongst themselves. New Mexico health guidelines continue to restrict "out-of-state" travel as well as "large gatherings" which is the category a soccer match would be deemed. Hopefully, if all goes well after the Labor day weekend, those restrictions will be eased and we can compete against outside competition. As UDA is a year round academy, each player will play a minimum of 25 games. UDA is expected to start its UPLS season in March with selected games scheduled prior to that date once COVID restrictions are lifted for competitive games.
Assistant Coach for UDA at NMSU, Alexis Mendoza, was recently asked about the upcoming start of the program.
Mendoza said, “recruitment has gone really well, students are coming from all over the country, from Florida on the East Coast to Colorado in the West. There is not one specific state that is better represented than others, although we have a good number of students from Texas.”
Mendoza spoke about the development model that he and Head Coach Tahlon Drake will implement, “our goal is the total development of students on and off the field. While we want to win, the first goal is the development and experience the players will have that come into the academy. We can guarantee that all players will play across our game schedule and not just sit on a bench as they might at collegiate programs. Players are not coming into a program to merely train and not get significant playing time until their senior year. Our ultimate goal is to develop players to reach their potential and take them to a level up to and beyond the UPSL.”
Mendoza added, “I played in the traditional collegiate system and while I was lucky enough to play early and often in my college career it was a very limited experience. This program will change the way development can occur for the American player at the collegiate level. We need to understand that players everywhere in the world play year round - we will do that at NMSU."
Mendoza indicated that he is excited about the facilities, “NMSU is a division one athletic school and our students will have access to excellent facilities, including a pool, recreational areas, as well as what is being built, an outstanding soccer facility.”
Mendoza concluded, “we are committed to the total development of the students we work with- not just on the field, but we want to create a family here at UDA as we help students develop into better people. Both Coach Drake and myself are very excited to get started next month."
Why The UDA Dream Maker Program?
Part of UDA’s vision is to provide a pathway to a successful and productive career that enhances the lives of people. We believe the Dream Maker Program is one way to reach this vision.
Just as we know that talent in sports is crucial for success; “people” talent in companies is critical for their success. Companies win with the right people on board and employees win when they have a career that fits their skills and talents.
The two synergies work together to create a productive and fulfilling life for the company and the employee.
What Is The Dream Maker Program And How Does It Work?
The Dream Maker Program puts people at its core. Its foundation is the cultivation of purposeful relationships that last a lifetime, within the UDA family, across our students, families, alumni, and selected companies.
We connect students early in their university experience to prospective employers seeking talented people through the development of a professional portfolio.
Students will begin to build a portfolio at the start of their enrollment into the UDA family. UDA will provide guidance on how to craft an effective portfolio as students develop, search, connect, and build a relationship with prospective employers prior to graduation.
UDA will reach out to companies who are selected to be part of the Dream Maker Program and match the degree qualifications, skills, and knowledge of our students. Companies are selected for their values, mission, and the culture of their organization. There are no costs to students or prospective companies.
The Dream Maker program will create a lifetime of connections through the UDA alumni network and partner companies.
Application to the Dream Maker Program will be open prior to the start of the academic year for UDA students and prospective companies.
Tahlon Drake, UDA@NMSU Director of Soccer and Alexis Mendoza, UDA@NMSU Assistant Coach have been busy putting together the inaugural roster for the 2020/21 UDA@NMSU Men’s Soccer Academy.
The opportunity to study, train and play in a year-round football academy has led to nearly 20 students/athletes from around the U.S. to commit to the UDA@NMSU Academy. With a mix of incoming Freshmen and Transfer students, UDA@NMSU looks to boast a strong first-year group both in the classroom and on the pitch.
The following is the most recent roster for the 2020/21 season set to begin August 15th when student/athletes arrive in Las Cruces:
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.”