On the job for just over a month, Reign Academy technical director Kim Calkins has hit the ground running. With the Development Academy season beginning in September, Calkins has been focused on preparing the Academy for its upcoming matches and learning all she can.
“I’ve been getting to know the culture of the Academy and focused on learning how to build off the foundation that’s already there from year one,” said Calkins. “We’re seeing how can we make it match Laura’s [Harvey] philosophy and be a world-class academy. I’ve spent the first few weeks doing a lot of listening, whether it’s coming from the Reign organization, our partner groups, players, coaches, or parents. I’m getting my feet wet and I’m excited to move forward. I’m excited about the people I get to work with.”
The Academy recently returned from the SilverLakes Summer Showcase in California. With new staff figuring out their squads, the goal for the weekend was to see as many players take the field as possible and get quality minutes for all of them. As Calkins put it “it was a time for us to get to know the players, and for the players to get to know us.”
It wasn’t just an opportunity for Calkins and company to see and learn from their players, but also a chance for college coaches and scouts to see Reign Academy prospects. Many national team scouts for all age groups were on hand to take in the showcase as well.
“There’s a time to say we’re focusing on development, building trust between the staff and players, and giving them the opportunity to play. This was definitely one of those weekends,” said Calkins. “Plenty of the teams got results, and we were excited to see them compete against some other great academy teams, and it’s exciting.”
Teams are now training four times a week, as well as working on sports nutrition and player development plans. Just as the players are prepping for the upcoming season, so are the Academy staff. Calkins and her team have spent the past few weeks finishing up their 12-month plan to submit to U.S. Soccer.
“We’ve been doing a lot of planning and discussing how this year is going to be mapped out for the players and the teams,” said Calkins. “We’re excited to implement that, with all of the players mirroring what the Reign philosophy and mirroring that with what the DA requirements are. I’m definitely excited to get working with that for the next month before we step out onto the field and start league games.”
The Academy’s first Development Academy game is set for September 2nd, when they face California Thorns FC at Creekside Park in Cupertino, California. With the inaugural DA season rapidly approaching, Calkins is excited about the opportunities ahead.
“To be in the middle of U.S. Soccer DA and partner that with the Reign’s desire to build into the youth game as well, it’s exciting,” said Calkins. “I think the timing is just right and I look forward to being a part of it.”