Q&A with Dean Blain

October 30, 2013 

Dean Blain

City of residence: Warner Robins

Occupation: Director of coaching, Central Georgia Soccer Association

QUESTION: How many youngsters and coach volunteers are involved with Central Georgia Soccer Association?

ANSWER: We hit a total around 900 kids, mostly in the fall program. We’ve got over 100 volunteer coaches plus team managers, team moms and so on. Even though the club has grown and developed, we’ve never moved away from community support and volunteers from coaches to board members to concession stand workers. There must be 200-plus volunteers, and we’re very grateful for every one.

QUESTION: Outline the seasons and programs.

ANSWER: We have 70-plus recreation teams for 3 through 18-year-olds, our academy programs for 7 through 11-year-olds with about 125 players and our select program with 14-plus traveling teams in the U-13 through 19 category.

QUESTION: And the seasons?

ANSWER: Our fall season is generally Aug. 1 through mid-November with post-season tournaments until mid-December. We have winter training programs, camps and clinics plus additional play. Feb. 1 through mid-May is spring season and in late May there are post-season tournaments then annual tryouts. July we have summer training and camps then start all over again Aug. 1.

QUESTION: Not a lot of down time.

ANSWER: No, but that’s good. It keeps us all involved.

QUESTION: If someone wants to watch soccer and check out CGSA, can they come out on a Saturday and see the action?

ANSWER: Sure. On average this fall we host between 45 and 60 games at all levels just on a Saturday. There must be a couple thousand people through for weekend games -- players, coaches, referees, parents, supporters, grandmothers, second-cousins-once-removed -- everybody comes to watch some time or another.

QUESTION: Does the club have a lot of success?

ANSWER: We’ve had quite a lot. We’ve been placed in the top state divisions and push three or four teams to the state cup where only 16 teams play. We have a lot of success at tournaments and regularly push 10 to 20 players to the Olympic Development Program. I think the biggest accolade is the number of players that go to collegiate levels. It’s a real highlight seeing players go on to play at higher levels when they leave our program.

QUESTION: How many fields are at your site on Snellgrove Drive?

ANSWER: Ten allocated fields and areas that can be divided and overlaid to accommodate whatever we need. Three quarters of our complex is lit with only one phase left to light.

QUESTION: You’re not from around here, are you?

ANSWER: No, I’m not. I was born in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (U.K.) I lived in England until 18 then came to the U.S. to play at Mercer University. Since 1995 I pretty much haven’t left Georgia. I’ve been in Macon, Atlanta and then here in Warner Robins for the past 10 years, but I haven’t quite got the Southern drawl yet. I found being a coach and working with young players is exactly what I wanted to do.

QUESTION: You feel you’re a good fit with the club here?

ANSWER: The big thing in our program is to provide every kid a chance to play and have fun in a stress-free environment and educate them in the skills and the game of soccer.

QUESTION: What are some of the new features of the club?

ANSWER: For a while we’ve been offering players and others the opportunity to see college teams play out here free on our fields. We’re really happy about the partnership we’ve developed with a professional Dutch team -- FC Utrect. They identify players in our club to go to their U.S. training camp or train in Holland. If they’re good enough, they may have a shot at professional play. Another thing, we’ve gotten state approval to host our first tournament here in 2014 which will bring in 64 or more teams for weekend play.

QUESTION: How can people find out about regular and special programs plus other CGSA info?

ANSWER: It’s all on the website; www.cgsaclub.com.

Answers may have been edited for length and clarity. Compiled by Michael W. Pannell. Contact him at mwpannell@gmail.com.

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