As parents, we all want to provide our children with the most enriching experiences that will help them find their passions, reach their full potentials and ultimately achieve happiness and success in life. There are many fine worthwhile opportunities for parents and their children to choose from spanning religion, education, the arts, family life, scouting and an array of youth sports programs, to mention just a few. It can be bewildering and challenging to make choices!
Being the youngest in my family, I had the advantage of watching my two older brothers and their wives juggle a number of activities that shaped the lives of their nine collective children. When their kids got involved with travel sports, I wondered if all the time, cost and travel was really worth it. Despite these personal reservations, our son Ned started playing for the now VBR Star at age 9 and was with the program for ten years.
Fast forward 20 years. Ned is now 29 and is about to complete a master’s degree in data science and analytics at NC State University. Prior to returning to graduate school, Ned spent 6 years in the financial services industry and in his last role was promoted at age 28 to vice president in charge of systems and analytic support for underwriting a multi-billion consumer credit portfolio. I share this not just as a proud parent, but to make this point: much of Ned’s early success can be directly attributed to the life lessons he learned through the VBR Star’s development system, where he learned teamwork, accountability, self-discipline, a strong work ethic, sportsmanship, good nutrition habits, time management skills, embracing diversity and perhaps most importantly, overcoming adversity.
The coaches and staff at VBR Star take an interest in developing the whole person, not just athletic and soccer skills. The CCL, of which VBR Star is a founding member, provides the best youth league competition available in our region and is a top youth soccer league recognized nationally. Licensed, professional VBR Star coaches know how to develop technical skills, positional skills, and most importantly, positive character traits. They are both coaches and mentors who develop lifelong friendships with many players. League and tournament travel, both in the U.S. and Europe, broaden the horizons of our youth players and instill confidence in them to know that they can compete with anyone, anywhere in the world. This is so important at a time when global competition will be a given no matter what career path your children may pursue.
Ned’s story is not unique. Of the members of his U-18 Star team, all are achieving in life, in part because of the same life lessons learned from playing VBR Star soccer. Thirteen played collegiate soccer at some of finest academic schools in the state and country, including the U.S. Naval Academy, Virginia Tech, VMI, Haverford, Washington & Lee, Wesleyan, West Point, Sewanee, and Roanoke College.
Any parent whose child is interested in soccer can feel assured that what their child learns on the field with VBR Star will transcend into skills that will serve them for a lifetime. Perhaps your child will become professional athletes, like our two alumni recently drafted in the first round of the MLS draft. Most though will probably be like Ned and his teammates, who have taken the life skills learned through VBR Star and found success in a wide variety of fields. VBR Star provides an enriching experience and all of the time, travel and costs certainly proved to be a great investment in providing our son with one of the best youth development opportunities available in our region.
There are several options for travel soccer in the Roanoke area, but what makes VBR Star different? Consistent, organized coaching and playing in the CCL, a tiered competitive league. We all like to win and especially like to see our children win. But what happens when your child’s U12 soccer team beats every team in their league? While it might feel great to be league champions at 11 years old, does this really help your child improve? If your child’s team is not being challenged by better teams, quite simply, they plateau.
It may not feel good to lose or tie some games during the season, especially in our current “trophy” culture, but it feels amazing to watch your child go from struggling against really impressive and skilled youth soccer teams at 11 to hanging with them at 14 to winning at 16 at that high level of play. This happens through hard work, consistent training and developing grit, all things that will benefit our children in every aspect of life.
Whether your child’s goal is to make the high school team, play in college or beyond, all while developing lasting friendships and lifelong habits of responsibility and teamwork, VBR Star is your club.
We made the decision to move to VBR Star from another local club because of player development. VBR Star has consistent, high quality training. The training plans are consistent between the Elite and Championship level, so regardless of the level your player is at, they will receive the same high-quality training. There is the ability to move between the 2 levels of play very easily, and the consistent training plans make the transition seamless. Every VBR Star team plays with the same philosophy. In the 2 years we have been with VBR Star we have seen our son become a more confident, better skilled player. He has enjoyed playing on beautifully maintained lit fields. Because we are never “chasing the sun”, training times and locations are consistent, which makes planning our families schedule much easier. VBR Star values diversity. My son’s teammates are from around the world. He is learning about different cultures as he spends time with his team at practices, games and tournaments. While we came over because of the player development, I am finding my son is becoming a more well rounded person because of his team.
Dear Potential VBR player,
In the current environment, VBR Star has been crucial in the area of recruiting. Recruiting with Covid has been difficult. Colleges are not hosting camps. Campus visits are limited. A player must take advantage of every opportunity to be seen.
Our daughter has played in the BRSL, Skyline, the ECNL and the CCL. Every area club has good coaching... good leadership... opportunity to get better... BUT no other area club has the CCL. The undisputed best league in Virginia gives players exposure. Exposure against the best competition. College coaches want to see good players play against good players. The CCL provides those opportunities through league play, tournaments, and showcases. No other area league can match those opportunities for players to get recruited.
I joined VBR Star to help me play with and against talented players. The coaches genuinely want what is best for the team and each player. Attending top tournaments allowed me to get exposure and help in my recruitment.
My son and I are confident we made the best decision with choosing VBR Star to fit our Club needs. I appreciate the organization and the transparent communication from the director on opportunities and VBR news in general. My son has had opportunities for playing in high level tournaments and games that he had not previously experienced. The CCL play has greatly improved his discipline and game play.
VBR Star offers the highest level of league competition in the Southwest Virginia area. The club we switched from had good coaching, facilities and players. However the team we were part of consistently won the league, but the level of competition was lacking sometimes to the tune of double-digit victories. While this sounds good it created problems when better competition was faced at tournaments. The players while physically competitive, struggled to execute vs teams with a higher speed of play.
What we learned after joining VBR.
1. The coaching staff has the flexibility to allow your child to occasionally practice with a different age group for scheduling conflicts.
2. The club plans for and accommodates athletes that play multiple sports and participate in organizations such as Virginia ODP.
3. VBR offers training and play on top notch lighted grass fields that are conveniently located in Roanoke, VA.
4. VBR staff is very knowledgeable and supportive of players that want to play at the college level and beyond.
After a year with the club, we can report that between the coaching staff and competition level our player can now execute faster and with more confidence. We are eager to see what the future brings.
My son and daughter have participated in separate soccer programs at varying competitive levels in 4 different states. No matter the age group or level of play, VBR offers the highest level of coaching and opportunities to play, of any club league we have been involved with. I am extremely grateful that we found a club that can develop and train for a sport that our family loves and will support them at whatever level they desire to play at. I would encourage any family interested in organized club soccer to seriously consider VBR. I sincerely respect and appreciate their efforts over the years to be able to offer their expertise to families and the players while staying competitive.