FAST FACTS ABOUT Potomac Soccer Association
Approximate number of players: 600
Location: Potomac/Montgomery County, Maryland
Mission Statement: "We exist to provide our players with opportunities to develop their talents in the sport through an enjoyable, challenging, and rewarding soccer environment. Through the commitment and dedication of talented, experienced, and enthusiastic coaches, the club serves as a platform for all of its players to learn beyond the field, and to promote good sportsmanship, cooperation, and teamwork."
Laurie Lane- Director of Operations
Kathy Hauschild- Club Administrator
Jeff Rohrman- Director of Coaching, Girls
Rob Ryerson- Director of Coaching, Boys
Alan Lydiate- Director of Youth Programs
Notable Club Alumni: Freddy Adu (US National Team, Unattached), Kyle Beckerman (US National Team, Real Salt Lake), Oguchi Onyewu (US National Team, Sheffield Wednesday)
Since the inception of the Potomac Soccer Association in 1980, it has traditionally been a boys program. However, over the last several years, more and more strong girls teams have gotten involved.
“For a long time we’ve had extremely competitive boys programs and teams. Back in the late '90s we had Freddy Adu with one of our teams, and they went onto compete in national championships and a number of boys teams won state championships,” said Jeff Rohrman, the club's Director of Girls Coaching.
“There are a number of players that came through the club now sprinkled throughout MLS.”
The number of girls participating has grown in not just quantity, but in quality. Rohrman noted that the girls youth program has expanded exponentially, especially in the last two years.
"When I arrived here in 2009, we were struggling to put three [girls] teams together. Now we’re projected at close to 20 travel teams next fall,” he explained.
There are now around 230 girls involved in the travel program, with the club boasting over 600 players from as young as age five to as old as 18.
PSA draws its players from Northwest D.C. all the way up to the Gaithersburg and Germantown areas. One of the the Under-14 teams also has a few players from Northern Virginia on the roster. The areas that contribute the highest total of players to the program include Potomac, Bethesda and Rockville.
For the players within club, the club's objective is to focus on giving them a good technical base at a young age, but going about it in the right manner and at the right time. The goal is that by the time players reach the 13- to 15-year-old age range, they are well-equipped with the necessary skills of the game and can compete at the highest levels.
“We really take pride in creating a great environment where the kids are challenged, yet enjoy what they’re doing and aspire to continue to play the game and strive to get better as players,” said Rohrman.
WAGS has enabled the girls teams in the Potomac Soccer Association to compete at a strong level as well as seeing player development improve. One aspect Rohrman is very excited about is the club's participation in the WAGS PODs program.
“We’re really excited about out participation in the PODs program because I think it allows us to have a true club-centric model, where our girls will be allowed to express themselves without the fear of failure and having to feel like everything is result driven," he said.
"At these younger ages it is about the comfort level on the ball, developing a good technical base and keeping it fun for the kids, that’s something that’s created [with the WAGS PODS program], which is sometimes lost.”
The PSA is also an affiliate club of English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur. PSA has been affiliated with the London-based club since 2012, and the arrangement adds another element of development for not just the players, but coaches as well.
“It’s provided some opportunities for some of our kids to be introduced to Tottenham coaches as well as providing us with camps opportunities to give quality training, which supplements what we’re doing," said Rohrman.
"It has also really provided our coaches with opportunities to enhance their development as coaches through coaching clinics that they’ve put on here in the D.C. area.”
Founded in 1974 by Mavis Derflinger and Rael Vodicka, the Washington Area Girls Soccer League is one of the premier girls' soccer associations in the United States. Today's membership includes some 600 teams from across D.C., Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, competing in a variety of divisions ranging from Under-9 to Under-19 age levels. The WAGS Spring 2014 season kicks off on March 29 and will feature upwards of 600 teams from across the Mid-Atlantic region from the U-9 to U-18 levels.