Last Monday Jonathan “”Jonny”” Filipe received a text from his father while eating lunch at school. He had been invited to join the US National Under 15 soccer team at training camp in Carson, California, next month . “I leapt out of my seat and everyone stared at me — then I could not stop smiling all day.”
Jonny, who attends Danbury High School, played travel soccer in Bethel until he was 11 and then soccer with CFC for a year. Then his father brought him to Beachside SC. After two years he graduated to BSC Academy – Beachside’s elite program for boys u14 and older. BSC Academy teams play in a special league organized by the United States Soccer Federation. This “”Development Academy”” league includes around 80 youth clubs in the U.S. selected for quality of their coaching and development environment.
“My father has been one of my greatest supporters.” Jonny says, “He was a good player himself in Portugal where he was offered a contract with Sporting (a top pro club). He played with me all the time when I was little and I became a very good dribbler. My dream was to be as good as him one day, or even better. I love playing. I get into pick up games with my Dad’s friends – several of whom are former professionals. I enjoy playing with them because it helps me be smarter with the ball. They find ways to outsmart me so I have to think about different ways to beat them.”
Jonny’s favorite professional team is SL Benfica. His favorite player is Barcelona’s Messi “because he is always one of the smartest players on the pitch because of his decisions in the game, not only because of his dribbling style.”
“At Beachside every team emphasizes a possession style of play. When I arrived I had to learn more about team play: bringing others into the game and setting up combinations, and then going at an opponent 1v1 — that’s when it really pays off.”
Two seasons ago he was selected for the Talent Identification Program (“TIP”) run by the Eastern Development Program, the league Beachside Premier teams play, where he played with several boys who were also being tracked by US Soccer for possible call up to National Training Camps. This program culminated in the TIP team playing in the prestigious Dallas Cup, where he was TIP’s top scorer.
TIP opened my horizons and resulted in making the US National Program becoming my number one goal” says Jonny “I also learnt to conduct myself with composure and responsibility, and to use my off-field time to prepare myself better.”
“Development Academy Soccer came long at just the right time for me”” he says. “”I am playing with some great players (Including JP Fernandez, also called up to National Camp this year) under Pete Doneit who is a fantastic coach. More than ever now, I know I cannot do everything by myself. It’s a group effort: I need to combine with my teammates. I love this team because they know how to move the ball well: it is helping me develop because I am learning how to release the ball. They always give me confidence and pick me up if things don’t go as well as I might like. ”
“Mickey Kydes has also helped me a lot: he taught me that combining with my teammates helps me in games because it get players away from me and opens up space. Just as important, he has exposed me to a lot of new ideas and coaches. He has given me the confidence and desire to push myself to a higher level. ”
“We are very proud of Johnny”, says Kydes, Beachside’s Academy Director.” His teammate, JP Fernandez, was called up to the U14 National Camp. We are thrilled to have two players picked from our club within a season – they are both great players and fine young men, and they deserve this opportunity.”