At 9ine Point Magazine the goal is to shed a different light on the athletic community. To share the stories of the athletes that go unheard but should be noticed. Not every athlete has to be in the pros to help inspire the next generation of athletes. Take a look as we talk to CEO and Technical Director of Footy Factory soccer academy in Dallas, TX Sean Afkhaminia.
At some point in our athletic career, every serious athlete has had the dream of going pro. And if we are realistic we know that majority of us to do not make it to that next level. However, there is a similarity between those athletes and the ones that do make it like Landon Donovan or David Beckham do go on to achieve. That similarity is inspiring the next generation of athletes and teaching them the things they wish they knew during their playing days. Athletes like Sean Afkhaminia have created opportunities that give the next generation of soccer athletes some of the best training to help them achieve their athletic dreams.
Sean Afkhaminia, CEO & Technical Director of Footy Factory, is helping build a new culture of soccer in Dallas, Texas that is better than how it was for him growing up. That’s what it’s all about leaving wherever you may be better than you found it.
The Start Of A Dream
Sean grew up in the Dallas area playing all sports, but he knew soccer was his passion. Around 8th grade, he decided to cut out all others sports and focus solely on soccer. As a youth player, Sean played in Classic I & II for a club team in Plano, TX Andromeda FC. He also earned 1st Team All-State and Offensive Player of the Year in 2009 as a senior at Dallas Lutheran School. His natural ability and creativity for the game led to the opportunity to continue his playing career at West Texas A&M, a Division II University in Canyon, TX.
During his time as a student-athlete at West Texas A&M, Sean noticed a difference between his game and some of his teammates. His team had many European players that had a better grasp of the game from a technical knowledge standpoint and overall training than Sean, and his other American teammates did.
That could be partially due to the culture here in the United States around soccer. Even though he was skilled enough to play in college Sean said he felt that “[he] didn’t receive the proper training when [he] was younger. I didn’t have anyone in my corner fighting for me, training me, or mentoring me.”
These thoughts and a senior business management capstone course help led to the idea of a soccer academy we know today as Footy Factory.
Purpose Of Footy Factory Soccer Academy
Now in its 5th year of operation. Sean and Footy Factory are in full go developing soccer athletes on the rise in Dallas. When asked about the purpose of Footy Factory he said,
“Essentially, I want to create everything I never had as a player and pass it on! I want to teach my players how to play the game the right way. I want them to develop a deep understanding of the game so that they are able to think for themselves, make decisions for themselves, and adapt to situations in the game.And of course, they must be fully developed technically when I’m done with them, so they are prepared to play at the highest level.”
Sean and his staff are those people in each athlete’s corner fighting for them, guiding and mentoring them to achieve the best version of themselves.
That is what makes an academy like Footy Factory unique because they are lead by athletes that are mission-driven. The athletes that are willing to take a risk by starting a business from the ground up, so other athletes can chase out their dreams.
Not Like The Other Academies
With so many different soccer clubs in the Dallas area alone, it is easy to think Footy Factory is just another one on the list. When asked about what makes Footy Factory different Sean said,
“We have camps and training that runs year round. Our academy teams are formed based on players who are coming through our training program, and we develop each player individually before they get to that level. We cap it off to where we only have one academy team in each age group to create competition within the club. If kids come and try out for our team and they aren’t ready yet, we’re not going to turn them away. We’re going to first send them to our training programs to work with them and get them to the level they need to be at, however long it takes.”
That is what I respected about his academy is the willingness not to turn athletes away because they have not developed their skills yet. Some of the best athletes regardless of their sport that do go on to play at the highest level had a coach or a mentor that invested their time to help them grow and learn the game. After watching some of the insight of how Footy Factory operates from their YouTube documentary series FootyTV, Sean brings his passion for soccer in helping his athletes develop their game seriously.
Sean expresses this for all of the parents “we have a lot of fun, but we also put in a lot of work. We’re going to push your kids to the limit. We want to help them understand that if they want to be successful, they have to put in work every single day. It has to be a daily routine. We stress accountability and responsibility. It helps them develop personally as well and not just as a player.” If you’re a parent of an athlete with aspirations of going the next level what more could want from a coach and academy?
The Future Of Footy Factory
Looking into the future Sean has big plans for the direction Footy Factory is heading. In the next year, they are going to develop their current academy teams to a level that is able to compete with the top teams in all respective age groups in the area. Sean is confident in that because of their development philosophy.
“We’re going to close that gap on the teams that have been playing at the top level together for 5 or 6 years. They are continuously rotating their teams to get the best players in. There’s no real development happening there; it’s just getting new better players in to keep the team at a high level. What we’re doing is taking players from the bottom and bringing them up to the top. So we’re focusing on quality over quantity. We want to develop our teams to their maximum potential.”
With achieving that potential leads to higher goals to tackle. In five years, Sean’s goal is to have one team in each age group, have a permanent training facility that they call home and to have their men’s team playing at a professional level.“Right now we’re playing at the highest amateur level in North Texas, but we want FF Premiere to be the pinnacle of our academy, and all the other teams that we have are feeding into that.”
Footy Factory and Sean Afkhaminia are on the rising doing great things in the Dallas metroplex that the sports and soccer community should be aware of.
Want to learn more about Footy Factory and their camps head over to www.footyfactory.us to them out.
Want to share your stories or something you learned during your journey? Let’s make that happen! Or email firstname.lastname@example.org