What parents can expect from their first soccer experience

Click the picture above to read the story by US Youth Soccer

U18 Boys Headed to State Cup!

Early February 2015

The U-18 Boys raced to the top 3 in the Florida State Premier League after beating Auburndale 2-1 in a fiercely contested match last weekend at the campus of Saint Leo University! Emilo Yacaza notched both goals in both halves. This has also taken the Boys to 13th in the State!! This is the highest they have been ranked since the team formed some years ago. All eyes are now on State cup and a strong finish in the FSPL.

Congratulations to the boys!!

Growing Champions For LIfe
An FYSA Program Worth Following!

An Alumni Comes Home!

I am a proud alumni of the St. Pete Raiders youth soccer program, having joined as a boy in the 70s and playing for almost 10 years. Having recently returned to settle in St. Pete, I am very happy to have my 5 year old son now enrolled as well. He loves it!

While there were several programs to choose from, some closer to my house, I chose to enroll him in the St. Pete Raiders program based on my experience.  With the skills, tactics, and teamwork I developed, I went on to play on my high school team and earned the MVP award as a senior. More importantly, I developed a lifelong love for the game which has been an enriching part of my life. This has included everything from playing at a French university while studying abroad when nobody thought 'the American' could play, to still being able to join in on pick up games with colleagues when on international business trips, and now enjoying watching the rise of soccer in the USA.    

Thank you St. Pete Raiders,


Rec Academy Training

St. Pete Raiders Rec Academy
Pro Training for Rec Players

Welcome to the St. Pete Raiders and thank you for your interest in our program. The aim of the Rec Academy is to provide recreational players the opportunity of working with our professional staff coaches to improve and develop their soccer skills in a low-pressure environment, with an emphasis on individual player development and fun.
All players in the Rec Academy will have the opportunity to participate in two 4-week blocks.

For our U7 thru U12 players, each session will focus on a combination of technical development and small-sided games.  After your child experiences the St. Pete Raiders Rec Academy training program, they will be a better player; technically more sound, tactically more aware, and better prepared to take on all future soccer endeavors.
Upon completion of the final 4-week block, players that stand out and show their desire to take their soccer skills to the next level will be invited to participate in the St. Pete Raiders School of Excellence. Those accepting the invitation will continue their training in a small group environment, where they will experience an academy-type training atmosphere.  Training by our professionally licensed coaching staff allows for growth as a player and a person throughout their soccer experience, and better prepares the player for success both on the field and off.
Our program will be led by the Coordinator for the School of Excellence, Kevin Dublin, who comes to us with a history and passion of working with young players promoting the leadership skills, sportsmanship, and general love for the “beautiful game.”
Each session will be an hour long and will consist of a player to coach ratio of approximately 10:1.


U8 Pre Academy Program
For those Age 7 on August 1, 2015

The Purpose of the U8 Pre Academy is to teach the game of soccer the way it should be in these “Golden Years” of learning and in turn helping players to develop good habits on the field of play that will be with them throughout their soccer lives.

This training needs to be both fun, yet informative and help foster the love of the game which in turn will keep them playing and developing as both people and soccer players.

The game is divided into two areas - technical and tactical. Between the ages of 6-11 we tend to focus just on the technical side of the game, with a small slant on tactics as the players start to become proficient in this area. Tactics will then follow as they garner a better understanding of the game and the way it works.

There are no standings within this age bracket and no emphasis on winning thus removing untold pressure from the players and allowing them to express themselves and learn from their mistakes.

At this age professional training with qualified coaches plays a big part in their development along with training with like minded players will increase their chances of success as they mature. 

The expectation is that they will attend the two mandated 1 hour sessions per week and play every other weekend so burnout does not enter into the equation. The season would normally span roughly 4 months starting in November-February with a break in December for the Holiday season.

This program is vital for those that want to be a part of the U9 - U10 Academy which is the gateway for Club soccer at age 11.

The cost for this program is only $295.00, this will include a uniform, insurance, training and games. This fee can be paid in two installments to help defray initial outlay, but will incur a 10% handling charge.

For further information please speak with Kevin Dublin (Head Trainer).

Office: 727-400-2424
Email: kevindbln@gmail.com

Comparing Competitive Soccer to Recreational Soccer

Ever wonder what the difference is between Competitive and Recreational soccer? This article tells you the basic differences between the two.

U18 Boys Team Late August Update

The U18 Boys played their first FSPL game in Gainesville with a sweltering 100% heat index. They tied their opponent in this very HOT battle of wills...

In a closely contested game, the boys tasted soccer in Florida's top League. Going a goal down in the first half tested the boys as they fought their way back in the 2nd half with a goal from Quam Salami! Several other chances came the boys way but we were unable to capitalize. But we went home with a point and a solid performance for their opening gambit.
The last weekend in August was the Disney Qualifiers. A slow start in the first game hurt the boys chances of qualifying, but solid performances in the 2nd two games made up for the slow start. It's apparent that every game this team plays this season will be very high quality and will help them to reach the next level of play including preparing them for college

Our next games will be 6/7th Sept in the FPSL in Melbourne.

Early August 2014 Update on the U18 Boys Team!


Pre season has been going well for the U18 Boys thus far, with a rigid pre season in place. "The Boys are being pushed harder than ever before as they are visibly moving outside their comfort zones," said Coach Paris. This is a massive year for the boys as they prepare for college.
They have played 2 scrimmages so far with another two set in place versus Houston Dynamo and Auburndale. On August 23rd, the Florida State Premier League starts and the boys will travel to Gainesville for their opening fixture of the season.

Both Coach Paris and Coach Thacker are optimistic for the impending season and the Disney qualifier. It has been a roller coaster thus far for the team with admittance into the FSPL and also Disney and it is with great excitement we move forward. Watch this space for updates!!

Tony Paris asked to Speak about Coerver Techniques

All of our coaches attend additional training to keep their credentials up to date.

Last June 2014, our CEO/DOC, Tony Paris, attended a course in the UK as Continuing Education for his UEFA A Licence. Part of the course was on Coerver Coaching/Techniques, which are paramount in the coaching of young players. Coach Tony was one of very few coaches asked to speak out of the 50 present from overseas.

See the YouTube video by clicking here!


A new coaching change has invigorated the St. Pete Raiders U-18 Boys with new players being added to the roster, not only strengthening the roster but making team selection more competitive than ever and further reinforcing an already strong group of players!!

The most exciting news is that the team was accepted into the "Florida Premier State League", which is an Elite League sanctioned by FYSA!

The level of competition will be fierce and we have every confidence in the boys stepping to the plate and performing to the highest level.
Both William Thacker and Tony Paris will co-coach the boys for their final year as "Raiders" before seeing them off to their respective colleges.

Many of these players have been with the club since age 9 so it's a special group with loyalty being the key component from not only the players but the parents as well.

Both Paris and Thacker are gearing this season totally towards college preparation. The players will be acclimated to what college life will be as a student athlete and to the demands they can expect when they walk through the college gates for the first time.
With Paris' 10 years as a college coach and Thackers current activities at Eckerd College as both as a standout player and coach, there is no better team of coaches to guide the boys through the myriad of college life.

The boys have now started the arduous task of fitness testing and will begin their first preseason friendly on Monday July 14th vs West Florida Flames.

We will keep you posted as to how the boys are doing as we move forward! Feel free to come and watch the games and cheer this fantastic team on!

Growing Champions For Life


Please check out Growing Champions for Life, an organization dedicated to creating cohesive families and principle-centered athletes who win at life, not just sports. By clicking the link, you will have access to inspirational videos, educational webinars, interesting articles and informative newsletters.

Sunshine State Premier League Acceptance
St. Pete Raiders has been accepted into the 2014-15 Sunshine State Premier League

St. Pete Raiders
is proud to announce its acceptence into the
Sunshine State Premier League

for 2014/15 Season!

Our St. Pete Raiders Executive Director, Tony Paris, is enthused about the possibilities that this opens up for not only the Raiders but youth soccer and player development throughout the state.

We are proud and excited to have been accepted into this Premier League and feel sure we will reap the benefits as we move forward. Unification of all clubs has been a sadly missed ingredient within the game with fragmentation of leagues being the main culprit. This is long overdue and greatly accepted as a move in the right direction by an organization with an outstanding track record.

Here is the press release from US Club Soccer:

CHARLESTON, S.C. (May 2, 2014) – Following the success of the Florida Premier League and the Florida Cup, US Club Soccer announces the addition of the Sunshine State Premier League and the Academy Cup.

Featuring U-8 through U-12 boys and girls, the Sunshine State Premier League will launch in fall 2014 as a part of US Club Soccer's nationwide Premier Leagues platform.

The Premier Leagues platform is a network of leagues in local, statewide and similar geographic regions for competitive clubs and teams, created along the principles that league-based competition is the primary means for long-term player development and growth of the game.

Several Florida clubs have already joined the league including: Orlando City SC, Space Coast United, Florida Kraze/Krush, PDA Florida, Jacksonville FC, Boca United, Greater Tampa Bay FC and West Florida Flames.

The Sunshine State Premier Leagues mission is to improve the competitive environment by combining forward-thinking youth clubs that share similar ideals regarding long-term player development of youth players. Following the U.S. Soccer Player Development Curriculum, the league will employ 7 vs. 7, 9 vs. 9 and 11 vs. 11 playing formats for appropriate age groups.

With the addition of the Sunshine State Premier League, the Premier Leagues platform gained its ninth member league.

The Academy Cup will kick off in Spring 2015 featuring three regional tournaments in the south, central and north districts of Florida for the U-9 through U-12 age groups. It will mirror the U.S. Soccer's recommended playing format and Sunshine State Premier League rules to promote a player development-centered competition format.
The Sunshine State Soccer Association (SSSA) was born from a desire to improve the soccer experience in the state of Florida. The SSSA is the only organization in the state that solely utilizes soccer professionals to make the decisions that impact soccer. Player development through proper club structure is emphasized so that players in Florida can mirror top development practices from around the world.

The SSSA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization registered in the state of Florida dedicated to improving all levels soccer in the Sunshine State.

For further information, please go to the main website: http://sunshinestatesoccer.com/sunshine-state-premier-league/

Dealing with a Dreadful Referee

We have all had that referee that for whatever reason seems to hold a grudge against our team.  All the calls seem to be going against you and you feel like there is nothing you can do, all control is lost.  The hardest part is they are determining the result and it’s not fair to you, more importantly, it’s not fair to your players who have worked extremely hard.  There are several options you can do in this situation.

By far the worst option is to yell and scream at the official, this causes several negative effects.  Number one, you are the coach and you set an example for your players.  If they see you giving the ref a hard time they will think it’s license for them to do the same.  Your players should not speak to the referee unless they are the captain.  Your captain has a right to get an explanation from the referee and is the only player that is allowed to do so.  Secondly, you are setting yourself up to get more calls against you.  As much as referee’s are not supposed to be biased they remember situations; its human nature.  There aren’t too many positive things that can come from complaining to the referee, yet it happens all the time.

There are certain aspects of the game you cannot control and the referee’s decisions is one of them.  How often have you seen a referee make a decision and then reverse it?  Almost never, so what is the point in complaining?  Your best option would be during half-time or after the game to have a one-on-one conversation with the referee and try to get an understanding of why he made some calls.  Don’t be nasty about it, instead, let them know that you are a continuous learner of the game and want to better understand what happened.  Some referee’s will have an ego issue or feel threatened by you and refuse to answer your questions.  If that is the case, this might be a scenario where you would want to report them to the director of your league or tournament.  In the future they might be able to have someone come out and spectate the game and see if there is legit bias against your team.

If your goal is to be the best coach possible you need to put yourself out there to understand the game to your fullest potential.  There is not a better way than for you to get your referees license so you can become an official referee.  While this may be time-consuming there are a lot of lessons you can learn by taking this course.  After you pass the class, go on and referee a few matches.  Your perception of a referee will completely change.  You will begin to cut the referee some slack and judge them not on whether or not they made the right call, rather, whether or not they were in the right position to make the call.

You are not going to get every call and the referee is going to make mistakes, it’s a part of the game.  Control your temper, be  calm and the next time the callmight go your way.  If you act like a maniac and you are screaming at the referee you can forget about it.  You are not going to get any calls and you are hurting your team.  Make sure your players understand that they are not allowed to speak to the referee about a call unless they are the captain.  You have the right to an explanation.  Even in the light of a competitive game where a call goes against you, remember your role as a coach.  Keep calm.  Play on.

2014 St. Pete Raiders Indoor Summer Soccer
Sign up by July 1st!

For ages 4-16
Ask your friends to play!

Two Sessions
Discount if you do them both!

6/6 - 7/12
7/18 - 8/16
Friday Evenings and Saturday Mornings

It's a great way to stay inside and play in the air conditioned comfort yet
get more touches on the ball over the summer.

Only $65 per session, $10 refund if sign up for both at the same time.

All games played at After School Kicks on 62nd Ave N and about 18th Street.

Join us!
Click here
to register (deadline July 1st for second session)

For more information including Session 1 Rosters and Schedules, click here.



Tampa Bay Rowdies Supports St. Pete Raiders
The Rowdies Offered a Free Clinic to 100 Lucky Raiders Players!

Tampa Bay Rowdies kicked off their season opening week by visiting Puryear Park to offer a free clinic to 100 Raider players!!

This was staffed by 5 players and was a huge success for all concerned. The Raiders organization would like to thank the Rowdies for making this possible and wish them all the success and luck in the world in the 2014 Season.

Go see Soccer at the next level and support our local Pro team!

Call (877)ROWDIES or (877)769-3437 for tickets!

VSI/St. Pete Raiders Succeeded at the Best of the Bay!
Congratulations to our winners and thank you to the volunteers - WELL DONE!

A very successful weekend was had by all as St Pete Raiders hosted its 2nd annual "Best of the Bay" Tournament in faultless conditions.

With over 55 teams the event went off without a hitch with many compliments given over the weekend.

The club in itself had a good showing with 2 champions and 3 runners up which are as follows.
Champions - U-14 Girls with Coach Emerson
Champions - U-14 Boys with Coach Rivers
Runners Up - U-10 Boys with Coach Estrada
Runners Up - U-11 Boys with Coach Gaganelov
Runners Up - U-13 Boys with Coach Thacker

We would like to thank all participating clubs for visiting us this year and look forward to more of the same this time next year!!




U-13 Boys Advance into State Cup round of 16!

After two convincing wins at Auburndale, the U-13 Boys have now advanced to the “Round of 16’!  

They beat both FC Lutz and Plant City with two shutouts and played very well.

The next round is May 3rd back at Auburndale where we wish the boys the very "Best of Luck" as they battle to make the Final 4!


U17 Boys Advance and play well in Round 2 of State Cup

After advancing to Round 2 by having 2 wins and a tie in the first round at Palm Coast, the boys had to take on the number one team in the state, Boca United in their first game of the second round at Plantation.

They came away with an impressive 2-2 tie against Boca United, which is also ranked #6 in the nation. In the second game they came back from a 2-0 deficit against Coral Springs, and with only 25 minutes to play they scored 3 goals to win. In the final pivotal game against Jacksonville they fought hard but came up short with a 1-0 loss which ultimately ended their State Cup run.


Saturday Mornings 4/26 - 5/24


By popular demand, we are offering 1 more block of 5 sessions for only $60

All sessions will be held at Puryear Park on Saturday mornings at 10:00 a.m.

April 26th
May 3rd
May 10th

May 17th
May 24th

  • These sessions will be game related with the players playing open soccer for
    3 x 15 minute games per session.
  • This will give the players a chance to both show what they have learned and
    also express themselves in game related situations, letting the game be the teacher!
  • Coaches will also have a chance to evaluate the players and make coaching points
    throughout the slated games.
  • Space is limited so please respond ASAP!
  • Click here to register!


The pictures shown above are from our last session for the 5/6 Academy. As you can tell, the players had lots of fun! The session had over 35 young players working on their skills and letting the game be the teacher. Its exciting times at St Pete Raiders as we watch our young players enjoying the sport we love. It will be fun to watch them grow into the Recreational and Club Players of the future!

Rowdies Sign Courageous 12-Year-Old St. Pete Raiders Midfielder Cole Eicher
...heartwarming story about one of our own players

Rowdies Sign Courageous 12 Year-Old Midfielder Cole Eicher

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rowdies awarded a contract to a very special Rowdies fan this week, signing 12-year old midfielder Cole Eicher to his first professional contract.

Eicher, a member of the St. Pete Raiders Youth Soccer Club, has been sidelined since February while undergoing a removal of a brain tumor and radiation treatments in his courageous battle against cancer.

Tampa Bay Rowdies General Manager Perry Van Der Beck, along with players Georgi Hristov and Shane Hill, surprised Eicher with his contract Tuesday night at Puryear Park. Surrounded by friends, teammates and family, Eicher signed the contract below an ear-to-ear smile, fulfilling his dream to be a professional soccer player.

“We’ve heard so many lovely things about how the Rowdies support the community, and this of course shows that something so small in a community situation can mean so much to a child,” Laura Eicher, Cole’s mother said. “We appreciate that.”

Cole had not been to the Raiders’ practice fields since February 2, so even getting to see the familiar surroundings was important for him.

“Everybody looks forward to very small milestones and this is something he was definitely looking forward to,” Laura Eicher said. “We didn’t tell him what was going on. We just told him his team was out here with a couple Rowdies players that wanted to come meet the team. This is really a huge surprise for him.”

As with every player signed by the Rowdies, Eicher was outfitted with a jersey, game shorts, training tops, polo shirt, jacket and rain coat. After the contract signing, players Hill and Hristov, on behalf of the Rowdies, invited Cole to serve as the team’s honorary captain on opening night.

Cole will take his place on the team bench when the Rowdies take on FC Edmonton at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 12 at Al Lang Stadium. With tickets going fast, make sure to call (877) ROWDIES to secure your seats.

See the original article here.

U12 Boys - Top 16 in Region C
Congratulations Coach Will and team

U14 Girls - Region C Quarterfinals!
Congratulations Coach Steve and Team!

U14 Boys - Region C Quarterfinals!
Congratulations Coach Rob and Team!

Returning to Our Roots! St. Pete Raiders (Club Soccer) Northeast Raiders (Recreational Soccer) Over 40 Years and Still Having Fun
Spring 2014

Returning to Our Roots!

St. Pete Raiders (Club Soccer)
Northeast Raiders (Recreational Soccer)

Over 40 Years and Still Having Fun


From The Desk of the CEO

Attention: Club members


Old Traditions that live on!

Roughly 18 months ago it was with great excitement that we entered into our agreement with Vision Pro Sports Institute (VSI). The United Soccer Leagues (USL), the Brandon Flames and other prominent entities were also drawn to VSI’s ambitious plans for a pro league, a stadium, and a strong feeder network of youth soccer clubs. However, as time went on, it became clear that things were not going as planned. As a club, we try to offer our players an avenue to achieve their dreams of moving to the next level of soccer. We’ve gone the Everton route, then the VSI route. At the time, it seemed the correct path, but we are realistic enough to know when a direction is not the right one.

We have decided to sever our ties with VSI and return to our roots.

Starting with the 2014-15 season, our club players will be the St Pete Raiders and our recreational players will be the Northeast Raiders. Those names were synonymous with good soccer for over 40 years and are well known in our community. It is time to clarify our identity and reaffirm our ultimate goal – play great soccer while teaching strong values.

We will be wearing the red and blue of the traditional Raiders uniform and revert to the old badge. We will soon begin the rebranding to the “St Pete” mark with a full changeover by May. We will keep you posted as we move forward with the change.

Thank you for your support.

Tony Paris

Please donate soccer items to help children in need!

Wondering what to do with those cleats that pinched your kid’s toes after he’d had them for 3 weeks?

Got piles of outgrown soccer jerseys, shorts and socks?

Or do you have extra notebooks and pencils hogging space on your countertops?

DON'T THROW THEM OUT! Let us put them to good use. We are collecting soccer-related and education-related items for CAN Futbol Foundation to use as rewards for student-athletes overseas who maintain a GPA of 85.
Needed items
Soccer cleats, running shoes, shin guards, soccer socks, soccer shorts, new refillable bottles, ball bags, soccer book bags, soccer balls, goalie gloves, goalie jerseys, relica jerseys, whistles, ball pumps (and needles), cones (and disks), pinnies, stopwatches, coaching clipboards
laptop computers, book bags, mechanical pencils, pens, chalk, erasers, permanent markers, dry-erase markers, notebooks

Contact raegay@gmail.com if you have items to donate!

Set your Feet on Fire on Superbowl Sunday!!

Help us raise $5K with our 5K.

February 2, 2014      Puryear Park      8:30 a.m.

VSI Flames, Pinellas County’s most vibrant youth soccer organization, wants to set your feet on fire! 

Our mission is to give every child a positive lifelong learning experience through the team sport of soccer.  Our goal is to raise $5,000 for scholarships and field improvements and to have more than 500 runners at our race!

NEW!  Register online at active.com this year, or pick up a registration form at the clubhouse.