Ahead of the upcoming tryouts for our FSA Premier travel teams we had the opportunity to talk to our founder Christian Fuchs about his time at Leicester City in the English Premier League, his impressions and the development of FSA Premier in year one, the upcoming tryouts, and what the future will hold for FSA and him personally.
Christian, thank you for taking your time to speak to us. You are still playing in the English Premier League and are currently in the sixth season with Leicester City. How are you feeling about your personal season with the Foxes so far?
I feel great. Brendan Rodgers has given me a lot of trust since he joined Leicester about two years ago and I am trying to give back this trust with my daily performances on the training ground.
"Brendan Rodgers has given me and the team tools to become more successful."
How influential was Brendan Rodgers with your decision adding two more years to your contract with Leicester City?
Very influential. I thought I have seen it all in my career, having learned and played under some of the greatest managers. But the second he stepped into that changing room for the first time I immediately felt his presence and that there is a lot I can still learn from a manager of his caliber. Brendan Rodgers has given me and the team tools to become more successful, to learn every day we stand on the pitch, and to become better players. Everything reflects week in and week out in the league. He came in when Leicester City was a mid table team and turned everything around within one season only to become regular contenders for the Champions League spots. I would have never thought it could be turned around so quickly, but he has taught me different. I am very proud to have the experience working with one of the top managers in the world as it makes me a better person and more knowledgeable about the game.
At the end of the last season you have also moved into the new training ground. Tell us, is it as good as it looks in the pictures?
It is even better. Besides the great training pitches the facility offers everything you need to perfectly prepare for games and keep yourself in top shape. We have an amazing gym, swimming pool, full-time kitchen, and recreational rooms for players to hang out and spend time together. Moving into the new training ground shows the direction the club is going and the continuous development within the club. The aspirations of our owners are high, but that's the right way of thinking. Be happy in the moment, be happy with what has been achieved, but never stop thriving for a greater goal. The second you enter the training ground you understand your responsibility to the club and the opportunities that arise. I am personally very fortunate to be able to be at such a great club to experience to highest level of football.
"I don't like to put my name on a program without being in charge."
This sounds very familiar to your ambitions with Fox Soccer Academy.
Yes it does indeed. Over time, I have learned to raise my standards every year. That is how I have been able to play professionally for the past 17 years. I have a good idea of what standards I want at FSA and how to create an environment and culture for players to achieve those standards. I wouldn't be able to go below that standard. Using the analogy of moving into a new ground, we did the same with FSA by moving into Hudson Sports Complex which opens great opportunities for the academy and player development. We are only in year one, but it has been a joy to see the growth, development, and trust of our players within this short period.
How have you been able to stay on top of the Academy development since you are based in England?
It is my duty to the academy, but especially my duty to every player to be as informed and involved as I can be. I don't want to put my name on, and dedication into, a program without it meeting certain standards. New coaches are always surprised how involved I am in the daily business, how close the contact is between our team in the USA and the UK, and how important it is for our coaches to learn our curriculum and to pass it on to my players. It is crucial for me to always know what's happening. Sooner or later I will be moving back to the United States and if I already have an understanding of our players, I will be able to help them even more. Until then I am trying to put together the best possible program by interviewing and selecting highly qualified coaches and then educate them with our methodology, academy vision, and training programs.
What do you make of the first season with FSA Premier so far?
I am really happy with the development of our players in a fairly short period of time. I am also not surprised since we have proven our methodology in the UK for the past few years with great success. Success in the first year is not measured by how many games you win, but by how much improvement and understanding of the new system a player has gained. This is development. This happened to us here in England, and it is happening for us in the USA. It is important to me to see how the boys and girls minimize the gap from getting beat 5-0 in the fall, to maybe draw in the current season or even win. That's how I measure our success because it shows a clear improvement of every single player. Let them be with us for 2 or 3 years and the success will continue by winning games and maybe championships.
"Players that give their best in every training session will automatically develop, improve, and then there is no way of stopping them."
What is more important to you then? Winning games or player development?
Fox Soccer Academy is a player development academy which means we want to develop full rounded players on and off the pitch. This goes hand in hand with our values of fair sportsmanship, equality, respect and opportunities to be the best you. Within a team it is important that everybody is willing to do anything for the success of the team. That can sometimes mean that you find yourself on the bench. Never, however underestimate the importance of being physically present and supporting your team. You would expect the same if it was the other way around. I cannot emphasize enough that the development comes with the trainings and the willingness of each player to learn. Players that give their best in every training session will automatically develop, improve, and then there is no way of stopping them. I won't, and my team of coaches won't!
April is a huge month for Fox Soccer Academy with the FSA Premier tryouts for the 2021/2022 season. What do you expect?
I expect a great turnout. I am sure that the word is traveling amongst our players and their friends of their experiences at my academy and what they have learned so far. I can assure that I will always live up to my personal expectations, principles, and standards of player development. Nothing below is acceptable. My academy is a place for everybody, a place where players and their families are welcome with open arms. A place that puts development first.
What can we expect from Fox Soccer Academy in the future?
The same way we have started - pushing ourselves to constantly evolve towards excellence for both individual players and as an Academy. We are constantly working on improving the Academy by adding new programs to help all players develop on and off the field. This includes our new Academic Services program. I am trying to honor the vision and mentality of my owners at Leicester City: Be happy in the moment, be happy with what has been achieved, but never stop thriving for a greater goal.
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