(WINDSOR, ON) – Over the past two days, Windsor TFC Academy has enjoyed the hands on direction of Laurent Guyot and Luciano Lombardi of Toronto FC Academy during their twice yearly ID camp. The object of the training were Windsor and area U14 and U11 youth hoping to gain a spot on Windsor TFC’s anticipated Soccer Academy Association of Canada roster next year.
Guyot was developed in the FC Nantes academy system, becoming a 14-year professional defender with Nantes, Toulouse, and Guingamp in the French Ligue 1. He then made the leap to coaching with Boulogne and Ardennes as well as being named as head coach for the U16 French National Team. In 2015, Guyot joined Toronto FC of the MLS as Academy Director.
“I think it is important to have a relationship with the community,” said Guyot. “Of course you need some affiliation like that, and Vancho [Cirovski] is doing a fantastic job for that. It is nice to have someone who is really competent and dynamic to organize everything. We have this partnership and it works very well.”
The Toronto-born Lombardi is a multiple OUA and CIS medal winning goaltender as a 5-year member of the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. He holds a CSA National ‘B’ License, an NSCAA Advanced National Goalkeeping Diploma, and an OSA Goalkeeping Diploma. In 2016 he was named to the head coaching position of the Varsity Blues women’s soccer team while also holding the head coaching duties of the Toronto FC Academy U11 team.
“The advantage of the situation of the players is pretty certain to have the development in soccer and education. It’s not the case in Europe,” said Guyot. “In Europe when you’re a good soccer player, but you’re not a good student, if you don’t make it you can be in trouble for the rest of your life. Here it’s not the case. For certain players the NCAA and the university option is one possibility. A professional environment from 18 years old to 20 years old, 22 years old, is another possibility.”
The TFC Academy stewards were assisted by Windsor TFC head coach Zibby Piatkiewicz, technical director Steve Hart, and members of the first team and senior WinTFC Academy players. While helping to develop skill and fitness, Guyot was also looking for other intrinsic player qualities.
“We have to be more focussed on the potential of the player,” Guyot said. “Of course technically and physically, but more technically than physically, because our job is to develop this potential and the danger is to say, ‘OK, I want the players who are really close to become professional.’ It doesn’t take his when you’re 14 years old. What is important is to detect the player and how the player is able to become after three years of training sessions every day. It’s a challenge.”
The ID camp is designed to identify players with that potential and who will benefit from playing in the more competitive SAAC when Windsor TFC enters the league.
“We need and want the best,” said Cirovski. “Unlocking the potential of our players will take time as we organize our age structure to ensure their needs and desires match.”