In the growing Richmond area, Britannia Soccer Academy is finding a player base for its youth training programs. Now, the business is expanding with its first round of competitive teams this fall.
Originally from Birmingham, England, the Williams family started the company in November 2015. After coaching in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, Stephen Williams said he thought the Greater Houston area would be a good place to establish an academy.
His father, Derek, came out of retirement to join the venture as head coach. Derek emigrated with his wife and younger son Adam. They found Fort Bend County to be a good location for the academy.
Stephen said players in the area lacked teams that put as much emphasis on soccer technique and training as they did on playing time.
“There’s a lot of expats as well, which is good for us because they understand the concept of soccer training and developing as a player,” Stephen said. “The influence of the sport itself in the U.S. is growing.”
Adam plays varsity soccer at Travis High School and coaches part-time while Derek and Stephen are full-time coaches. This differentiates them from many youth coaches who lead teams on the side, they said. All three are certified by the Football Association, England’s governing body for soccer.
Britannia’s core mission lies in its Player Development Academy, which is designed to teach skills for the field regardless of whether the player is on a team. Free trial sessions are available.
Due to the development academy’s success, Stephen and Derek will assemble their first competitive teams this fall. Ideally, most of the team members will already be academy players, but enrollment is open to the public in April, Stephen said.
“We provide this professional coaching where the focus is on the player itself,” Stephen said. “Rather than just going out there to win every game.”