What Makes Mutiny Different?

Trying to describe the difference between one soccer club and the next can be challenging. In the Charlotte area there are many teams an athlete might tryout for or join. Ours is one of the few Development Academy (DA) clubs, but that’s not the only attribute that makes us stand out.

First, let’s talk about what it means to be a DA club. Our older teams wear the  U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy badge. This means they’re part of a pathway of talent development for elite players that starts with early, high-level competitive opportunities. The majority of our players want to go pro, and by joining us they are positioning themselves for notice by U.S. National Team coaches. DA players go on to appear in Major League Soccer fixtures and play for their country in international fixtures. In fact, when the U.S. beat Mexico 1-0 in September 2018, nine of the 11 starters had played in the DA program.

Nevertheless, there are many clubs around the country that have DA status. So, that’s not really what makes us different. A key differentiator, though, is Mutiny's mission “to develop world-class professional players through our unique methodology and values.” OK, that leads to the next question: what makes our methodology unique?

The Mutiny Methodology

Our UEFA Pro licensed coaches and former professional players come from many different international cultures and are focused on developing individual creativity and player intelligence. Our approach develops fundamental soccer skills while challenging players to abandon their comfort zones. 

“You don’t need to think too much to kick the ball and run,” notes our training director Jose Jimenez. But that approach doesn’t work at QCM. “You see us pass a lot, yet we don’t ask the players to pass the ball. Players come to understand that in order to help the team, they need to pass or move the ball.

“We encourage them to find the efficient solutions for the best interests of the team and that’s the opposite of being fancy or thinking selfishly.”

The message appeals to our players. Asked what makes Mutiny different, a 2010 team player, Eli Costales, said it’s about “not being selfish…If you want to score a goal and you have a better option, pass it to the better option.”

Learning to put the team first and always look for the best option is part of what makes Mutiny the best, Jimenez said. It’s not about arrogance, he clarified, but rather about internalizing a desire to be on top. “We select the best players and we identify the best talent” and then provide those athletes with a pathway to success.

At Mutiny, there’s also clear structure from the very beginning, says another Mutiny coach. While at other clubs, there may not be a consistent curriculum from one age group to the next, Mutiny has developed an intentional path for helping its players acquire skills and knowledge. 

Drawing on research in child psychology and development, Mutiny lays out a plan for what age the kids need to be to learn what things. “You can’t demand that a U9 kid learn the same things as a U14,” Jimenez said. “You need to work on the foundations to then increase the learning.”

Individual Development at QCM

Mutiny coaches are better able to focus on individual development because the club only fields one team per age group. This allows the coaches to build better relationships with the players and be able to ask more of them, so that they are more likely to achieve a high level of play.

“We try to improve the player and coach relationships by helping the player to see his opinion matters,” said Jimenez. “The coach and player relationship is more important than the coach and parent relationship.”

That belief helps foster player confidence and encourages individual development. As Christopher Soto, an 2009 player, puts it, the coaches expect a lot from every player in practice and on the field. He doesn’t mind. He says, “if you’re not doing the right thing then you’re not getting better.”

Jenn Goddu