Burgess helps out Berryville soccer program
For the last three days, the Berryville girls soccer team has had the pleasure of working with Alex Burgess, the director of coaching for "Real Arkansas," a club team in central Arkansas and formerly with Manchester City in England.
Burgess began playing soccer around the age of 5 in England and got involved with Manchester City's Academy when he was 7. He stayed with that club team until he was 16. For the next two years, he played semi-professionally.
"It was a lot of hard work," Burgess said. "I realized I wasn't at that level anymore, so I tried and played. I did quite well. I got paid to play a little bit. It really didn't materialize the way I wanted to so I moved to the coaching side of things."
After having the opportunity to coach with a few club teams in England, Burgess made the move to America.
"I was going to be here for just three months," Burgess said. "That was over the summer of 2012. I had a week here in Berryville and traveled around to other states doing camps and working with kids, teaching them soccer. Come the time to go, I didn't want to go and so I moved down to Little Rock. I got a job there and haven't looked back since."
In his five years of coaching the Real Arkansas club team in Little Rock, Burgess has coached a number of players who have gone on to get college scholarships and even a player who is currently with the FC Dallas youth academy. Burgess said he has enjoyed seeing his players develop progress over time.
"It's great being able to pass on my knowledge and experience to the kids that want to go higher and bigger, especially in a state where soccer isn't as big as it is in other places," Burgess said.
Central Arkansas Christian won the Class 4A state championship a year ago. Had Berryville won its semifinal match against Pulaski Robinson, the Lady Bobcats would have played CAC for the championship. Burgess has had the opportunity to coach a number of girls on the CAC team and said they are phenomenal athletes.
"I have seen a number of those girls since they were 10, 11 years old," Burgess said. "Technically, they are much more advanced than a lot of girls that haven't played club soccer at the high school level."
Burgess said that if the Lady Bobcats want to make another run at the Class 4A state tournament next year, they need to stay focused.
"They need to do the basic things right," Burgess said. "Keep the level of intensity high in practices. They definitely have the talent, so focusing in certain areas will get them back to state and hopefully get them one step further."
Burgess is going to college at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to get a degree in international business. He is also attempting to help out with the soccer team next year.
"I have my coaching license here, so that should complement me well," Burgess said. "Eventually I want to go coach college, whether it be in Arkansas or somewhere else."