Executive Director
Jim Mort

Playing Background

Jim Mort was born and raised in Rochester, New York.  He played with the Rochester Mavericks in the inaugural years Rochester’s youth soccer league in the late 60’s.  In 1970, Jim was chosen as one of 25 youth players from the Eastern United States to attend the U.S. Olympic Team selection camp in East Stroudsburg, Pa.  Jim played collegiate soccer at Monroe Community College, assisting the Tribunes to a final four spot in the 1973 NJCAA National Championships.  At Oneonta State, he helped the nationally ranked Red Dragons win two NCAA Division 1 tournament bids in 1974 and 1975.

Coaching Background

•    Youth soccer coach +30 years
•    High School Varsity Boys Head Coach
•    NYSW Olympic Development Program Head Coach
•    USSF National Youth License
•    USSF C License
•    NSCAA Regional Goalkeeping Diploma

Educational Background

•    B.S. in Business Economics - State University of New York at Oneonta
•    Marketing & Management Executive Development Diplomas - University of Michigan

Professional Background

•    Operations and Finance Manager, Graphics Imaging, Eastman Kodak
•    Human Resource Director, Government System, Eastman Kodak
•    Product Manager, Kodak Polychrome
•    Sales and Marketing Manager – Monroe County Sports Commission
•    Dir. of Business Operations and Youth Development, Rochester Rhinos Professional Team

On Player Development:

Having been involved in soccer in the USA since 1967, I have had the pleasure of seeing it grow beyond anyone’s expectations. The shear number of players is staggering to say the least.  FIFA stats indicate that the USA now leads the world in registered youth players.  A youth soccer system that provides a good experience to the greatest number of players will provide the largest pool of talented players for the collegiate game and our professional and national teams.

These players will develop because they love the game, not because good coaches forced their development at an early age. Developing players can best be accomplished by providing professional training at a young age to all who want it, not just a select group of players.
Training must be limited, so that young players are not burnt out, and are still able to play primarily for fun. Professional training needs to support and supplement the youth programs that exist, not take their best players away as quickly as they can.

Youth players should be encouraged, motivated and coached to develop individual ball skills. The emphasis should be on individual skills. We know that effective skills development comes from constant repetitive activities and that it take years of deliberate practice to develop an elite athlete.
By focusing our player development on ball skills, we will start to see our players become more comfortable and creative with the ball. This will lead to more self-confidence and give our players the opportunity to become world-class elite players.

On U.S. Soccer Development Academy:

The launch of U.S. Soccer Development Academy is a long overdue antidote.  Empire United Soccer Academy’s recognition as a USSDA participant offers a huge opportunity for the players of western New York.  It is also an important validation that the organization has the correct vision and initiatives in pursuing youth development.

U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) will rightly segregate the elite players, and provide them a reasonable training schedule.  Although there are many critics of the Olympic Development Program (ODP) system, the USSDA should open the ranks to more children at the ODP level, and perhaps it will lead to the needed overhaul there.

There is a “trickle down” affect anticipated to all this.  USSDA is now the elite player territory.  Non-USSDA clubs must create an experience that relies on something other than the promise of national prominence.  We interact with many club presidents, coaching directors, and key administrators.  Repeatedly, they state club goals in two ways - “To compete for national championships,” and “To move the club to the ‘next level.”  By today’s standards, the “next level” usually means membership enrollment (revenue), won/loss records, and highly paid coaches/trainers.

These goals speak more to coaching and revenue ambitions than to the development of club programs.  While many clubs will continue to seek this type of recognition, it will be clear they are doing so without the most elite players.

USSDA will separate the truly premier clubs from the “want to be.”  clubs.  This puts enormous pressure on clubs that are not part of the USSDA program to do a better job of creating a meaningful experience for members who now clearly do not play at the highest level.  The majority of players, parents, and volunteers fall into this category.

Clubs that address member satisfaction, and exceed expectations in stakeholder experiences are more likely to survive the shakeout that is predicted to occur. Players and parents will express their loyalty to a club’s brand for reasons beyond elite status, salaries paid to staff, won/loss records, or trophies acquired.


James Mort
Executive Director
Empire United Soccer Academies
[email protected]
office: 585-663-KICK
cell: 585-329-5829