Shortly after the Academy Season wrapped up, Inter Miami CF hired Craig Dalrymple as its new Academy Director. While Dalrymple is new to Inter Miami CF, he’s no stranger to academies, and certainly not fútbol.
Born and raised in the United Kingdom, Dalrymple was an apprentice footballer for a professional club in the UK in his youth. After his release, he moved to North America at 18 years old to pursue his academic goals, travelling to Vancouver in 1992 and playing at the collegiate level. Shortly after, Dalrymple was drafted into the A-League, at the time the first division of professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada.
Following his playing career, Dalrymple made the switch to the coaching box.
“In my early 20’s, my college education and passionate desire for coaching came together and I started full-time coaching,” said Dalrymple, who became certified as a coach in the UK, Canada, U.S., and France. “I continued to upscale and educate myself over the next 20 years or so.
“I had an early introduction into coaching and a natural affinity to want to inform, educate and help others.
He followed a coaching opportunity in the United Kingdom before ultimately returning to Vancouver to work in MLS, where he helped the Whitecaps develop and sign 23 Homegrown Players to MLS contracts, including current FC Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies.
“I was there for 10 plus years,” said Dalrymple. “During that time, I thoroughly enjoyed and invested myself in youth development. Since then it’s been my number one priority. Now, I have this great opportunity in Miami.
“I’ve been blessed to have held, I think, every coaching position possible in MLS, from entry level U-12 players in the academy to the first team in front of 30,000 fans at LAFC, and also be involved in some national team programs in Canada. I’ve had the opportunity to experience a lot of different environments and learn from them all.
Alongside the Academy coaching staff, Dalrymple will look to help the Club’s youth succeed by placing a focus on the three pillars.
● Utilizing Inter Miami CF’s Discovery Program to identify local talent.
● Helping players grow in all aspects of the game, making sure they are well-rounded individuals.
● Allowing students of the game to develop their strengths and skills in a professional environment.
● Assisting players in their adjustment from the Academy their next level of play (ex. USL, MLS).
● Guiding players through the changes in dynamics and intensity.
“Those three things have to be effective, efficient and aligned,” stated Dalrymple. “They require equal attention and commitment."
Dalrymple also believes in the importance of a strong relationship between the Club, the family, and the player, as well as unison within the Club for a clean operation.
“There can be no mixed messages,” said the Academy Director. “There needs to be transparent and honest communication. We all need to be working in the same direction towards the same goal of maximizing the potential of the individual.
“The development structure of the Academy needs to have vertical alignment in all the departments, from how we assess players, to how we treat them, to how we physically develop them and teach the game.
Dalrymple also understands the need to connect with the community, and the importance of recognizing talent pools and clubs that are doing well at a grassroots level.
“We really want to have a good, open relationship with [local clubs],” emphasized Dalrymple.
For Dalrymple, the Academy’s mission statement is clear.
“We want to ‘put a man on the moon.’ We want to put home-grown players on our First Team roster. We want to turn young potential into valuable assets for the Club. Ultimately, our goal with every action we take is geared towards converting homegrown players to senior professional players that represent the Club and community.
“The Academy is the connection to the community. It should be a consistent provider of talent for our First Team. It should make the Club sustainable, make it relevant. It should provide hope and opportunity for South Florida families. It should provide innovation and education throughout the sport of soccer. I believe it’s the heartbeat of the Club.”
The new Academy Director’s vision for the Academy is a bright one, as Dalrymple stresses the potential to build something special through the Inter Miami CF Academy.“Ultimately one word that keeps coming up in conversations is ‘potential.’ Potential of the talent pool, potential of the facilities the ownership group created, the staffing, the resources, the dedication and attention to the Academy. It’s the potential of everything a player wants and requires to be successful.”
The Academy returns to action this week ahead of the start of the 2021-22 season. You can follow our Academy’s journey online by following our Twitter account @InterMiamiAcad or via Instagram @InterMiamiCF_Academy.