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Coaching Education

La Liga Formation Methodology Level 2 Course Day 3

LIVERMORE — For the third and final day, more than 100 coaches gathered on the scenic campus of Las Positas College for the first-ever US-based La Liga Formation Methodology Level 2 Course, co-hosted by US Club Soccer.

As began with some of the field sessions on Saturday, Fullaondo had some of the coaches in attendance step in to the demonstrations in order to work with the players and gain a practical understanding of the lessons on hand.

“I’m really bad at English, but if I just use a translator all the time, I’m never going to improve, it’s the same with soccer,” Fullaondo said. “If you’re not going to participate and practice, how will you improve?”

Volunteers then took turns running trainings in front of the crowd, before Fullaondo would give them feedback in order to challenge the coaches to think and improve the way that they taught.

While most of those coaches who benefitted from the course will take these lessons back to local clubs, the event received a true treat with the attendance of five of coaches from Ethiopia, brought over to the event by Sacramento United coach Amsalu Fantahun, who also brought his compatriots to the previous week’s Summer Coaching Symposium.

“I bring the coaches over here because the NorCal events are focused on coaching development,” Fantahun said. “I want to take this kind of system to my country. Every year we’re bringing five to six coaches over. They come here and they learn how to apply these lessons in the Ethiopian way.

“Last year I went with them to Ethiopia to evaluate what they needed,” he added. “This course is going to be big for them [based off what I saw]. For them to come from there to here, it’s very tough, but the value of the course has been huge for them. They’re changing themselves, they’re watching different perspectives of soccer, and they’re discussing different ideas with coaches.”

“This has been something that has been beneficial for them.”

With the course coming to a close late on Sunday, Phil Wright, the Chairman of the Board of US Club Soccer took the time to praise NorCal in its continued quest to better educate its coaches.

“I think it would be naive not to give a huge amount of the credit to NorCal and just what they’ve done over the years and really create an environment where coaching education is valued and it’s almost as if [there’s a stigma if] you don’t go to these courses — I hear coaches talking about who’s not here, and it’s not that many [people],” Wright said.

“At US Club Soccer, we’re trying to do the same thing, we’re trying to do it in multiple areas, obviously club development as well as coaching development as well as psychological and physical development, and academic development in our Players First Program,” he added. “I think better coaches make better players, better clubs hopefully make better coaches. I think the future of US Soccer is very strong within coaching education.”

And after sessions and lectures that covered individualized training and player development programs, Fullaondo closed the event with perhaps the most important lesson of all.

The Basque native ended his talks by showing a video that depicted parents acting in a negative way in any way of life, from failing to help a woman pushing a stroller up the stairs to simply yelling at referees.

The point the video made was for the audience to understand that when parents, or adults, model poor behavior, children mimic it.

“A lot of times when I see this video, I want to cry,” Fullaondo said. “This is not soccer. This is life…it’s the collective. We are an example for the guys…If I love soccer, my players love soccer. If I respect the referee, my players respect the referee…this is the life, and you are coaches.

“You are not soccer coaches, you are life coaches.”

With that, the wise and exhausted Fullaondo had but one more lesson to leave the stunned coaches with.

“This is your role, to be coaches, to spend time getting better,” he said. “This is your role, to spend time with them in matches, to make them better players.

“But never forget: who we are, where we come from, and who we represent.”