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Coaching Education

Summer Coaching Symposium Day 1

LIVERMORE — While the first day of NorCal Premier Soccer’s Summer Coaching Symposium was only a half day, that doesn’t mean it lacked in valuable lessons and quality presentations.

Featuring three lectures and four field sessions from four different groups, the event at Las Positas College kicked off in excellent fashion for the over 300 registered participants.

“I truly believe the level of this event has been amazing with a lot of different views of the game and a lot of different philosophies,” said San Juan Soccer Club Director of Coaching Zeca Neto. “It’s always good to come in and get the level that we’re getting here and get a different perspective of the game.

The first clinician of the week was a veteran of the Northern Californian lecture circuit, former Dundee United manager Gordon Young.

While Young’s presentation focused on preparing for success in general, he began it by giving out advice to help prepare coaches for success this week.

“You can come in with the mindset that you already know everything, or you can come in with the mindset that, ‘Oh, that’s something I’ve tried but done differently,’ or, ‘I haven’t thought about that,’ Young said. “If you have the (latter) mindset, you’ll improve in your career.”

Scores of coaches later followed Young out to his field session, which focused on playing through the lines, the concept of making penetrating passes through your opponent’s defense.

But up next in the classroom was San Francisco Deltas head coach Marc Dos Santos, who has thus far led the NASL expansion club to second place in the Spring Championship.

Though Dos Santos’ presentation and field session focused on build up and an organizational model of play, he began simply by challenging the coaches in the lecture hall, asking them questions based on his past of leading three separate expansion clubs in three years in both the USL and NASL.

“What do you do as a coach when you don’t have history in your club, you don’t have identity, you don’t have a past?” Dos Santos asked the audience before explaining his philosophy, which was rather simple: “If we’re going to prepare players to play soccer, they have to play soccer.”

Dos Santos expanded this by using legendary guitarist Carlos Santana as an example.

“If you want a team to play a certain way, you have to train a certain way,” he said. “I always use the example of Carlos Santana. I’ve never been to his house. I’ve never met him personally. I don’t know what he does outside of playing guitars. But if I went to his house, I bet it would be filled with guitars. He’s not (playing with) drums. He’s not jumping over pianos.

“I bet he plays guitar.”

The participants were then lectured by Jitka Klimkova, recently hired by US Soccer to lead the U-20 Women’s National Team.

Klimkova focused on presenting the style of play of the youth national teams to the coaches in attendance, showing the model of development from the youngest age groups all the way up to the full national team.

The former Czech international used many anecdotal examples from her time as a coach — one in particular focused on analyzing data to drive decision making in the final third.

For example, one of her teams found that when shooting, her squad chose to put a powerful shot on goal 80 percent of the time, while only placing their shots 20 percent of the time. Yet, she found that her team actually scored more goals overall on placed shots.

“It’s good to show them those kinds of numbers to help them realize that sometimes it’s more effective to use technique over power,” the Klimkova said.

The fourth field session featured a practical exercise presented by NorCal’s own Women’s Committee members Erin Sharpe, Alena Thom, and Rozie DeWeese.

As coaches and participants are still on their way to the event, Friday features a full day of presentations including Positive Coaching Alliance’s Bret Simon, Mexico U-20 National Team Coach Marco Antonio Ruiz, NorCal’s own Ian Mork, and more.