Summer Coaching Education Series Begins In Full Force Next Month
Despite not hosting a Summer Coaching Symposium due to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the opportunities to learn at the highest level from NorCal Premier Soccer are still vastly abundant, with several quality clinicians offering sessions at a variety of locations around the area.
“While the series already began with a DOC course from the Falkirk and Latvian National team assistant coach Gordon Young, and a guided discovery lesson from former Manchester United and current Almaden FC Technical Director John Devine, there are still many clinicians on the docket who can provide valuable continued learning to NorCal coaches,” said NorCal Premier Coaching Education Coordinator David Robertson.
“We are excited to offer a number of courses that cater for the various needs of coaches,” Robertson added. “We will have clinicians who work with players from six-years-old all the way through to professional level. We have also focused on making our courses as accessible as possible to our coaches by hosting clinics in various locations throughout Northern California “
Back by popular demand is former Director of Real Madrid Academies of Mexico Javier Lopez, who has provided a series of well-attended Spanish language courses to NorCal’s clientele. He’s scheduled to teach sessions on phases 1 and 2 of the game on July 9 and 10 in Fresno and July 11 and 12 in San Jose.
Following Lopez is another popular NorCal figure in current Saudi Arabia goalkeeping coach and former Manchester United, Barcelona, and Dutch national team goalkeeping coach Frans Hoek, who will deliver multiple lessons on set pieces and goalkeeping on July 21 and 22 at Las Positas College in Livermore.
Two of Frans Hoek’s colleges Jos Van Veelan and Gerritt Panhuid will deliver courses focusing on phase 1 (8-12 years ) and the speciality of Goalkeeping, respectively.
Finally, the coaching education series will end in August, with lessons from two of the most sought-after clinicians currently in the game as Todd Beane, the son-in-law of the late Johan Cruyff and operator of TOVO Academy will make a two-day presentation on August 8 and 9 in Livermore.
Following Beane will be three-time defending NCAA Division I men’s soccer champion coach Jeremy Gunn, who will present his vision of “The Stanford Way” and Phase 4 in college on August 24 and 25 at Stanford. This will include a match analysis on the evening of the 24th when Stanford take on local rivals San Jose State .
For a list overview of all courses and details, including registration, click here.
“As the World Cup begins we will witness the global reach of soccer,” said NorCal Premier Soccer President Benjamin Ziemer. “Worldwide soccer is enjoyed by players of all ages and abilities. In order for the game in the US to not only grow but thrive it is vital our young players enjoy their club soccer experience.”
“After parents, coaches are one of the most important influences because the coaches knowledge, enthusiasm, ability to connect and provide an enjoyable “footballing” experience often determines if a player has a lifelong connection to the game,” he added. “From these players come fans, referees, board members, volunteers and one day parents.”
“For these reasons and more, we invest so many resources into improving Norcal Premier Soccer coaches,” Ziemer concluded. “We are excited about the slate of clinicians offered and we absolutely encourage you to seize these opportunities to learn and improve your ability to coach.”
2018 Coach Education Courses
We are excited to announce a number of coach education courses, kicking off in July.
Each course focuses on a specific phase of development. Please refer to the “Phase Overview” below when determining which courses are best to suited to meet your specific needs.
- Phase 1 (8-12 Years)
- Phase 2 (13-15)
- Phase 3 (16-18)
- Phase 4 (19-Adult)
|Date||Clinician||Level||Course Topic||Location||Registration/More Details|
|7/9-7/10||Javier Lopez||Phase 1||Module 1||San Jose||Click Here|
|7/11/7/12||Javier Lopez||Phase 1||Module 1||Fresno||Click Here|
|7/21-7/22||Frans Hoek||Phase 3 & 4||Set Pieces / GK||Livermore||Click Here|
|7/28/2018||Jos Van Veelen||Phase 1||KNVB Grassroots 4v4 & 7v7||Modesto||Click Here|
|7/29/2018||Jos Van Veelen||Phase 1||KNVB Grassroots 4v4 & 7v7||Clovis||Click Here|
|7/30/2018||Jos Van Veelen||Phase 1||KNVB Grassroots 4v4 & 7v7||Davis||Click Here|
|7/31/2018||Jos Van Veelen||Phase 1||KNVB Grassroots 4v4 & 7v7||Rohnert Park||Click Here|
|7/28/2018||Gerritt Panhuis||Phase 2||Frans Hoek Method Goalkeeping||Clovis||Click Here|
|7/29/2018||Gerritt Panhuis||Phase 2||Frans Hoek Method Goalkeeping||Modesto||Click Here|
|7/30/2018||Gerritt Panhuis||Phase 2||Frans Hoek Method Goalkeeping||Rohnert Park||Click Here|
|7/31/2018||Gerritt Panhuis||Phase 2||Frans Hoek Method Goalkeeping||Davis||Click Here|
|8/7-8/2018||Todd Beane||Phase 2||TOVO Academy||San Jose||Click Here|
|8/19-8/20||Mary Kok||Phase 2&3||Holland University Football||TBD||Opens 7/18|
|8/24-8/25||Jeremy Gunn||Phase 4 – College||“The Stanford Way”/ Match Analysis||Stanford College||Opens 7/18|
|1/4-1/6. 2019||La Liga||Level 3 La Liga||Level 3 La Liga||Livermore||Opens 11/1|
|3/2-3/3, 2019||Fiorentina||Basic and Advanced||Fiorentina Methodology||Berkely TBC||Opens 1/5/19|
NorCal to Host DOC Coaching Course With UEFA Pro License CoachApply
NorCal Premier Soccer
Director Of Coaching Course
May 18th, 2018 in Danville, CA
Presented By Gordon Young
About the clinician:
UEFA Pro Licensed & Internationally Experienced Coach: Current Assistant Head Coach at Falkirk FC | Former Academy and International Academy Director: Experience Coaching In the Champions League and in NorCal Premier as a DOC . RESUME CLICK HERE
About the course:
The course is designed to help leaders in soccer shape curriculum, player identification, nurturing top talent, enhancing overall club cohesion, address player pathways, and more. The format will allow for questions and answers.
When: May 18th, 10am-3:30pm
Where: Mustang Soccer Complex
4680 Camino Tassajara, Danville, CA 94506
For Who: Directors Of Coaching, College Coaches, and Coaches in leadership positions within youth soccer.
10.15am-11:45am Structure of a youth club within NorCal Premier.
12pm-1pm Strategies to change culture/expectations within current climate. (Based on answers from pre course questionnaire)
1pm-1.45pm Lunch (Provided by NorCal)
1.45pm-2.45pm A week at a pro club managing your club (as per UEFA/FA)
Cost: Free to NorCal Members
**Space is limited to 70 participants, register soon to avoid disappointment.
Contact David Robertson: email@example.com
To apply for the course, click here.
Javier Lopez To Present Free Spanish Language Coaching CourseApply
Region 6 to host Former Brazil WNT Coach
By Kleiton Lima
(Former Brazilian Women National Team Head Coach)
About the clinician: Full Resume: Click Here
Head Coach: Santos F.C. (Women‟s Professional), Brazil U20 Women‟s National Team and Brazil Women‟s National Team (PRO), Santos FC (U15 Boys), Bangu AC, Vitoria-PE, CA Assisense (Men‟s Professional), Red Bull Brasil (Men‟s Professional), AD São Caetano (Men‟s Professional) first division Brazilian League serie B (CBF), XV de Piracicaba (Men‟s Professional), Sport Club do Recife (Men‟s Professional) first division Brazilian League serie A (CBF) and Grêmio Barueri (Men‟s Professional).
Schedule (modified due to forecasted weather)
Friday March 16th
1pm-1.30pm-Check In at San Juan Indoor Facility: 11151 Trade Center Dr #203, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
1.30pm-3pm Santos Methodology Part 1
3.30pm-4.30pm Santos Methodology Part 2
Saturday March 17th
10.00am-10:30am Check In at San Juan Indoor Facility
10:30am-12:00pmm Field Session 1 (indoor) Technical Training
12.00am-1:00am Lunch (Provided)
1.30pm-3pm Field Session Mather Soccer Complex (Functional Training) 3755 Schriever Ave, Mather, CA 95655
3pm-3.30pm Q&A Closing
For Who: Open to all Region 6 coaches
Cost: Free to Region 6 coaches (sponsored by RAC)
Contact David Robertson: firstname.lastname@example.org
To register for the event, click here.
Over 200 Attend Albert Puig Coaching Course
LIVERMORE — Two years after his extremely popular FC Barcelona Positional Play Level 1 Course, former Barcelona Youth Technical Director Albert Puig instructed over 200 participants in the Level 2 course, which featured many of the nuances that has helped make the legendary club one of the best in the world at producing talent.
Over a two-day period at Las Positas College, the UEFA Pro license coach passed on his many years of wisdom of working at the top levels of the game to the many eager NorCal Premier Soccer coaches on hand.
The course began early Saturday with some of the same lessons taught two years ago for those who didn’t attend the 2016 edition, and continued with several field sessions and lectures focusing on the positional play aspect of the game that has revolutionized the methodology of soccer training across the world.
So highly-regarded was the course that several participants travelled cross-country to attend, including Chicago Fire U17 coach Nate Boyden, current and former members of the Colorado Rapids youth set up, and the entire Navy coaching staff.
“Being a NorCal native, I know the people and the ideas behind the soccer out here. I thought it would be a really great opportunity to take part in their coaching education,” Boyden said. “I was out here for the first positional play course that Albert put on and it was incredible powerful. It was something I could take right to the field and implement. I’ve been running with those ideas ever since.”
Added Colorado Rapids youth coach Antti Ronkanen: “I know Albert Puig by reputation and I consider myself a student of the positional game, so for me it was a no-brainer. (It was) fantastic, the best coaching education so far that I’ve received.”
With an assist from the Force 2004 boys team, Puig led four field sessions over the two days to demonstrate his teachings.
The thesis of Puig’s lectures stressed the importance of making each and every training session game-related — what’s the point of practicing in a way that you aren’t going to play in matches?
“It’s difficult to improve with only one player because soccer is a (team sport),” Puig said during his Sunday afternoon classroom session. “When you work on your skills alone, it’s outside of team soccer. Because of that, I like exercises that are realistic for a soccer game.”
According to Puig, a minimum of six players is ideal to create any session that is relatable to gameplay, even for just simple rondos.
Puig also spoke about the larger state of US Soccer, including the US Men’s National Team’s failure to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
“The potential for players in the United States is great, but there are other factors (holding it back). In my opinion the country doesn’t want it,” he said before adding that if the correct measures were put in place, the USMNT could be a top national side in the world in just 10 years.
“We have a problem in the United States with player selection,” Puig said. “We don’t know where the talent is.”
Puig also used examples from current and past Barcelona teams as to how the squad has reached such lofty heights despite lacking the athleticism that’s abundant in the United States.
“Xavi, in his life, has never won a race. He’s not fast. Busquets isn’t fast either. But they are some of the best players in the world because their minds are fast,” he said. “The ball always goes faster than the player. It’s easy to understand, but some players don’t understand and you must repeat it every time.”
For former Colorado Rapids youth coach Tolya Rubtsov, Puig’s emphasis on passing breaking the defensive lines — to take out multiple defenders with one pass — was key to the sessions from the weekend.
“You always look to break lines, Albert was repeating it religiously,” Rubtsov said. “The pass needs to have a purpose and the main purpose when you play that is to break lines and have direction to the game and move forward towards the game to score. I encourage everyone to come to these seminars because I think NorCal did a fantastic job and it’s a unique opportunity in America to have those kinds of experts in positional play.”
From there, the course finished up with Puig answering a multitude of questions from the audience in order to give an even greater perspective of the game, with one in particular garnering major attention from the community.
“Based on the culture here with youth players being developed for the college level, do you think clubs adopting first teams would be an important addition to the game in this country?” someone from the course asked.
Puig’s response was telling, especially given NorCal’s recent initiative to expand the adult side of the game.
“No. For college, you don’t need to play first team, you need good grades,” Puig said. “For the country, yes. If you want to improve you need to create leagues. Leagues down and up — promotion and relegation. In MLS you’re in last, but you still get money and the owner is happy and the coach goes on for many years. But in Europe, if you finish last, the coach and sporting director lose their jobs.”
Euro Trip Days 8-10: Bayer Leverkusen
LEVERKUSEN, Germany — As NorCal Premier Soccer’s Coaching Education Trip to Europe entered its second week, the roughly 25 Directors of Coaching abroad were again welcomed by a top German club: Bayer Leverkusen.
The three-day visit began with Slawomir Czarniecki, the club’s sports coordinator who first explained the club’s general philosophy regarding how it acquires players.
“One of our strategic pillars is to focus on scouting as well as the youth academy,” Czarniecki said. “We cannot fight with Borussia Dortmund, we cannot fight with Bayern Munich (for the best players).”
Once those players are then acquired at the youth level, the focus shifts to teaching said players, with the club placing family and education paramount — Bayer knows that most of the players in its youth academy will never play for the first team, so it’s imperative that the club works to develop them into well-rounded individuals.
“Every player is a human being and every human being is different,” Czarniecki said. “The family is the center of the player’s life. We are the other family of the player.”
“For us it’s fantastic if we have one player each year that we can add to the first team,” he added. “There are such a small percentage of the academy that don’t make the first team, so we have them focus on school (rather than just soccer).”
Unique Structure For Youth Teams
Czarniecki then changed the focus of the lecture, explaining how Bayer rejected the norms for youth team structure and essentially marched to the beat of their own drum.
Both Leverkusen’s U17 team and U19 team each have co-coaches, with each tasked with a different main responsibility.
Furthermore, Bayer is one of the only professional clubs in the country that doesn’t field a U16 team. According to them, this is because if a player is good enough after his U15 year, that player’s development should be accelerated as soon as possible.
The club also chooses not to field a second team for a variety of reasons. Because German rules don’t allow for a second team to be promoted higher than the fourth division, Leverkusen believe that the level of play will always be too low to translate to the first team.
“No player needs the second team to make it into the first team,” Czarniecki said. “The only reason the second team exists is during the FIFA break when you need extra players for first team training.”
Instead of having a second team, players are loaned out to other amateur clubs, which also helps Bayer save money that they would otherwise spend on player contracts, coaching, and staff.
“Bayer Leverkusen think the difference from them compared to other clubs is that they have better coaches,” said NorCal Premier Soccer Vice President Paolo Bonomo. “They really put an emphasis on that — they have two coaches in their U17s and U19s and I believe they have 15 staff between those two teams. That’s a big investment in the staff and the quality of the coaches to make sure that the development is happening.”
“It’s like what schools are considered the best? The ones that have the best teachers.”
Training Session Analysis
After Czarniecki finished, NorCal’s Directors of Coaching received a lecture from Jan Hoepner, one of Bayer’s U19 coaches, who went through several filmed training sessions, explaining the aim of each.
Hoepner must work to maximize the amount of time available, making sure that every element of every session has a clear purpose that will help the youth players.
“The idea is to work better than the other teams, to develop better than the other teams,” Hoepner said. “In Germany all teams have the same amount of time to develop players, it’s all the same. We don’t have more time in minutes or hours, so we want to make the quality better than the other teams.”
All of Hoepner’s warm-ups feature tactical elements — the sessions provide as much relevance to an actual soccer game as possible.
“We’re not passing just to pass,” he said.
What Makes A Professional Goalkeeper?
One aspect of the game that hasn’t been covered much thus far on the trip was goalkeeping, something that Bayer were more than happy to explain all of their thoughts on through U19 goalkeeper coach Jan-Paul Conradi.
While the obvious trend in the game in the past 20 years has been to focus more on all aspects of goalkeeping — netminders are no longer purely shot-stoppers in 2017 — Conradi was able to actually quantify each aspect of the position and explain the deliberate process used to help improve his young charges.
According to Conradi, goalkeeping can be divided into three main aspects: goal defending (stopping shots, headers, one-v-ones, etc…), zonal defending (crosses, through balls, protecting the goal indirectly), and distribution (passes, goal kicks, punts, throws).
While Bayer assert that goal defending is by far the most important of these three aspects, their data suggest that goalkeepers only spend 13 percent of their actual time on this task in games.
The club thinks that zonal defending is the second most important, but only takes up 17 percent of game time.
Conversely, Leverkusen have found that distribution takes up a massive 70 percent of keepers’ game time, and yet is the least important.
Still, Conradi and his co-workers try to design most of their training exercises to include all three parts of the game when they train their keepers separate from the field players before the full practice starts.
Once that training does begin, the Bayer goalkeepers join the regular players because Conradi feels that you can’t make trainings realistic without field players.
“It’s not possible to create the same situations as in the game,” he said. “That’s why it’s important for the goalkeepers to train in the team’s training.”
Scouting A Talent-Rich Region
A common theme between clubs in this area of Germany has been the fact that there’s so much competition at the youth level, with Borussia Dortmund, Schalke, Borussia Moenchengladbach, and several other top teams fighting over a population of roughly 17 million.
Tim Mattern, Bayer Leverkusen’s head of scouting, finished up the day’s lectures by explaining how the club attempts to get a leg up on all this competition in what has proven to be one of the most fertile regions in the world for producing talent.
“It’s important to watch many games on video because it’s important for the economy of the club that our time is focused. If we spend a lot of time in the car, it’s time we lose,” Mattern said. “It’s important that we work at a high quality. If we see a good player in Berlin, for example, we watch him two, three, four, or five times, then we drive to Berlin. But that’s 600 kilometers away, which is 15 hours of driving. With 15 hours, we can watch six or seven games.”
Mattern’s department looks for four key things in players: their running speed and speed of thought, their intrinsic motivation, their willingness to learn, and how well they move on the pitch.
From there, players can be signed to the academy using the “six-eyes principle,” which states that no player is even approached until at least three different scouts have watched him play.
Then it goes to development — the player is signed and integrated into the team, where he may one day make it onto the pitch at Bayer’s 30,210 capacity BayArena.
But according to Mattern, it’s that team that motivates the player will ultimately make it as a professional.
“The team is the reason why the player can develop better,” he said.
“The individual player development was a priority,” Bonomo said, reflecting on the first day of the visit. “Especially in this club where they need to develop players to survive financially and then sell them for a higher value. It’s imperative that they have good coaches because that’s where everything starts and then a good structure and system to help the development to make it happen.”
Running One of the Most Successful Youth Academies in the Country
With Wednesday designated for watching a Bayer Leverkusen first team match — an eventual 1-0 victory that improved the record of home teams to 5-0 during this trip — NorCal’s Directors were back at it Thursday with a visit to the club’s academy.
Only Schalke produce more Bundesliga players in their academy in Germany, with Leverkusen promoting roughly 1.8 players to the first team every year.
One of the factors that was attributed to this success rate was the method in which Leverkusen operates at the youth level, opting to give all players as much playing time as possible, sometime even going against governing body standards to do so.
“If you have 12 players on your U13 team and Cologne comes with 12 players, play 12 v 12,” said Jorg Bittner, who oversees the U8-U15 age groups. “They want to play, so let them play.”
Bittner referenced a recent match against Schalke’s youth team as an example for this philosophy. In the game, Leverkusen only had one substitute, while Schalke changed their entire team multiple times in the game.
Bayer ended up losing 9-7 in a competitive game, but each of their players played 55 of the possible 60 minutes of the match.
“I think that if you speak with some parents, they will say that they would like to win,” Bittner said. “That’s when you speak to them and say, all our kids played 55 minutes today, the opponents only played 30. We lost the game, but their players played half the game…during the last 10 minutes, our players maybe have to fight, but that’s okay.”
The Value of a Non-Soccer Education
The final Thursday lecture had NorCal learning from Frank Ditgens, the club’s Player Support and Education Director, whose first-ever students were Americans Landon Donovan and Frankie Hejduk.
Ditgens reinforced the club’s dedication to education in a different way. Earlier, NorCal had heard that education was important because a player needs a backup plan, something that Ditgens disagrees with.
He hates it when he hears players say “if I don’t become a professional player, (education) is important.”
“This is the wrong way of thinking,” Ditgens said. “In the last 10 years, no player who was bad in school became a professional footballer. No one. It’s a good argument for them that if you want to become a professional, you have to do it in school as well.”
Euro Trip Day 7: An Introduction To Germany
GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany — After an early morning which included a two-hour drive from Amsterdam for the second phase of NorCal Premier Soccer’s 2017 Coaching Education Trip, the travelling contingent headed to their first German club: FC Schalke 04.
NorCal Premier Soccer’s Directors of Coaching were welcomed into Germany by Bodo Menze, a Schalke ambassador, who quickly went over the history of the club because he found it pertinent to the series of lectures set to take place later in the day.
Make no mistake, the industrial region of Nordrhein-Westfalen is the real capital of German football.
Home to top level clubs like Schalke, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Monchengladbach, 1. FC Koln, and more, the region supports more top-flight clubs than most regions you can find in any country in any part of the world.
And with the area home to nearly 18 million Germans (about 20 percent of the country’s population), there’s fierce competition from each of these clubs to recruit top talent.
“It makes our work difficult because everyone is fighting for players,” Menze said. “On the other side, it’s good for the boys because each Saturday or Sunday, there’s a big fight on the pitches for points. You will not find a team that is very weak and one team that is dominating all the others. It’s not possible here so for the boys, it’s the perfect way.”
But that challenge has perhaps driven the region to incredible heights, especially for Schalke’s famed youth academy that saw several of its alumni win the World Cup in 2014 with Germany, including key players in Manuel Neuer, Benedikt Howedes, Mesut Ozil, and Julian Draxler.
Scouting For A Winning Program
After Menze gave the Directors a bit of history of the club, Head of Scouting Uwe Vester arrived to explain exactly how Schalke has been so successful based on a sustainable model that prioritizes youth development.
At Schalke, if they don’t identify the top players early, there’s a good chance that their modest — for a top European club — budget won’t allow the club to purchase said player even if they want them.
Even if they do identify the top players at a young age, though, Vester must make sure that Schalke is an attractive destination. While he believes that youth development doesn’t always correlate with victories, he still finds winning at the youth level imperative.
“Some people say that the table isn’t important, but the parents and the agents and the players look at the table. It’s normal,” Vester said. “We have to create good teams and win championships.”
“Their scouting was interesting because they have a pretty small staff but they’ve developed some good players,” said Sonoma State Head Coach Marcus Ziemer. “Their organization, the way that they organized their area, which for me would be california, I’ll definitely bring it home and put it in my program.”
Added Ballistic United U11-U15 Director of Coaching and U15 Developmental Academy coach Andrew Ziemer: “Scouting the players, Schalke does more with the kid as a person, how they learn based on the main criteria that they select from you have to know more about him as a human being, not just a soccer player.”
Vester also left the NorCal contingent with a warning: when scouting, make sure that you’re able to watch games by yourself, uninterrupted.
“You never can see what you want to see (if you’re talking),” Vester said. “You have to be very concentrated all the time.”
Implementing Video Analysis
One way that Schalke has gotten a leg up on the competition is through introducing video analysis.
While the use of video is certainly not unique in the soccer community, the extent in which Schalke do use it is.
Not only do the club help the first team with tactics and training through video, but that program extends all the way down through the U14 level and includes video of coaches as well.
Still, Schalke were quick to explain potential problems that could come with using video in the wrong way.
“Don’t use video as a way to point out to a young player that he defended poorly,” U21 assistant coach and video analyst Jacob Fimpel said. “Use it as an example for how he can get better.”
“Give your players a chance to understand,” he added. “Don’t make the mistake that you think the players know the same things as you. You watch the game three times, you look at your presentation two or three times. They watch it one time.”
“Based on working with young players and video, you have to use evaluation in video in the way that’s age-appropriate on the stage that they’re in as a human being and a child,” Andrew Ziemer said. “When they’re really young and they’re not ready psychologically to be self critical, you look more to inspire. We’ve been using one way with our video from our 11-15, now we’re going to adapt and use it in a different way.”
Of all the lectures, the one that perhaps generated the most interest came from U23 coach Onur Cinel, whose philosophies stated that teaching youth players an implicit knowledge of the game by coming up with exercises that did the teaching was paramount.
Essentially, Cinel said that teaching theory in a classroom was one thing, but getting his players to translate that theory onto the field was a whole different task.
“When I sit in front of the team and have a technical question, 22 hands go up, but when they go to training, they don’t know it,” Cinel said. “They don’t have to understand it (in the classroom as long as they do on the field).”
Said Andrew Ziemer: “The kids need experience to develop intuition by doing it, their trainings need to be set up in a way where their behavior comes out by the demands of the session, not by the coach in a classroom. They want to create players that are flexible and understand and can play the game so they’re useful not only for Schalke, but other first teams.”
Also on the docket for the day was a presentation of Schalke’s player database and their sports psychology program which preceded youth trainings, or so the coaches thought.
Due to heavy snow, trainings were cancelled and NorCal’s Directors were given a rare night off to explore the city before tomorrow’s club visit at Bayer Leverkusen.
Euro Trip Day 5 and 6: Wrapping Up The Netherlands
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — After four straight days of working and learning bell-to-bell, Saturday and Sunday offered a bit of a lull in the action for NorCal Premier Soccer’s Directors of Coaching in terms of instruction.
It was time for the the Directors of Coaching to become the instructors as they attended Dutch first division match AZ Alkmaar vs. Heracles and were assigned by coaching legend Frans Hoek to break down the set pieces from the game and give a full scouting report Sunday morning.
But first, on Saturday, FC Volendam manager Misha Salden provided analysis from his match Friday night — a 2-1 victory over Jong FC Utrecht in the second division the previous night.
Salden had earlier briefed NorCal’s DoC’s on the match, so his recap provided an opportunity for those present to understand the full process of preparing for an opponent at the professional level.
“It was really cool to get an in-depth look from preparation both in regards to the opponent, preparation for your team in particular in reference to what the opponent does and what their tendencies are, and then implementing it to the game,” said Davis Legacy Boys Director of Coaching Jesus Mata. “Getting an analysis to what happened — did your game-plan work, did the adjustments work? It was amazing to have people spend their time and energy into helping us through those aspects of the game.
“It gives us a little bit of perspective into if we play an opponent multiple times, we can see what they like to do or what they did against us and plan and prepare to play them a second time,” Mata added. “Since we don’t all have the luxury of video to analyze opponents, we have to use prior games or prior knowledge to do that.”
From there, the weekend was dominated by the vast knowledge of Netherlands National Team goalkeeper coach Frans Hoek, who has previously held that same post for legendary clubs Manchester United, FC Barcelona, and Ajax.
Hoek would join the DoC’s at the AZ Alkmaar – Heracles game, compiling his own analysis of the set pieces during the game to compare with that of the Directors, who were split into four groups, each tasked with a different aspect.
The following morning, the Directors of Coaching met over breakfast to compile their reports, using video sent by Hoek, for what would ultimately be four 10 minute presentations that the course attendees were given feedback on.
After the Directors presented, Hoek took to the podium and spent nearly two hours explaining each set piece in the game, going as far to show the importance of aspects seemingly so unimportant as throw ins and kick offs.
“Why do I want to see the kickoff? Hoek asked. “Because the kickoff is how you start the game, either you start well or you start poorly.”
Hoek’s presentation showed how AZ’s center forward, whom he referred to as a “lunatic,” pressed the ball immediately off the kick off, and yet Heracles didn’t adjust to him, almost resulting in a turnover directly following the opening whistle of the game.
The level of detail Hoek provided was truly world class as he even explained that when he was at Manchester United, his goalkeepers would kick the ball about 35 times per game, with the intention to place some of those kicks (goal kicks, free kicks, etc…) at the same certain distance every time.
Because he knew this, he worried that his goalkeeper might fatigue and not be able to hit the ball the same distance towards the end of the game, resulting in a likely turnover.
The solution: overwork the keeper during training and make him take three times as many kicks so that he wouldn’t tire.
“Hoek’s presentation gave us a lot of insight in terms of what we lack on how we see a game, how we interpret situations, how situations can dictate a game,” Mata said. “There are things that are simple in terms of execution but so complex and so in depth in terms of analysis dissection. Ultimately using it as a preparation tool and a tool to improve things that you do as a team both offensively and defensively.”
Following Hoek’s presentation, the Directors got a true treat — an Ajax home game against top-of-the-table PSV, where the hosts knocked off the previously-undefeated visitors to make NorCal Premier Soccer 4-0 in visiting home games so far on the trip.
Be sure to rejoin us tomorrow as we head to Germany to visit some of the top clubs in industrial West Germany.
Euro Trip Day 4: FC Volendam — The Other Oranje
VOLENDAM, Netherlands — In the most wonderfully strange corner of this country, there’s a sleepy fishing village known for its residents’ traditional clothing, a series of largely successful singers, and the local delicacy of eel.
And their football isn’t bad either, especially considering Volendam’s population hovers somewhere around 22,000.
The local club, FC Volendam, has a long history in the top-two divisions in the Netherlands despite a goal of maintaining a first team with at least 50 percent of players locally sourced.
Currently, they’re hitting that number with 22 of the 36 first team members coming from the team’s academy, including nine from Volendam proper who suit up for “The Other Oranje.”
The level of sustained success is due to the unique nature of the town, according to manager Misha Salden, who met NorCal’s Directors of Coaching before the game in order to give a tactical breakdown of that night’s second division match against FC Utrecht’s reserve team.
“If you look at the front doors of each of the people in the town, they all want to have a nicer front door than everyone else,” Salden said. “I think this pushes them to a higher level.”
Video Analyst Breaks Down Plan
After lunching at the club while discussing the assignment to analyze Thursday night’s Vitesse – Nice game, the directors were greeted by Salden’s video analyst, Englishman Jack Austin, who explained how FC Volendam would try to gain an advantage over Utrecht.
For the second straight day, the club NorCal visited proved to be influenced by American philosophies, this time via Austin’s affinity with New England Patriot’s head coach Bill Belichick.
“If you look at all the best coaches in the world, they all have an identity,” Austin said, before laying out what he called a “game plan,” after the same phrase American football coaches use.
Volendam’s game plan consisted of the following:
- What does the opponent want to do and how?
- Where are the opponent’s weaknesses, how can we focus on this?
- How can we do this while staying strong to our own identity?
Essentially, how do Volendam play their own style, while also adjusting to exploit their opponent’s weaknesses?
“If I’m in a fight with someone and they want to use their right hand, it’s my job to make sure that their right hand is tied behind their back,” Austin said.
He then went into specifics, explaining how Volendam planned to attack Utrecht, who Austin said excelled at building out of the back.
“If they can do that, we have a problem,” he said. “We want to stop them from as far away from our goal as humanly possible.”
To do so, he devised a pressing system in which the Volendam forwards would pressure with a different number of players each time in order to confuse the opposition and hopefully unsettle them.
“We’re not going to give them a good read, a clean read on how we’re going to press them,” Austin said.
Other than that, there weren’t many other points that Austin wanted to key on, as the club’s philosophy dictated that just a few key points were better to implement, rather than a full battery of details that players could forget during the run of play.
Coaches Tasked to Analyze Game
NorCal Directors of Coaching were again tasked with breaking down the game within the four phases of play and transitioning, something that was helped by having a collaboration with Volendam.
“When you’re looking at specific phases and looking at details within those phases instead of a general overview of the game, it allows you to take in more information and process the game at a higher level,” said Walnut Creek Soccer Club Director of Coaching and NorCal board member Tom Ginocchio “Over time, with more application, you can basically start breaking down all four phases quicker. Right now we’re being asked to break down two phases. The application of breaking those down from yesterday to today was quicker.”
The game ended 2-1 in favor of the home side, with FC Volendam picking up their third win on the season, to give home teams a perfect 2-0 record with NorCal in attendance thus far on the trip.
Tomorrow, NorCal will have the chance to go over the match with Salden and Austin, giving the Directors of Coaching the rare opportunity and access to help give more invaluable experience that will directly benefit thousands of youth players in the State.
Summer Coaching Symposium Day 3
LIVERMORE — In another day full of action at NorCal Premier Soccer’s Summer Coaching Symposium at Las Positas College, the more-than 300 coaches in attendance again received world class instruction from minds at the top of the game both domestically and abroad.
While Friday only featured a pair of field sessions, attendees lathered on their sunscreen and headed outside for most of a day filled with practical exercises that featured exercises implemented at the youngest levels to the college, pro, and international games.
But Saturday wasn’t only about the coaches, as roughly 150 referees attempting to raise their qualifications met for a fitness test followed by an assessor course that ensured that players, coaches, and referees were able to participate and gain from the event.
In the classroom, though, participants began the day with a lecture from a man at the top of the college game: two-time defending national champion Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn.
Gunn’s lecture featured anecdotes and lessons from how he built his teams, focusing on off-the-field aspects that has enabled him to win the first-ever titles with the Northern California powerhouse.
After the lecture, Gunn headed out to the field for his first of two sessions (the second comes Sunday) in which he went over attacking functions.
The session was both valuable in the exercises demonstrated and the well-rounded advice he dished out during it.
For example, in one drill, Gunn explained the importance of over-hitting a pass, rather than under-hitting it when pushing numbers forward.
“If that center back gives away a throw in, I don’t care,” he said after a player hit a soft pass. “If it’s short and we get countered, we’re in trouble.”
It was bits like this that interested the large crowd at his session, which served as a contrast to that of the previous exercise, led by Las Positas College Women’s Head Coach Paul Sapsford.
Sapsford, who gave a well-thought lecture about engaging players in the grassroots game the previous day, then showed his principles in training by engaging young players through games that appeared to be mostly about fun, but really helped players develop correct technique as well.
From there, coaches moved back into the classroom for Dr. John Cone’s second lecture in as many days regarding improving individuals by using a team environment.
Cone’s lecture was followed by a more specialized session from Frans Hoek, regarded as one of the best goalkeeper coaches in the world.
While Hoek’s lecture focused on set pieces, it was embargoed for public release due to much of it being implemented with the Netherlands national team, where he served as the goalkeeper’s coach in the squad’s latest World Cup run.
To engage the crowd, Hoek began by drawing upon his experiences as a coach at Ajax, Manchester United, and Barcelona, where he remembers a young Lionel Messi watching first team training through the fences, hoping to soak up everything possible.
From there, he spoke about his time with the Netherlands, drawing laughs from many of those in attendance.
“I think the Mexicans still hate Arjen [Robben], but I love him for the penalty he drew,” Hoek said, recalling the controversial late penalty that the Dutch winger drew that knocked Mexico out of the World Cup.
Alas, Hoek remembered that tournament with something of a regret due to “only” collecting a third place medal. “We were so close and we gave it away,” he said.
Still, Hoek’s final remarks reminded all about how great the game can be in its simplest form.
“The nicest thing is to play,” he said. “The nicest thing for me is being in the stadium warming up with the players with ball. That [brings me back to] playing football in the streets.”
Before Hoek led coaches out on the field for the practical exercise regarding set pieces though, it was time for Mexico U-20 National Team Coach Marco Antonio Ruiz to lead the first of his two field sessions (the second, again, is on Sunday), which focused on pressuring opponents when they had the ball.
The high-intensity session filled the Las Positas College field with nearly everyone in attendance, showing again how valuable coaches felt the top level of instruction could be used in everyday environments.
Finally clinicians Hoek, Ruiz, and Javier Lopez came stayed around the field to answer any questions that each of the coaches had.
Check back tomorrow for another recap of all the action as NorCal’s Summer Coaching Symposium closes with more sessions from Gunn, Ruiz, and Hoek as well as two more sessions from author and former Real Madrid Academies of Mexico head Javier Lopez and a practical session from Positive Coaching Alliance’s Bret Simon.