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NorCal Premier Soccer Coaching Education Trip: Preview

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — “It’s pretty simple, better coaches result in better players.”

The above line is the first sentence in NorCal Premier Soccer’s Coaching Education Mission Statement.

The idea is quite simple — you wouldn’t expect a mediocre math teacher to help inspire world-class mathematicians — but the idea is something we truly believe in.

Recently, there has been a huge conversation in this country about the problems with our development system after having not qualified for the World Cup.

There have been many ideas thrown out about many different subjects, blaming many different people.

But at NorCal Premier, we believe the answer is simple — we just need more highly educated coaches instructing our best players.

This is why we’re again headed to Europe for two weeks in order to learn from the best and bring those lessons back to help the coaches and players in Northern California truly grow.

“This is the second year in succession we have decided to take a large group of directors and club leaders to Europe with the same objective of enhancing their professional development and ultimately make a positive impact in the development of NorCal players,” said Coaching Education Coordinator David Robertson.

“This year we have a more formal course with strategically devised objectives, assignments, and coursework,” Robertson added. “We are fortunate to draw upon many of the fantastic resources and contacts we have made over the years. This will be pivotal in shaping a world-class coaching education course.”

In these next two weeks, we will spend time in the Netherlands and Germany learning from the best.

In addition to the celebrated club Ajax, we will visit AZ Alkmaar, a recent Dutch League champion, and several other Dutch clubs in a week organized by Dutch coaching legend Frans Hoek, who has previously coached at Barcelona, Manchester United, Ajax, and for the Netherlands national team.

From there, we head to Germany, where we’re staying in the heavily-industrial, but football-rich region where the highest concentration of Bundesliga teams currently ply their trade.

In Germany we will learn from those on the forefront of youth development — the squads of Schalke and Borussia Dortmund — which have continued to finish at or near the top of the league in recent years despite a huge financial advantage from powerhouse Bayern Munich.

The point of this trip is simple — we want to better understand how to teach players how to play the beautiful game.

Then, maybe, our country can stop worrying about losing World Cups, and finally be in the conversation as one of the favorites to actually win one.

While most of the learning begins Wednesday, a group of roughly eight were able to fly into Amsterdam earlier on Tuesday and get a head start with a visit at Ajax.

Those in attendance viewed an Ajax second team recovery training, Ajax youth team training, a lecture regarding performance analysis and player development, a lecture on goalkeeping, followed by a goalkeeping field session.

“The importance of performance analysis for individual development and team development was the most important thing that we learned,” said Amsalu Fantahun of Sacramento United. “We learned how video can help players visualize and set individual plans to develop. It’s going to help the players develop better.”

Once most of the coaches had arrived, the contingent retired to a conference room where Hoek gave a lecture on the purpose of the trip, explaining how important it was to be deliberate for each attendee in order to garner more knowledge.

“You guys are here to learn. The first thing I say is more specific, no general talking. That’s why you’re here, to improve, and you only improve when you talk in specific details,” Hoek said. “You should always set an aim because the aim is the base for the evaluation. If you don’t set an aim, evaluation is impossible in my opinion.”

Check back tomorrow as NorCal visits Vitesse ahead of the club’s crucial Europa League game against Nice Thursday, which NorCal will also be on hand for.