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2023 NorCal Summer Coaching Symposium: Day 2

Day two of NorCal Premier Soccer’s world class Summer Coaching Symposium brought new lessons and ideas as two new clinicians delivered presentations and field sessions to the more than 200 coaches on hand at Oakland Roots Sports Club’s training facility in Alameda Saturday.

In addition to more demonstrations from Friday favorites Frans Hoek and Lluis Cortes, Saturday saw sessions from UCLA Women’s Soccer head coach Margueritte Aozasa and Project 51O head coach Dannylo Ayllon.

“The NorCal coaching symposium has been an incredible experience, inspiring me to bring back innovative training techniques, and valuable insights from renowned soccer professionals like Frans Hoek and Lluis Cortes,” said NorCal PDP coach Loni Brewer. “But I think my favorite part of today, specifically, has been the session led by Margueritte Aozasa – she spoke about her path to UCLA and the success of the team since she’s been there.”

The morning began with a field session run by Ukrainian Women’s National Team head coach Lluis Cortes, which focused on finding the right space at the right time.

“There was a tremendous amount of intensity in this exercise,” said NorCal Coaching Education Coordinator David Robertson. “In addition, each field session from Cortes has had a lot of synergy from one to the next. You can really see why he’s a top coach in the European game.”

After Cortes, it was finally time for the introduction of Aozasa, who coached UCLA to their second NCAA title in her first year as a college head coach this past fall.

A native of NorCal and former MVLA player, Aozasa described her path from playing in the youth game all the way up to coaching at the highest level, culminating with last season’s championship win over North Carolina.

“If I didn’t have such a fun time playing for MVLA when I was a kid, there’s no way I would still be involved in the game 25 years later,” Aozasa said.

The UCLA boss then went over her coaching philosophies, which include making everything as fun as possible, embracing defending as an individual and team, and ensuring that everything is fully transparent.

“If you’re not transparent, players don’t know whether or not you’re telling the truth,” Aozasa said. “Because we’re so transparent so often, rarely is a player blindsided. We rarely have to drop earth shattering news on them. If one player is out of favor, it’s not permanent, it’s also in our best interest for them to be the best player possible.”

During her presentation, a group of NorCal PDP girls in contention for the organization’s Gothia Cup roster took in a presentation given by UEFA Pro License coach Gordon Young, before everyone took a break to watch the Champions League final.

Because several of the questions in a Q&A session were about her defensive philosophies, Aozasa changed her planned field session on attacking to mostly cover defending, where a demonstration group of NorCal PDP girls in contention for the organization’s Gothia Cup roster served as her players.

“Margueritte provided valuable insights into player motivation, teamwork, and individual growth,” Brewer said. “As a woman working predominantly with girls, I found her story relatable and her transparent approach both refreshing and empowering. I deeply appreciate her openness and the way she connects with her players. Her session has motivated me to adopt a similar approach, fostering an environment where our players can thrive.”

Once Aozasa was finished, the coaches returned inside to hear from the head coach of the second team for the Oakland Roots, Project 51O’s Dannylo Ayllon. Ayllon explained his game plan for a UPSL match that his team would kick off later in the night, giving the coaches some reference points on the game that they would later take in.

Before that match started, though, Hoek returned for a detailed presentation on how he analyzes games, players, and matches in his current role on the UEFA technical staff.

Finally, the day concluded with the match between Project 51O and Valley FC, which ended in a 1-1 draw, the last bit of action in the second of three days of the NorCal Summer Coaching Symposium.