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2019 Summer Coaching Symposium: Day 3

With nearly 400 attending across the first two days, the 2019 NorCal Premier Soccer Summer Coaching Symposium was already a success after two days, but there was still one final day of learning to be had on the campus of Stanford Sunday.

And the participation and clinicians did not disappoint as the event was held jointly with NorCal’s annual Club Development Seminar, a classroom session designed to help clubs with their off-the-field work.

But first those who came to the event flocked to a session from Inter Milan’s Marco Monti, who put into action the famous Italian club’s ideals on helping players improve their quick decision-making abilities.

The field then shifted to the ever-popular Jeremy Gunn, who led Stanford to three straight national titles, while inside Maples Arena, Tobias Haupt of the DFB gave those in attendance an introduction to what Germany are trying to do with their academy.

Haupt spoke about Germany’s new project of creating their own national facility in Frankfurt that would help better centralize the program and bring more connection between the men’s and women’s side of the game.

“Our mission is to create the best conditions to develop soccer in Germany as a whole,” Haupt said. “We want to be the home of German soccer.”

From there, Erin Ridley of the San Jose Earthquakes’ girls program led a session designed around dictating the rhythm of play before nearly everyone in attendance headed back to Maples for possibly the highlight of the weekend: a Q & A with Earthquakes manager Matias Almeyda.

Fresh off of a 3-0 win over rivals LA Galaxy in front of 50,000 people, Almeyda proved honest and candid in the one-hour event, answering any and all questions.

First, he was asked why he chose to manage the Quakes after several successful years in both Argentina and Mexico.

“I’m not interested in how big the club is, I’m interested in relationships,” he said. “To me, football is the same everywhere in the world. We’re not chasing money, we’re not chasing  lights, we’re simply chasing an objective. You can do it with hard work even without the names.”

Then he addressed his playing style.

“Football has already been invented, none of us will be table two do anything different than anything that has happened in the last 200 years,” he said. “I believe in hard work and working together as a team…from that point, that’s where football grows.”

The legendary Argentine then shared that his goal with GM Jesse Fioranelli was to have 80 percent of the team be made up of homegrown players, with an emphasis placed on the team, rather than the star.

“I don’t believe in stars. Stars are in the sky and it’s very hard to reach them,” he said. “To me, that’s proof that it’s better to have hard, collective work, rather than just one or two stars.”

Following that, Gunn led one more field session alongside a goalkeeping distribution lesson from FC Barcelona youth coach Ricard Segarra Aragay before the event finally wrapped up after three days of continued education.

“I really am grateful that NorCal puts this on,” said North Marin United’s Patricia Johnson. “I get so much from drawing from the experiences these high-caliber coaches in soccer.”

Added Australian youth coach Peter Broadfoot: “(The event) was professionally run, the speakers were brilliant, the field sessions were right on the money, I liked how it’s not mandated, it’s not prescribed, it’s really just to open your mind up and build your own philosophy.”