Get Newsletter

Quique Setien Coaching Course: Day 1

More than 150 coaches were treated to a world class education opportunity Saturday at the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto as the first day of NorCal Premier Soccer’s Quique Setien coaching course kicked off with nearly eight hours of instruction.

The former FC Barcelona, Real Betis, and Las Palmas manager delivered two lectures and led two field sessions for youth and college coaches from all over the state who looked to further their understanding of the beautiful game.

“For NorCal courses, I always come if I can,” said Asian-American Youth Soccer Academy executive director and former Chinese National Team player Yang Zhou. “This time I learned different things in the classroom and on the field. In the morning there were a lot of rondo games. It was really good, I love it.”

Ahead of the first day in person, Setien hosted a brief webinar on Friday to introduce himself and his philosophies to the NorCal coaching community in order for the attending coaches to come into Saturday with more context.

According to Setien, it’s extremely important to establish clear principles of your game model that all of the players know and understand. The Spanish manager defined his principles as: running and thinking, bravery, positional balance, order, trusting and following the plan, and convincing players of his ideas rather than imposing them.

He expanded on those principles Saturday morning in his first lecture.

“You have to be able to pass to your players and they have to be able to understand the situation when they receive the ball,” he said. “I trust the players more than they trust themselves. You have to if you want to build out of the back.”

To demonstrate his philosophies, Setien then pulled up a series of short videos from his Barcelona and Real Betis teams building out of the back while providing explanations of how his players succeeded in La Liga matches against some of the world’s best players and teams.

For Setien, the most important thing in soccer is to keep the ball as much as possible and advance it up the field as rapidly as possible. He explained that for a long time he didn’t have a clear philosophy as a player, but following a game against Johan Cruyff’s FC Barcelona in which his team didn’t touch the ball for multiple minutes in a row, Setien fell in love with the possession-based, fluid, attacking style.

“The priority is to play forward as quickly as you can,” he said. “You have to remain calm and try to play forward but at the same time you have to manage control of the ball. Players have to constantly move and try to get in behind the opponent. This is the way to create space going forward.”

Setien demonstrated these ideas in the field session that followed, running a full training with the NorCal 2005 and 2006 PDP State pool that included a brief warm up, rondos, and then three different drills designed to replicate the process of building out of the back and defensive transitioning in the most game-like way possible.

“Building from the back is really good for the high school level. For me, our club is really young and this is also useful for our players,” Zhou said. “They’re also new to soccer and they don’t know how to build the game from the back. We have to teach them throughout the season but it’s been hard to get. Today we saw a different way, you saw when the ball was on the outside and when it was in the center…it’s really useful even for our young kids.”

Following a break for lunch, Setien was back at it in the classroom, this time taking questions posed by those in attendance and giving detailed responses that included visual explanations and examples from his time coaching in La Liga.

Setien responded to inquiries for over an hour before returning back outside for the final field activity of the day.

After working on progressing the ball up the field in the morning, it was time for the final phase as the PDP players were tasked with a dynamic session that had them build up through the middle of the field and attempt to finish on goal.

“I like to be out here, I love playing soccer,” San Ramon FC and PDP player Tristan Casella said. “(Setien) is a really good coach, he taught me a lot.”