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Quique Setien Coaching Course: Day 2

After a successful first day on Saturday, more than 150 youth and college coaches returned Sunday to day two of NorCal Premier Soccer’s Quique Setien coaching education course, held on Stanford University’s campus in Palo Alto.

For the second straight day, coaches from all over the state were treated to two lectures and two field sessions led by former FC Barcelona, Real Betis, and Las Palmas manager Quique Setien.

“It’s been an awesome weekend,” said Granite Bay FC coach Jonathan Ward. “Yesterday’s session of offensive transitions and how to play out of the back, at least for my U9 boys, is going to be really good. As a club we’re going to be able to take some of this curriculum and help build a pretty solid program going forward. I’m excited.”

With much of Saturday spent working on building out of the back and offensive transitions, Sunday’s lessons shifted to the defensive side of the game, where Setien laid out his philosophies clearly at the beginning of the morning’s first lecture.

“The better you transition to the defensive phase, the shorter it will be,” Setien said. “I want my players to recover the ball as quickly as possible, not to wait for the opponent to give it back to us.”

In order to accomplish that, Setien briefed the coaches in attendance on six different aspects that he finds important: the mechanisms to recover the ball, proper defensive orientation, getting players to give short but high-intensity efforts, reducing the space the opponent has with high pressure, moving players on the other side of the field into a more central area, and preventing the opponent from dribbling at you.

Setien’s goal is always to recover the ball as soon as possible because he believes that possessing the ball is paramount in the game and the higher up the pitch it’s won, the closer his teams will be to a scoring position.

To give examples, he brought up video from how his teams defended at FC Barcelona and Real Betis while talking through the rationale of the way he set his team up and the decision making process of the players.

“Even against high level players, when you press high, it creates problems for them,” he said. “The high press also allows you to reduce the spaces in between your lines.”

From there, Setien led the first of two field sessions with the help of NorCal’s PDP State pool, who were tasked with several different transition drills. Some of the coaching points he stressed were body orientation, everyone being on the same page, and instilling a sense of defensive responsibility among the players.

“One thing I learned was to make sure I understand the space and where to be instead of just following the ball, always figuring out where I should be as a No. 6,” said PDP and Sunnyvale Alliance midfielder Rami Smati. “There’s nothing better for a footballer just to know that you’re being coached by one of the best coaches in the world.”

From there, Setien answered questions before wrapping up the two-day course with another field session on the pristine playing surface at Stanford.

“For me, this is kind of like a dream,” said PDP and San Jose Surf player Cesar Sanchez. “My favorite team is Barcelona and he’s coached them.”