Summer Coaching Symposium Clinician: Margueritte Aozasa
Note: This is the third in a four-part series profiling the clinicians headlining NorCal Premier Soccer’s 2023 NorCal Coaching Symposium. The event, which will be held June 9-11 in Oakland, will be co-hosted by USL Championship club Oakland Roots SC. To sign up for the symposium, click here. Third up is UCLA head coach Margueritte Aozasa, who recently coached the Bruins to their second-ever NCAA title in her first season at the helm. A Mountain View native, Aozasa starred locally for MVLA Soccer Club and Los Altos High School before playing collegiately at Santa Clara University. During that time, she also began coaching at MVLA before joining the Stanford staff in May of 2015. There, she helped the Cardinal to two national titles in seven years before UCLA hired her last year.
Northern California native Margueritte Aozasa may be new to the senior head coaching level, but in her short time, she’s already made a name for herself as one of the best coaches in all of college soccer.
Her first season as the head coach of UCLA couldn’t have gone any better as the Bruins compiled a 22-2-1 record that was capped off with a 3-2 double overtime win against North Carolina in the NCAA National Championship game.
And now, fresh off of that dream debut season, Aozasa is headed to the NorCal Coaching Symposium next month to share some of the lessons that brought her program their second-ever College Cup.
“We try to lead with transparency, we try to lead with perspective, the guiding light of what I do is we want all of our players to leave our program having had a very positive and meaningful experience and that’s aside from soccer,” Aozasa said when asked about her coaching philosophy. “From a soccer standpoint, we really put emphasis on development. We know that our players, one they like to be challenged so we’re constantly asking questions of them tactically and technically, kind of pushing them in that way because that’s why they’re in our program, they enjoy that.”
As the leader of a nationally-renowned program, it isn’t just Aozasa’s job to win games, but also to develop players for the next level.
“That’s what we’re kind of always asking ourselves, ‘is what we’re doing preparing them to be not only one of the best college players or best college teams, but is it actually preparing them to be successful as a pro?’” she said.
Part of the way she does is is by creating a positive environment that has been paramount to all of her teams, from her time back at MVLA all the way through her integration into the college game.
“We felt so fortunate that we had a great team in place, a talented team in place, we saw our job as to facilitate an environment where they can bring that and how to bring the best out of players but do it in a way that’s fun and enjoyable,” Aozasa said. “They want to perform, they want to play, they play with freedom, they play with creativity.”
This summer’s event will be one of the first times Aozasa leads sessions and lectures in front of other coaches, and it’s a challenge that she’s relishing.
“I really can appreciate coaches who invest in their own development and invest in their education,” she said. “My hope is that the sessions they have with me will be worthwhile. I haven’t run a session per se, but this year I was able to share our philosophy and share lessons I’ve learned in leading a program like UCLA.”