Get Newsletter

Symposium Clinician Profile: Natalia Astrain

Note: This is the third in a five part series highlighting the clinicians who will present at this summer’s NorCal Premier Soccer Coaching Symposium. Coaches can sign up for the event, which takes place June 7-9 at the Oakland Roots training facility, by clicking here.

For many coaches in NorCal Premier Soccer, perhaps no club has dominated the philosophies, ideas, and principles of what they hope to achieve quite like FC Barcelona.

Which is why NorCal is pleased to welcome former FC Barcelona Femini manager Natalia Astrain to present at this summer’s Coaching Symposium.

Astrain, the first female coach in Spain to obtain a UEFA Pro License, will arrive in Oakland bringing her experience at arguably the most successful club in the 21st century, alongside other stops, like with Atletico Madrid, the U.S. U17 National Team, and the Kansas City Current.

“I’m very passionate about the beautiful game and my background with FC Barcelona was the inflection point for my career,” Astrain said. “I was privileged to have this opportunity, being around amazing coaches and players every day.”

“Furthermore, I’ve had the opportunity to join other environments,” she added. “The most important thing is all the people I’ve met and learned from. I’m very curious and always want to learn more and at every place I’ve been, I have good memories.”

While Astrain currently isn’t coaching, she’s been honing her mind and learning more about the game in a different way: broadcasting.

The Spaniard was part of the broadcasting team for the last Men’s and Women’s World Cups and serves as a commentator for Telemundo’s coverage of the Premier League. Later this summer, she will head to Paris for Olympic coverage.

“Broadcasting the games and being at big events gives me the opportunity to see different national teams and different levels, and I think this makes my coaching experience a little more rich and complex,” she said. “It’s not directly coaching but the fact that I need to prepare for all the games I’m broadcasting, the stadiums and different games, provides me more knowledge in general.”

So what can coaches attending the symposium hope to learn from Astrain, with her pedigree as a Barcelona coaching alum?

“My passion for the beautiful game surrounds the possession side of it,” she said. “But it’s not just possession, it’s possession with a purpose. It’s important to win, but for me, it’s important how we win.”

While Astrain has remained dogmatic with her approach to the game philosophically, her experience coaching in the United States, where she has also earned a USSF Pro License, slightly changed the way she thought about her favorite pastime.

“The foundations of the game I love are in possession and positional play, but the ingredients I’ve added from the American style of play involve having the ball with a purpose but mixing in transitional moments,” she said. “In the United States transitions are more important and I’ve grown a lot as a coach in this specific area of the game.”