The idea is to bring a coach in during the game. You can see how difficult this could be, with the player having to think of and find the right time and place to coach. The player needs to do everything right. And if they do everything right, they will get feedback from the coach on what is working and what isn’t working. When and where to practice are important, too. You can play, but you have your opportunity to coach.
How have you tried to get more coaches in professional soccer and what are some of the challenges?
Because we are so geographically close together, you can find coaches easily, especially now that MLS players may not be living far away for the season, so players have an easier time recruiting coaches. However, it’s hard to find high quality coaches around the world. Not only is it hard to find, but there is also the problem of who can teach you the tactics?
When did the idea for a soccer academy come about?
I had been working in New York City’s youth-football facilities for the last 20 years, and they wanted a change. The kids who live in New York City are better educated for the sport, but there is a lack of facilities for coaches. We found a facility in Florida and that was just what we needed to have the opportunity, and for two years we have been working on it. Over the past few years it has developed and grown quite a bit. The first class is now 25 in all, and we have 18 coaches working for us.
How have you used soccer in your work at the Academy?
I teach a lot of the fundamentals of play. For example, the basics of passing – when to turn and when not to turn, all kinds of details about dribbling and moving the ball around a pitch can be taught within soccer. So I don’t think there are many people who can do soccer as well as I do. It’s also very challenging to teach someone, as you have to teach a team how to coach themselves – not only at the pitch, but in a variety of ways while they watch and learn.
What is the academy like overall?
The club has four fields, a high school ground where we have two sports and a soccer pitch that was used as a soccer field. It also has a gymnasium that has two pitches, two hockey fields and an outdoor facility with an ice rink for youth leagues. So we have an environment that is just right for teaching
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