The very first blog (written 11/18/2021) ..
My name is @1uis0choa and I’m currently watching Miracle (2004), relaxing, the night before I coach the last match of my middle school boys’ soccer season. Tomorrow is a big day. We, Washington Latin PCS, have made it to the Capital Cup Championship (aka the middle school soccer state final). We got to the final after declaring ourselves public charter school champs last week. I’m watching Miracle (2004) because it’s a great sports movie and because I like the motivational speech Coach Herb Brooks tells the players before they face the Russians in the semi-finals.
This past fall season has been one of the best soccer seasons I have been a part of. The first one was back in Peru in 2016. I went on a month long trip to Lima where I visited family and also went to play soccer. After a few days of landing my father signed me and my little brother to the academy rec training practices. After a few training sessions, we were invited to tryout for the elite academy. We both made it to the team and luckily for us, there was a tournament at the end of the month.. a few days before before we booked our return flight. In the end my team made it to the final, won, got invited to another tournament, and won that too.
This fall season (August-November 2021), I was lucky to be involved in three different seasons. The first team was a u9 travel team made up of second grade girls while the second team was made up of middle school boys from Washington DC. The third team was my annual COED (men’s and women’s) 7v7 team. I was a player/manager for that team.
This fall season was the first season I coached a soccer team, and I was put in charge of two. Before signing the coaching contract for my first team, I had no coaching licenses, and my only real qualification was that I played at the collegiate level for an NCAA division 3 university. My good friend Jonathan, a goalie that played with me in college, told me about coaching and encouraged me to take the job. At the time I was a cashier at a well-known pizza place and resold high valued sneakers. I decided to give the coaching job a try and I am so glad I did.
As I look back on the season, I can tell that I have grown and matured as a person. As a player, you show up to the practices and games, work hard, and try your best to give it all you can. As a coach, its not that simple. I found out that in order to have a successful week of soccer, it was important to study my team’s previous matches and prepare practices accordingly. If my team was struggling to get out of a high press, having trouble finding gaps in the midfield, or getting too excited in the final third, I would search the internet for drills/games that would help my team improve in those areas. I would structure my practices using the US Soccer Federation recommendation, “Play, Practice, Play.” More often then not, I was able to get through to my team and help them improve as a whole. Below is how I would structure my training sessions:
Training Session Structure (60 min):
- 10 min – Rondos and Warm-Up
- 5 min – Team talk
- 20 min – Competitive/Educational Drills
- 25 min – Scrimmage
I really this training structure because it gives me the opportunity to discuss with the team my intentions for the day’s training session. I have them start doing rondo’s immediately and once everyone is ready, we warm up doing dynamic stretches and leg muscle exercises. We then go over the previous game, talking about the good things we did and things that we struggled with. I then explain the drills and have them play for about 5-7 minutes. I bring them in to discuss what they think the drill is supposed to help them improve and send them off to do the drill for another 12-15 min or so. I let them have a water break before we play a scrimmage for the rest of the time.
Another thing I have learned is how to communicate properly with the parents of my players. For my u9 girls travel team, I would send out a weekly email outlining what we would focus on during training and the details of the weekend’s match. For my middle school boys team, I would send out emails with info about gameday rosters, game locations and times. Sometimes I would have to explain to parents why their players weren’t getting a lot of playing time and I would always respond politely. I had to make sure everything was ready for tournaments, which included making sure payment went through, roster’s were updated, and waivers were signed. Not going to lie here, it was stressful at times but I managed and learned how to overcome obstacles.
Like I said earlier, tomorrow my middle school team play their last game of the season. They have the opportunity to become Washington DC middle school champions and end the season 10-0-0. And this weekend I coach my u9 girls travel team in the last tournament of the season. I hope both teams have a great end of the season match! I sure am happy how my first season as coach went and I’m excited for the future.