This fall the San Francisco Elite Academy unveiled several new programs to support the soccer and overall development of its youth athletes. SAQ+ and Peak Performance are two such programs and they are already in full swing and having a positive impact on SFEA players.
SAQ+ stands for strength, agility, quickness plus injury prevention. It’s a program that SFEA developed in partnership with Pro Performance Sports, a San Francisco-based strength and conditioning company that works with top athletes and was founded by Barry McCabe. Barry has joined SFEA’s coaching staff as lead coach for athletic development and injury prevention, and can already be seen working with SFEA teams out on the fields across the city.
"Our SAQ+ program is unique on a number of levels," said Chris Flanagan, SFEA Director of Soccer Operations. "Fundamentally it's about strength, speed and injury prevention. But the way the curriculum has been developed makes it also about improving performance at just the right time during the playing season.
Through SAQ+, SFEA teams work with Coach McCabe several times a season with customized exercises focussed on specific results and tailored to generate a varied workload. The goal is to help players become more fit while making them less susceptible to injury and more likely to be working with high energy levels at the end of the season for showcases and cup finals.
“In addition, we avoided a silo approach with this program where a specialized trainer just takes over for a couple of sessions here and there and the ideas all disappear in between. Coach McCabe is not only leading our players but he's leading our coaches, teaching them core exercises that they will run with their team on their own. And best of all we're testing players so that we can see the results and so our players can both push themselves and have important data points to share with college coaches and recruiters."
The other major program SFEA developed for this season is Peak Performance, a unique program that helps SFEA players develop the mental fortitude required to be a top athlete. Led by Yvonne Gomez, a former Olympic athlete and recognized leader in sports psychology, this program helps SFEA athletes develop confidence, game routines, focussing techniques an effective goal setting. Players meet as a team in private sessions with Coach Gomez, who beyond working with SFEA is also the mental performance coach for the University of San Francisco. Several SFEA teams have already had their first sessions with "Gogo" (as Yvonne is affectionately called) and all SFEA players have come away from their sessions with tools on how to better mentally prepare themselves for the long playing year ahead.
“The benefits of a program like Peak Performance are part of what separates great athletes from top athletes, said, Tom Atencio, SFEA Director of Coaching and Player Development. “The mental aspect of soccer becomes more and more important as players progress. And the best part is that the lessons they are receiving with this program carry over to all aspects of their lives. We are helping our players become more focussed, resilient, and goal-oriented.”
Both the SAQ+ and Peak Performance programs support SFEA's commitment to offering San Francisco's top youth soccer players a development pathway to next level soccer––whether college or professional play. To learn more about the San Francisco Elite Academy or these programs please feel free to call the office or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
San Francisco Elite Academy teams completed their pre-season preparations this past Sunday and are looking forward to the league and cup season just ahead. Over the summer, all the teams were given a customized training program and as pre-season training sessions began in late July (varied by team) the players were hard at work reconnecting as team.
As part of SFEA's pre-season program, all our teams participated in various highly competitive tournaments in order to work on fitness, team chemistry, and to provide the coaches with a roadmap for team and individual development goals.
The 2001 Girls NPL team got things started with a successful trip to San Diego to play in the Summer Surf Cup. The team finished the weekend with a 2-1-1 record and their only loss, a 1-0 setback, coming to eventual tournament champion and number one ranked team from Oregon, Crossfire United ECNL.
In their other games, SFEA 01G team earned a 2-2 tie vs Los Angeles' CDA Slammers FC EGSL, the #8 ranked team in Southern California and grabbed a convincing 2-0 win of San Diego's own Force Ocampo, ranked #25 in So Cal. In the final game on Monday, labeled as "showcase A" because it featured the top two teams not to make the semifinals, Slammers and SFEA were matched up for the 3rd time in the last 7 months. The previous 2 games ended in ties but this time SFEA came out the victor after breaking a 1-1 halftime deadlock with a stunning upper corner free kick by with just 8 minutes left in the match.
Back in the Bay Area, multiple SFEA teams participated in the Mustang Stampede tournaments, and the SFEA 99/00 Norcal Boys went to the Stanford Summer Classic and returned as champions of the top division for U19.
The tournament play was a culminating activity for pre-season calendars that saw teams get back together on July 31st and begin regular three-times-a-week trainings with some teams putting extra days for fitness and team building. We're proud of all our teams and their hard work and wish them the very best for the fall season.
The SF Elite Academy
Our mission is to provide an elite level program for soccer players in San Francisco.