The San Francisco Elite Academy sent 7 teams to this year's premier national showcase, the Surf College Cup Showcase, and several made a statement about the quality of their team, players and coaches with terrific performances.
Leading the way was the 2001 Boys, which recently qualified for the spring NPL Champions League. The 2001 Boys won two matches and tied one at Surf, meaning they finished first in their group of six teams. During the showcase, seven different players claimed goals and the 2001 boys scored 9 goals over their three matches. Also, doing well in San Diego were the 99/00 Boys and 2002 Girls. Both teams finished third in their groups. The 99/00 boys went 1-1-1 to finish third among six teams, and the 2002 Girls went 2-1 to finish third among eight teams.
Best of all, each of SFEA's seven participating teams (99/00, 01, and 02 Boys, and 01, 02, 03, 04 Girls) got to play in a pristine playing setting that included over 500 participating college coaches. College coaches were regular fixtures along the sidelines of SFEA games and were introduced to SFEA players with team rosters with player information. Congratulations to all our SFEA teams for what was yet another good year at Surf College Cup.
The San Francisco Elite Academy 99-00 Boys NPL team claimed the title of the Premier Division of the 2017 Davis Legacy Premier Cup this past Sunday. The team won the title by defeating San Jose Earthquakes 2000 Boys PDA 2-1 after two first half goals--one from a back post header by center back Chris Miglo and the other from eventual team player of the tournament, Theo Malliaras, on a clever back heel at the near post almost immediately after being introduced late in the first half. After the Quakes got a goal back the game took on an end-to-end style and goalkeeper Armando Malton and his defenders made several key stops to preserve the win and the cup title.
The match capped a successful weekend for team that saw them win against fellow NPL 1 west division rival AFC Academy 2-1 (goals by Nico Petry-Mitchel, PK/unassisted, and Theo Malliaras assisted by Jack Benninger) and defeat Butte United Red 99 by the same 2-1 score (goals by Kol Van Giesen and Alex Bailey, assisted by Chris Miglio and Nicky Brown, respectively).
In the team's only other match of the weekend, on Sunday morning, they were held scoreless and fell 1-0 to the team they wold again face in the final, San jose Earthquakes 2000 Boys PDA, who did not concede a goal in the three games that led them into the final. The Sunday morning match was a hard-fought one that featured multiple chances for both teams as well as long breaks in play from free kicks and referees cautioning or speaking with players. By the end of the stop-and-start match, both coaches were already becoming aware that the morning game would be but a precursor to the afternoon final based on the tournament format and standings.
"We learned a little about ourselves this weekend and got important contributions from everyone," said '99/'00 boys head coach Chris Flanagan. "Our goal was to play in the final and get everyone involved in the games, which is a luxury that we don't always have in NPL 1 league play. I was delighted for Theo, who came off the bench to get two game winning goals, as well as for a number of other guys who played extra minutes or in positions they were less accustomed to. By the end of the weekend we were short on numbers for a variety of reasons but the team dug in and got the victory against a good CV Quakes team that hadn't conceded a goal in the tournament and had to feel confident after beating us in the morning. Before the final I told the guys you don't often get second chances in soccer or life, so go out there and take advantage of every moment."
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.
This past Sunday, in Sacramento at Columnes Junior College and in a near-100 degree heat, the 1998 San Francisco Elite Academy Boys claimed our program's first state championship by winning the U19 NorCal State Cup gold title against Diablo FC.
The 1998 Boys started the match slow, eventually allowing a Diablo FC goal that led to a 0-1 deficit within 15 minutes. Shortly thereafter, the 1998 Boys gained their rhythm and began to dominate the remainder of the first half. And, importantly, the SFEA boys were able to equalize in the 28th minute on a goal by Toshi Hensley.
After the halftime break and a few tactical adjustments from SFEA coach Tom Atencio, the 1998 Boys dominated both possession and shots, yet after 45 more minutes of play had no goals to show for it. The subsequent two, five-minute overtime periods saw both teams creating opportunities but still no goal to end the game.
The game would be decided with penalty kicks with SFEA shooting first. SFEA's Joey Galvez, Hermino Umanzor, and Greyson Gebhard Young all scored their kicks, respectively. And while Diablo FC had answered with two successful penalties of their own, on their third kick SFEA 1998 Boys goalkeeper Parker Whitcomb saved. After SFEA's Shayan Charlaghi scored to make the penalty kicks 4-2, in favor or SFEA, Parker came up big again, making yet another save and insuring the victory for the 1998 boys team.
The entire SF Elite Academy would like to congratulate the 1998 Boys and head coach Tom Atencio on this tremendous accomplishment!
The SF Elite Academy
Our mission is to provide an elite level program for soccer players in San Francisco.