As the premier destination for the city’s top soccer players, the San Francisco Elite Academy is proud of its many high school boys and girls players. On the boys’ side of our program, over the next week, a large number of SFEA players and coaches will face one another in high stakes games for the San Francisco high school, boys’ winter soccer playing season.
On Friday 1/19, at 3.30pm at Paul Goode Field, University High School will host Lick-Wilmerding and the match will host some 15 SFEA players and two SFEA coaches. University’s varsity team features 7 SF Elite Academy boys players--Nico Petry Mitchell, Luke Bronson, Henry Gorelik, Zeke Ume-Ukeje, Max Edelstein, Owen Flanagan, and Nicolas Galleno. On the Lick side, there are also 7 players from the SF Elite Academy--Nathan Logam, Will Roos, Harrison Gable, Max Beldner, Wyatt Young, Zeke Ruben-Moore, Ruben Rathje and Alex Koh-Bell.
It’s not just players going head to head. Chris Flanagan, SFEA’s Director of Soccer Operations and U19 coach, is the assistant coach at University. And Lick is led by Barry McCabe, SFEA’s Director of Athletic development and injury prevention.
The following Wednesday, on 1/24 at Kezar Stadium at 7pm, the intense sporting rivalry between Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep and St. Ignatius Prep continues when the teams meet in soccer. Beyond Sacred Heart longtime head coach, Jeff Wilson, SFEA’s Technical Director for Girls as well as head coach of two SFEA teams (2003 Boys and 2003 Girls), there will be some 16 SFEA players seeking honors in this annual rivalry match. SFEA players at Sacred Heart include Theo Malliaras, Parker Whitcomb, Ian Eadie, Luke Belber, Alec Perliss, Dash Biesemeyer, Eli Streiker-Hirt, Ellis Brenneman and Alex Bonnville; and, on the St. Ignatius side of the field Alex Bailey, Nick Brown, Kol Van Giesen, Chris Miglio, Armando Malton, Eric Connell and Reid Pollino will feature.
If you’re a fan of San Francisco youth soccer don’t miss these two rivalry high school matches and the chance to see some great winter soccer.
What do you feel makes a great soccer coach?
The best coaches possess a clear vision and understand their values, and they work tirelessly, through consistent and clear communication, to make sure their players understand them as well. Top coaches should also be students of the game. If coaches are not demanding of themselves to always get better, how can they ask the same from their players?
How would you describe your soccer and/or player development philosophy?
I put a premium on developing soccer awareness through training activities that favor learning through what is often described as “open” or “random” activities. This means learning by playing the game itself with all its ever-changing variables. And then I supplement that play with specific, carefully considered conditions that bring out the needed technique and tactics to support discovery among the players. In this regard, I’m a bit of a soccer session junkie; I’m always studying, dreaming up, or constructing activities to deliver the kind of soccer game moments I want my players to experience over and over and learn from in their own unique way.
Yet there’s more to development and a piece that is often overlooked: Coaches need to demand that their players be accountable for part of the development equation, too. The idea that a player can turn up two or three times a week for training and become a top player is ridiculous. Players must be passionate students of the game, spending off days getting touches however possible or training for strength and conditioning or watching a match or video to understand (and visualize) how the best players and teams operate on the field.
Why are you excited to work with players at the SF Elite Academy?
In my professional life, I’ve always emphasized surrounding myself with people that I felt were better than me in terms of experience and know how. I want to be pushed, and I love learning and getting better. Working at the SF Elite Academy has allowed me to do just that as I’m on staff with some of the finest soccer coaches around. It’s literally a dream come true.
Who was/is your favorite soccer player and why?
Zinedine Zidane. He had it all--mastery of technique, power, and gall--and he won it all and did so when the lights were brightest, whether it was for club or country. I was fortunate enough to have been in Paris when France won the World Cup in 1998, and after the final I will never forget the projected, laser image of Zidane on the Arc di Triomphe or the surreal street celebrations that ensued. In 2006, I happened to see Zidane’s quarterfinal performance against Brazil on an airplane headrest TV while on a flight to the east coast. I don’t think I moved an inch for two hours; I knew I was watching perfection and one of the greatest soccer performances of all time. If Zidane took a bad touch in the whole game I don’t remember it, and he carried his whole French team to a win against some of the most talented soccer players and one of the best teams in the world.
Who is your favorite soccer coach and why?
Over the years, this has changed with styles and systems that go in and out of vogue but it would probably be Carlo Ancelotti, regardless of his recent abrupt dismissal from Bayern Munich. This is a coach who has won the Champions League with three different teams, and the pedigrees of the clubs he’s led--AC Milan, Juventus, PSG, Real Madrid, Chelsea, and Bayern Munich--are incredible and the titans of the game. He’s won Ligue 1, the EPL, the Bundesliga and Serie A. Beyond the many deserved accolades, Ancelotti is also recognized for his tactical versatility and working his ideas about systems of play around the strengths of his players while giving them room to operate creatively, too. And, importantly, Carlo Ancelotti is one of the true gentlemen of the game in an era where these type of managers are harder to come by.
What's been your favorite moment as a soccer coach?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have been around special moments and memorable wins. While I was coaching with Evolution FC in the 2014-15 State Cup, State Division semifinal, my U12 team played in a horrible rainstorm up in Napa but beat our rival from the Barcelona Academy (now DeAnza South) 2-0 with timely goals and a reserve keeper to earn a trip to the final. That same tournament we also beat a Mill Valley team in the quarterfinal that had outplayed us even though we held an early 1-0 lead. When they finally equalized with minutes left and were still relishing their chances in extra time, we immediately answered when a guest player from a younger team somehow beat two defenders and the keeper to get a winner in the final seconds. He told me later his younger team had lost their State Cup run on penalties, and there was “no way he was going to let that happen again.” That player is now a freshman at UHS where I'm the assistant varsity coach and I really look forward to working with him again. You can do anything with determination like that.
But, honestly, it’s not the big matches I recall the most; it’s those where my team simply takes it to another level and earn a glimpse of their collective potential. There's plenty of examples but I’d probably just pick a tournament game from what I think was the year before the State Cup mentioned above. It wasn’t for a trophy but just one of those games when everything came together. The boys were playing a very good San Juan Lightning team that hadn’t lost more than one game in over a year and we'd just completed a sort of lousy, low-energy warm-up. And then the boys went out and won 7-0. Nothing could go wrong. Players were combining and ripping through their opponent like they were not even there. Every shot seemed to bend ridiculously and rifle into the net. I recall turning to the guys on the bench and apologizing about not knowing when I could get them into the match because, as I put it, we were watching “pure magic” on the field. As a coach, those are exactly the moments you’re always chasing after.
SFEA Partners with Dr. James Chen, Orthopedic Surgeon and Sports Medicine Specialist MD to Support Academy Players
The San Francisco Elite Academy (SFEA) is delighted to announce a partnership with James L Chen, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist with Advanced Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in San Francisco. Dr. Chen, a medical provider within the Sutter Health network, will accommodate SFEA players with a sports injury when making an appointment for a medical consultation and guarantee an appointment within 24 – 48 hours of calling Advanced Orthopedics & Sports Medicine.
Advanced Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in San Francisco provides acute and chronic injury treatment, complete Orthopedic care, concussion evaluation and management with on site x-ray and ultrasound available. Dr. Chen earned his medical degree from the University of California Davis and completed his residency at the University of Hawaii Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu. In addition, he completed a sports medicine, arthroscopy, knee and shoulder fellowship at the University of California San Francisco, where he is an Assistant Clinical Professor. Dr. Chen is also the Fellowship Director for the San Francisco Sports Medicine Fellowship.
If an SFEA player would like an appointment, you may book an appointment online at www.aosportsmed.com, e-mail the clinic at email@example.com or call 415.900.3000. You may also contact Dr. Chen’s assistant directly or via text message at 415.481.3000, and be certain to mention that you are an San Francisco Elite Academy family, the name and birth-date of the injured athlete as well as the nature of the injury, and they will assist you scheduling an appointment. Finally, please contact your insurance company directly for questions about your coverage or billing.
“We are thrilled to be working with Dr. Chen to provide an added layer of support for players in our program that need of medical help. Just like Dr. Chen, the San Francisco Elite Academy believes in looking out for players and providing the best environment possible," said Joe Dugan, President of SFEA.
To read more about Dr. Chen you may visit: http://www.cpmc.org/dr-james-chen.html
Beginning this Friday, the San Francisco Elite Academy will hold six FREE "Elite Training" camps for youth soccer players, boys and girls, born between 2009 and 2005.
The camp program was conceived in conjunction with the San Francisco Vikings Soccer Club who generously facilitated the use of the new soccer field at Paul Goode in the Presidio to support this SFEA program. The San Francisco Elite academy will provide the first 80 players that register (enrollment is capped) expert coaching in technical development, an Elite Training t-shirt, and postcard evaluation at the end of the program. Each Elite Training camp will be led by Tom Atencio, USSF "A" License and SFEA Director of Player and Coaching Development, and include 4-5 other seasoned coaches, including Deejae Johnson (USSF A), Kurt Devlin (USSF A), Jeff Wilson (USSF A), and others.
"The goal of the Elite Training Camps program is to better serve youth soccer players looking for some extra time training, said Chris Flanagan, SFEA's Director of Soccer Operations. "In addition, we wanted the camps to involve our senior staff as well as other, local top coaches who we're delighted to work with in what can rightly be described as the perfect soccer setting of Paul Goode field."
Per Norcal and city playing rules, all players currently registered with a club should seek the permission of their Director of Coaching before registering for the camps. The registration link is available to those clubs that have pre-approval from their DOCs as well as interested individuals who contact SFEA about signing up.
SF ELITE ACADEMY CLUB NIGHT IS NEXT MONDAY NIGHT!
No SFEA teams will be practicing on Monday 3/6 so that all players and families may attend.
This is an important get-together with updates and information, and we also hope to welcome some new Academy players and families as well.
When: Monday March 6, 2017
Where: St. Stephens School, Donworth Hall
What: Presentations, Brief Team Meetings, Updates and More.
• Food & non-acoholic drinks will be served
• Mandatory for all coaches, players & members
5:45pm - 6:15pm - Check In
5:45pm - 7pm - Tacos + Non-Acoholic Drinks Served
6pm – 6:45pm - Coaches Meetings with their Spring Teams + QA*
*New Players and Familes encouraged to participate and also seek out their fall coach during what wil be an extended Q&A.
7pm-8pm Club Presentation
The SF Elite Academy
Our mission is to provide an elite level program for soccer players in San Francisco.