Leonard Griffin, USF Men's Soccer and USSF A Licensed Coach, Joins SFEA as Director of Coaching for Boys
SAN FRANCISCO, CA. APRIL 25, 2019--The San Francisco Elite Academy announced today that Leonard Griffin, recently named Men's Head Soccer Coach at the University of San Francisco, has joined SFEA as the Director of Coaching for Boys. Griffin will lead the Academy's boys program and its coaching staff as well as contribute his significant technical and college pathway expertise to benefit all the club's players. Coach Griffin, who holds a USSF ‘A’ license, also joins a staff of 15 A and B licensed coaches, affording SFEA players and teams a level of technical coaching expertise and experience entirely unmatched in the San Francisco Bay Area.
"The addition of Leonard to our coaching staff shows our commitment to providing the very best player development environment," said Joe Dugan, President of the San Francisco Elite Academy. "Our goal has been and remains producing the best outcomes for our players, families, coaches & teams. Leonard has been successful everywhere he’s been. We’re looking forward to having lots of success with Leonard now as part of SFEA."
Griffin arrives in San Francisco from the University of Portland where he served three years as an assistant coach for the men's soccer program. In his first season as the Pilots' assistant coach, Griffin helped guide the team to a 2016 West Coast Conference Championship. He coached three Far West Region Team players and MLS players: Benji Michel (Orlando City), Paul Christensen (Atlanta United), Kris Reaves (FC Dallas) and Rey Ortiz (1st Team).Prior to joining the Portland staff, he spent two years at UCLA where the Bruins advanced to the NCAA College Cup finals in 2014. Griffin coached nine all-Pac-12 players, including 2014 MAC Hermann Trophy winner Leo Stoltz and 2015 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Jose Hernandez.
Griffin spent a season as an assistant coach at California in 2013, guiding Cal to a NCAA Quarterfinals appearance. At the time, the Golden Bears received the No. 4 overall ranking in the NCAA, which was the highest ranking in school history.
Prior to Cal, Griffin spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Saint Mary's. There, he led the Gaels to the NCAA Elite Eight and a WCC Championship in 2011.
Griffin attended UCLA from 2000-03. The 2003 All-American honoree led the Bruins to an NCAA title in 2002. Following his college career, Griffin spent six seasons with the Chicago Fire (2004-06), the Columbus Crew (2007-08), and the Los Angeles Galaxy (2006) while also playing professionally for the Portland Timbers (2007-08).
About the San Francisco Elite Academy (SFEA)
The San Francisco Elite Academy (SFEA) is the top college placement youth soccer program in San Francisco, in just four years we have over 30 former players now competing in college soccer. We are developing the next generation of players to the highest standards, ensuring they receive the necessary training and support to successfully represent San Francisco at the highest level of play, our community, and our country.
The San Francisco Elite Academy, along with so many others across the nation, are mourning the passing of a San Francisco soccer legend. Steve Negoesco, former University of San Francisco Men’s Soccer coach and winner of four national championships and 22 conference championships, passed away Sunday evening at the age of 93.
Coach Negoesco, for whom the University of San Francisco’s soccer field is aptly named, positively impacted so many players, coaches and people that it’s impossible to measure. Since its inception, the San Francisco Elite Academy has enjoyed a unique and close partnership with the University of San Francisco men’s and women’s soccer programs, and we are acutely aware that the relationship exists in no small part to the amazing work and accomplishments of Coach Negoesco. He will be truly missed but forever remembered.
A bay area soccer icon in his own right, John Doyle--former USF Don player, US National Team player and longtime professional player and coach--shared his thoughts about Coach Negoesco. “It’s a sad day when a man who was so influential to so many ways passes away," said Doyle. He had extraordinary real life experiences and he was always willing to take the time to share them with us. He gave me a chance at my dream school and always let me do what was best for my career, not always the USF soccer team. He said to me that what was good for you is good for the school. Many college coaches never let their players have that opportunity. I owe Steve a huge debt of gratitude in forming my career. Thank you, Steve. You are a legend and you will never be forgotten.”
Please read more via the links below on Coach Steve Negoesco and the many beautiful tributes being shared by those now honoring his memory.
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Examiner
Soccer America (subscription)
Expert performance is the result of focused, deliberate practice. Our starting point is the culture we create at our practice sessions. Training in the secluded confines at USF Negoesco is calm. Coaches don’t need to yell; players can actually listen. Respect is mutual. Players are devoted to the lessons of their training, so they can execute the high-speed movements and exact timing of their passing. Nobody but coaches and players step on the field. The turf becomes their classroom. It is a distinctly different quality of environment than the medley of teams across many clubs and ages at the city’s public soccer complexes. We train there too -- everyone does -- but Negoesco teaches our players what real practice is meant to be. We don’t show up late. We don’t goof off. We don’t disrupt our teammates. We then take this culture to every field we train on.
A typical travel team in San Francisco might train 75 to 85 times a year.We train 110-130 times a year, depending on each team’s summer program. It works out to nearly 50% more training sessions than typical SF travel teams. Better still is the fact our players train with highly-experienced, highly-licensed coaches and often in a focussed training environment free from the multiple distactrions often present on city firls. It all adds up to not just more training but better training.
The players enjoy it. It is not a grind. It is not stressful. They are applying themselves, transforming their wishful dreams into personal goals. They know it takes effortful work to develop mastery. They see the results. They enjoy the work. They love their coaches. They are all doing something they love to do.
The SF Elite Academy
Our mission is to provide an elite level program for soccer players in San Francisco.