San Francisco has been sheltering in place since mid-March, and although players and teams are no longer training outdoors together, the training and learning has never stopped for the San Francisco Elite Academy (SFEA).
The SFEA coaches quickly adapted their training sessions to meet the needs of their respective teams. Sebastian Carrasco, Lead Coach for Athletic Development, holds regular workout sessions via zoom across multiple teams, helping the players find new ways to stay fit. While most coaches are utilizing video conferencing to meet with their teams, other coaches such as Chris Flanagan are using alternative means to engage their teams. Coach Chris, who is concerned about his players screen time during the shelter in place, created an alternative way for his players to engage as a team. “I chose to use an asynchronous learning model where my team would be given weekly prompts and then share their work publicly. I built a website, to support this concept. I made it a place to offer them direction, encouragement and links; and, importantly, a place to see and share and celebrate their work as well as the work of their teammates.”
While physical training is important during the shelter-in-place order, the SFEA coaches and staff are utilizing guest speakers to improve the players Soccer IQ. Topics include: the college pathway, playing professionally and internationally and mental health. Guest speakers include Welsh international player and Seattle OL Reign player, Jess Fishlock, MBE, Jonathan Orozco, Oakland Roots SC (NISA), David Abidor, Oakland Roots SC (NISA), John Pulskamp, Sporting FC, Marlon Vargas, Seattle Sounders, Katie Duong, University of Minnesota, U20 US National Team, and Camila Bodden, Carnegie Mellon, and Brian Baxter, Sports Psychology, Amplify Sports.
The SFEA players are actively engaged in their weekly training sessions. Coach Tom Atencio, Director of Player Development, has empowered his players to drive their engagement. The 2004, 2005, 2006 girls team have worked together to build and understand the global soccer path for women, learning what it takes to play soccer throughout the world. Additionally these players have spent sessions providing feedback to their teammates, on their strengths, weaknesses and potential. Coach Ricky Gutierrez has players from his 3 teams make presentations in front of their peers explaining “Team Tactical Principles”, giving the players a chance to practice speaking in front of their peers. Players are also using social media to demonstrate their skills by participating in the #StayAtHome challenge.
Coach Jeff Wilson, has held sessions with the older players, 2005 and above, to work on their college profiles and to understand the college recruitment process. And it is not all about the players, coaches Bobby Quinlan & Jim Millinder have both held video calls with parents, to check in on them, provide updates and give them an opportunity to socialize with other parents.
Coach Chance Daniel sums it up well, “Not being able to play games or even practice together is a huge bummer, but I have been really impressed with our players commitment to
development and the pursuit of excellence. Their energy/love for the game and their club mates has been nothing short of amazing. “
The SF Elite Academy
Our mission is to provide an elite level program for soccer players in San Francisco.