Archive | Coaches RSS feed for this section

Brazil World Cup 2014: A Senda Ambassador’s Life in Rio de Janeiro, Part 2

Casey Grady is one of our Senda ambassadors who is currently living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is passionate about football and tries to play pickup games whenever he has free time. Casey is investigating Brazil’s street football culture and reporting back to us on his impressions.

Copacabana Futevôlei

If you’re in Brazil this summer for the World Cup, there is a good chance you will be watching or playing football every waking moment. Even though football is the greatest thing to ever exist in the history of humanity, perhaps you will want slightly different activities from time to time (gasp!). So if you find yourself feeling a little bit of footy overload, I have just the cure – footvolley!

Footvolley, futevôley in Portuguese, was invented right here in Rio at Copacabana Beach.  It is a pretty big deal here in Rio and there are even professional teams and leagues that follow international regulations.  I won’t bore you with details about the rules. All you really need to know is that footvolley is essentially beach volleyball, except that players are not allowed to use their hands and a football is used instead of a volleyball.

Nets for footvolley are set up at each end of the Copacabana beach. Some near posto 1 in Leme and others between posto 5/6, opposite Leme, and almost to Ipanema). Copacabana has a posto about every half kilometer, which are important landmarks with lifeguard stations and pay bathrooms.

After watching footvolley for even a couple minutes, you will probably decide not to join in with these guys. Their skill is astounding, their shorts ludicrously small, their tans glorious, and their bodies artfully sculpted to attract beautiful women. They are so good with their feet that you may start to believe that playing volleyball with your hands is strictly for amateurs.

Futebol

Before jumping in on a footvolley game, I suggest honing your skills with friends. I think I will continue to practice on my own before I try my hand at playing a game with the locals. Unless you can use your chest to collect and rebound volleyballs with startling precision, you may be a little out of your depth at first.

I have also seen a lot of footvolley on the beach in Flamengo, where somehow the players’ shorts (tungas) are even smaller.

Beach soccer pickup (Futebol na praia)

When the sun drops, Copacabana comes alive with people exercising and playing futebol.  Go somewhere with a nice view to watch the sunset, then head out to play footy.  Being the birthplace of beach soccer, Copacabana has an amazing footballing infrastructure consisting of dozens of illuminated goal posts for volleyball and footvolley.  But be sure to bring your own nets!

Senda Fair Trade Soccer Balls Brazil World Cup 2014

At Copacabana you will certainly find the perfect type of playing field to match your specific soccer needs. The beach is lined with small, medium, and large nets, and even various sized pitches. The beach is wide and has plenty of space for futebol. The best locations have huge nets behind the goals and are usually dominated by organized teams at peak hours.  Watching these young men for even a few moments, you will quickly realize how skills they are. They make juggling and possessing the ball in the air seem effortless. They are true artists and the ball is their medium of expression. While you may be confident in your ability to juggle the ball on solid ground, the circumstances change dramatically when you must retain possession while mired in sand with a pack of footballers trying desperately to rob you of the ball.

If you can only juggle 2 times and have only one juggling trick, do not fear, for there are still pickup opportunities for you.  One fantastic thing about Brazil is that finding a game is easy because nearly every Brazilian man, woman, and child plays.  Most people are very relaxed and will be more than happy to have you join in. All you have to do is go to the beach in the evening and look for a group of people hanging out juggling or playing small games. Usually around 7:00-8:00 in the evening, a group will gather around posto 2, which is where I live. They start juggling, warming up, and then start a small game of 2v2.  These games are fast-paced and exciting and sometimes draw an audience. Inevitably, as the intensity builds, more players arrive and a game of 5v5 or 7v7 will begin. That’s the way things work in Brazil.  Here, a small game of keep away can transform into a full-fledged pickup game in a flash.

Pickup Futebol Basics:

- Everyone plays goalie eventually, with a typical rotation system in place. Once scored on, you rotate out of goal. If you are absolutely exhausted from running in the sand, no one will tease you if you wish to take a breather and rotate to keeper.

- Games usually last two or three goals. When the game finishes, the team currently sitting rotates in for the recently vanquished team.

- If you are knackered, you can easily have someone sub in for you.  There is always someone who wants to play.

- Games usually go on for 1 to 1.5 hours.  When everyone is panting and struggling for air, a group of fresh players will rotate in.

Best strategy to play?

The best way to play beach soccer in Rio is just to go out there with no fear. In the evening, grab a beach soccer ball, head to the beach, identify a group of players, and simply tell them that you want to play.

In the rare occasion that you do not see people already playing, walk the length of the beach until you do, or just start juggling and warming up near an empty pitch. This will signal to others that you want to play. Eventually a game will form, or at the very least, some kids will approach you to kick the ball around. The amazing thing about Brazilians is that they are really friendly and welcoming to strangers.  If you see a Brazilian without a smile on their face, perhaps their pet goldfish just died or they recently stubbed their toe. I have never been denied access to a game, but I look like Michael Bradley and Zidane had a child – a big, bald baby!  Teams have even let me practice with them because I was gutsy enough to ask. I wouldn’t recommend trying this unless you are very confident in your skills and the coach seems laid-back.

Senda Fair Trade Soccer Balls Rio World Cup Brazil

Well, there you have it. That’s my take on playing futebol and futevolley on Copacabana beach. Although I outlined a rather complicated set of guidelines for getting in on the action, remember that nothing is better than simply heading out to the beach with nothing but a ball and your love for the game.

O Brasil é lindo maravilhoso, Brazil is magnificent!

Story from Casey Grady

Movement to Send the US Power Wheelchair Soccer Team to the White House

 

In 2011 the United States Power Soccer team won its second consecutive World Cup title, making them the only U.S. soccer team ever to win back-to-back World Cups. Despite this momentous achievement, the team has not yet been invited to the White House to be honored by President Obama. I truly believe that it is time for the White House to take the initiative in celebrating the dedication and achievements of athletes of all abilities representing the U.S.A.

This April, the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team will visit the White House on their way to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The goal of this campaign is to seek an invitation for the U.S. Power Soccer Team to join the U.S. Men’s National Team in their visit. This is a unique opportunity for president Obama to honor both teams achievements together, on the world stage?

1979706_644721622230599_1948414483_n

 

The United States won the first Power Soccer World Cup in Tokyo in 2007, defeating Belgium, England, Denmark, Japan and Portugal before beating France in a penalty shoot-out in the finals to win the cup. The team then made history when it defended its title in Paris four years later, defeating England 3-0 in the final becoming the first American soccer team to defend their title as world champions.

“Each year, winning teams in major sports in the U.S. spend time with the President; it is an honor athletes who reach the highest of milestones enjoy,” said Chris Finn, Head Coach of the U.S. team. “Considering we are the only team in U.S. history to win TWO world cups, I think it is prudent for our team to visit with the President and introduce him to our growing global sport.”

1795299_643820032320758_1728859376_o

Power Soccer is the fastest growing sport for power wheelchair users. Players use these power wheelchairs to pass, defend, and spin-kick a large 13-inch soccer ball in a skilled and challenging game similar to traditional soccer. Teams of four athletes compete on a regulation-sized basketball court, under rules established by the governing body of power soccer, the Federation Internationale de Powerchair Football Association (FIFPA). This sport provides an unparalleled opportunity for everyone to be able to experience the magic of soccer.

As believer in sports as a tool to bring people together, I know that with the help of the White House The U.S. Power Soccer Team can inspire millions with their accomplishments, and that President Obama has an incredible opportunity to honor this inspiring group of players.

To achieve this goal, USPSA and Senda Athletics are launching a Change.org campaign to gather 1,000 signatures of support, generate awareness for this cause and send the two-time defending World Cup champions to the White House.

For those of you on Twitter, we have created a web page that allows you to send a tweet to the people at the White House and US Soccer that can make this happen.

1925304_638951219474306_367109020_n

Spotlight of Soccer series: Beach Soccer

Yuri Beach Soccer Shot

If you are a footballer, and you have played the game on the beach, you know how different and fun the game can be on the sand. That is specially the case when the water is warm enough for a swim right after a game!

Beach soccer started as an informal game that friends would play on the beach, mostly while on vacation. But with the growth of the sport, in 1992 the first official rules of  beach soccer were created. Since its first historical competitions, beach soccer has grown to be an international game, with the start of the inaugural FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in 2005.

Each beach soccer team consists of five players, including the goalkeeper. An unlimited amount of substitutions, from a selection of 3 to 5 substitute players, is allowed at any moment of the game, even when the ball is in play. A game lasts 36 minutes, and it is split up into three 12 minute periods. The pitch is considerably smaller than a regular one (about the size of a futsal field), and it should be composed of sand without any other objects which could injure a player. The game runs on a fast pace, with an average of over ten goals scored per game as players are able to score anywhere on the field. This makes for a fast pace game, with lots of action.

photo (1)We had the chance to discuss  beach soccer with Yuri Morales, who played for the United States national beach soccer team at the highest level. Yuri can be seen throwing bicycle kicks at virtually every Beach Soccer Tournament in the Bay, and he works with America SCORES Bay Area to inspire urban youth to lead healthy lives, be engaged students, and have the confidence and character to make a difference in the world. He helps put together an Annual  Beach Soccer Blast Tournament in San Francisco every summer, with proceeds going to America Scores.

Yuri also played previously with the Danish professional football club Viborg F, the Portland Timbers right before they joined MLS.

Senda: How did you get involved with Beach Soccer?

Yuri:I grew up in Santa Cruz, so there was a beach going culture there. When I was playing with the Portland Timbers(USL division 1, before there was MLS) in 2006, my friend Ronny Silva was a member of the beach soccer team at that time and he was looking for players for beach soccer. There was a core group of players from Santa Cruz that were forming a core of the beach soccer national team based in training in Santa Cruz. So he asked me if I wanted to try playing beach soccer, and I did.

Senda: What aspects of “regular” soccer does Beach Soccer emphasize the most?

Yuri: There are tactics similar to grass soccer, but at the same time different because the field is so much smaller and fewer players. In terms of defensive tactics in some ways they are more similar to futsal than grass soccer in many ways. attacking wise you have to have very good technique to be successful, just like grass soccer. For beach soccer you have to be more focused on the technical because the ball is usually and ideally in the air, so you have to adjust your body in the sand. So you have to have very good techniques

Senda: What was your most memorable Beach Soccer moment?”

Yuri: The second time we qualified for the world cup in 2007, in Mexico. We beat Uruguay in an exhibition championship match. There was an arrangement that the champion of North America and the champion of South America would play against each other in an exhibition match. Uruguay earned second place in the previous world cup and they were a very strong team. We beat them in the last minute of the game. I remember because we won 4-3, and I scored the goal to make the game even at 3-3 as a substitute at that time. That was a really memorable moment for me.”

Senda – What did it feel to have the opportunity to represent your country in the World Cup?

Yuri: It feels great. I’d say that it’s a great honor, and I am very appreciative of the US Soccer Federal for sponsoring the team. They supported the team from the very beginning even when this beach soccer didn’t make much money. For them to stick with us I feel very supported by them. ”

Yuri FIFA Photo

Senda – “What piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to start playing Beach Soccer?

Yuri:Stick with it. Don’t give up. It’s like golf and snowboarding that the first few times you do it it’s going to be miserable. After that when you start getting the hang of it, getting your balance, and moving better on the sand it becomes more and more fun.”

Senda: What characteristics do you look for in a Beach Soccer ball?

Yuri: I like it to have a layer of foam so that when you kick it it doesn’t slap against your skin against your foot. When it has that layer of padding it can protect from that. Also the weight has to be just right. If it’s too light the ball would just fly away in the wind. If it’s too heavy it can hurt your foot. I think you guys did a great job with the Senda beach soccer ball. It could have a little bit more padding, but I think its a great ball.

Senda: Any fun Beach Soccer stories while playing the game?

Yuri:In 2006 in the qualifying tournament, it was my first trip with the national team. It was in the winter and it was in the Costa Rican rain forest. It rained all the time there. They built a little stadium and brought in sand, but they weren’t allowed to bring in real sand, so they brought in dirt. When it rained the dirt turned into mud, so we played the first couple games in just deep mud. It was my first beach soccer experience, and I did really well because I was used to playing in mud because in Santa Cruz in high school when it rained the grass field we played on was covered with mud. I did really well the first couple games, but it just kept raining, so the tournament was forced to move to a beach town in order to continue.”

Another story, I got to have granola next to Eric Cantona, coach for the French National Team, in 2006!  I was having breakfast in the morning and I looked over and there he was. We greeted each other and continued to have breakfast. I was a little star struck at that time.

Thanks to Yuri for taking the time to talk to us about beach soccer! 

Skillz and Drillz Video of the Month: The Cruyff Turn

 

Our monthly video from Skillz and Drillz is showing a classic and elegant beginner basics move: “The Cruyff Turn.”

This trick is a great way to get away from an opponent or simply just faking a cross by pulling the ball back in a different direction to get space for a better position to pass the ball, or simply a better alternative action to take place.

By doing a Cruyff turn you are  misleading the opponent and making him change his choice of action in which it most likely will be a delay from your action, ultimately leaving you with more space and time.

Take a look at this video showing step by step instructions and try to see if you can manage to do what Cruyff first did during the FIFA World Cup in 1974.

Impress your friends, coaches, opponents and yourself.

And don’t forget to visit Skillz and Drillz to stay tuned on his videos and updates!

 

 

See Cruyff doing the move himself:

Ball Testing with SJ Quakes Players: Senda Volta, Nike Seitiro, Adidas Prime

The Senda Volta, Nike Seitiro & Adidas MLS Prime

A goal that we always have at Senda, is to offer products that are as good as any other similar options in the market, with the added value of Fair Trade, and the opportunity for customers to Share the Game with others.

In order to ensure that, we work with hundreds of coaches and players to test our products, and get feedback. Recently, we had the great opportunity to do product testing with Sam Cronin, who is the starting Center Midfielder for the San Jose Earthquakes, as well as Quakes trialist Josh Suggs, and former CAL Captain Tony Salciccia. During a beautiful South Bay afternoon we tested our top of the line Senda Volta, along with the Nike Seitiro, and the Adidas Prime Match balls. Our goal was to check where our Volta Premier Match ball stands , compared to the two most popular brands with the best leagues in the World.

For testing, we looked at 3 main indicators: performance during crossings, performance during shots, and finally overall touch and feel of the ball.

 

Test 1: Crossings

When making a series of long distance crosses for Sam, Josh and Tony enjoyed the responsiveness and precision of the Volta, which surpassed that of the Adidas Prime, and matched that of the Nike Seitero. In terms of long crossings, the Volta flies well in the air and it does not “shake,” like the Adidas ball does.

The Adidas Prime uses the same thermo-bonded technology as the Jabulani (official match ball for 2010 South Africa World Cup) which was a nightmare for most goalies because it moves a lot when it flies long distances, for examples in in crosses and free kicks. The Prime improved in this aspect, but it still curves in rather unpredictable ways, unlike the Volta and Seitiro models.

” The Volta ball was easier to get used to, and to strike in the air” Josh Suggs, San Jose Earthquakes trialist

Test 2: Shots

When it comes to striking the ball, the Volta felt a little bit harder than the Seitiro and Prime. Players said that this did not mean that it was more difficult or uncomfortable, just a ball characteristic that you notice after using all three balls. The harder outer surface can benefit players with strong shots when they strike the ball, offering more immediate power. Some players who don’t like harder balls might not like this aspect, and this comes down to personal preference.

The Adidas Prime is the ball that travels the most out of the three, but it can be quiet inaccurate because it gets more power only if a player strikes the ball “just right.”  That it is not always easy after winning  a 50/50 ball, hitting a ball at high speed, or in other game scenarios, and players preferred a ball that offered consistency in different scenarios, and not just clean shots.

Finishing session, using the Volta, Seitiro and Prime

Test 3: Touch

In terms of touch the Senda Volta is little bit harder than the Seitero and Prime, both which have a “spongy” feeling. The top-of-the-line Japanese synthetic leather used in the Volta resembles more the older Match balls used in the late 90′s, compared to the newer synthetic materials developed by Nike and Adidas.

When we asked for a fair final assessment, Suggs said that he honestly enjoyed playing with the Senda Volta the most.

 

“With a  lot of balls, it takes a long time to get used to them,” Suggs commented. “With the Volta one gets to know the ball rather fast, and it provides a consistent response in different game-like scenarios”

Although it was the first time that all 3 players where introduced to the Volta, they did not feel any inconsistencias with the ball, and they felt that it was up there with the Nike Seitero, and above the Adidas Prime when it came to overall touch, shooting, and making/receiving crosses.

 

From our end, after talking with Sam, Tony and Josh, and asking for their honest feedback, we feel that we have succeeded in making a top of the line ball that’s as good, if not better, than that of the two market leaders in soccer. That makes us proud. Very proud!

Meanwhile, we will continue to research the latest cover materials available for different types of match balls, to make sure that Senda is taking advantage of the latest technologies available to make the best performing product.

But whatever new materials are developed using technology, they have to be tested and approved on the field, where the magic happens. Technology, for technology’s sake is not the answer. The final word should come from players and coaches on the fields, and not just from the labs. Right now, it seems like we are in good hands with a Volta Match ball, that has some of the traditional characteristics one finds in Japanese cordley leather, which is one of the best on the World.

The story to make the best posible Match ball leveraging technology and embracing Fair Trade continues, and we will keep you posted!

Sam Cronin helped us test the 3 balls for precision, touch, and flight

Coach Profile: Tim Newsome, IMPACT

Tim, showing us how’s it done.

Check out the latest coach profile on Tim Newsome. Not only does he coach soccer and futsal all over the Bay Area, but he can teach you in the privacy of your own living room (or backyard) through his YouTube Channel. Visit Skillz and Drillz and stay tuned for his videos and updates!

  • What is your youth background in terms of soccer (or football as you tend to say across the pond)?

    I Grew up in England and Football was the sport (and still is) that everyone played. I played all through school and gained my coaching licenses in the UK before having an opportunity to come the US and coach.

  • When and how did you get involved in coaching in the United States?

    During my second year at college in the UK, I saw a flyer on the student board from the MLS. It was asking for English coaches to come out and coach summer camps through the MLS organization in many cities across America. Scraping together some ‘flight’ money, I managed to get over that summer for 3 months. I coached in the Bay Area my entire stay. After this, I went back home and graduated college in my final year. I was lucky enough to get a call from a contact here in the US. They had asked me if I want to come back out but on a full time basis. Before the phone was down, I was packing my bags ready to come out again. From going back to the UK to obtain my Masters degree in 2008 reading Sports Management and the Business of Football, I have pretty much resided here here the South Bay Area since. I love it here!

  • How and why did you start making YouTube videos?

    Living in Silicon Valley (the Bay Area) for the past several years has really opened up the tech side of me.  My passion for reading and understanding technology from this area really inspired me to have a go at doing something myself. I thought, what could i do that involves my soccer knowledge and tech hobby? From there it was simple.
    I wanted to share my soccer knowledge to a wider audience and the only way to really do that is via the internet. With my creative thinking, I literally grabbed a camera and went out there and made my first video, “the backwards scissors”. I knew I could record things but it was the editing and putting together that I needed to be creative with. From here my video’s have grown and we now have our iOS app. There is still so much more to come and we haven’t reached our first birthday yet!

  • What is your most memorable coaching moment?

    When I was studying for my Masters degree in 2008, I got the opportunity to coach in Zambia, Africa for 3 weeks. I jumped at the chance. We helped out at a local school where kids would walk 5+ miles a day just to attend. We coached soccer to the kids in an effort to increase the awareness of HIV/AIDS to enable the children to live safe and healthy lives.

    Towards the end of my stay, we decided to treat all the kids to a bottle of coca-cola. This was a rare thing for them and some and never had it before. One boy came up to me and asked for the money, instead of the drink. I was hesitant at first because it can be dangerous kids having money on the streets due to the crimes in the villages. However, I said sure and he took the money from my hand and walked next door. I followed him to see where he was going and I found him picking out some rice to buy to take home and feed his parents and siblings. That moment never leaves me and is the most memorable.

  • Who is your favorite soccer player of all time?

    As a soccer coach, I sleep, eat and drink soccer. There are many good players that I have witnessed then and still playing now. If I had to choose a player that I was fond of whilst growing up it would Zinedine Zidane!

  • Why does Fair Trade matter to you?

    Fair Trade is important to me as I think it’s only right the workers who make products such as soccer balls get paid and treated the same. If we as consumers are going to reap the benefits of such quality goods, it’s only right to have the workers receive fair benefits for their hard work. In addition, I also like sharing the Senda story with the teams I coach and how important Fair Trade is.

One of Tim Newsome’s great videos:

Coach Profile: Dan and Sara (HappyFeet: Des Moines, Iowa)

Coach Daniel

For Senda’s second coach profile, we interviewed two coaches over at HappyFeet in Des Moines, Iowa. Daniel and Sara both answered our questions about coaching young children, fair trade, and their most memorable moments.

How is it like to coach soccer to 2-5 year olds?

Sara: This is the most amazing job I have ever had! Before becoming the director, I was a coach for about a year (and am currently still coaching). I work with training the new coaches to help them understand how to explain soccer to such young children! This age group is so much fun, it’s amazing to see how quickly they learn and how much fun they have with our curriculum.

Daniel:  Coaching this age group is one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done.  Just watching them grow as little soccer players is amazing.  They soak up everything that you teach them and it is amazing watching them try the things that we teach them.  They want to learn this game and they get so excited every week for HappyFeet to visit their school.  I love seeing that excitement and that is what drives me every day.

What aspects of the game do you try to emphasize at such a young age?

Sara: The things we try to emphasize is just being comfortable with a soccer ball. Most kids are so used to picking up any type of ball and throwing it, so learning to use their feet is a very new skill. We teach skills such as pull backs, step overs, and pendulums. Our goal is for them to get the motion down and as they grow older they will start to understand what the move is used for and have more confidence during a real game to do as many moves as possible!

What is HappyFeet’s coaching philosophy? What do you hope to accomplish?

Sara: Our coaching philosophy is very child centered. We aren’t all about the “winners” or the amazing players, we understand that every child has a different set of skills and everyone can’t be like Cristiano Ronaldo! What we hope to accomplish is that every child has confidence in themselves. We want them to grow up knowing to not be afraid to go out of their comfort zone and try something different, in soccer and in life.

What was the most memorable HappyFeet moment you had during a lesson/game?

Daniel: I have two memorable moments. The first one was getting a group of two year olds that I’ve been working with for months to do step overs. Just watching their teacher’s jaws drop in amazement was awesome. One of the teachers came up to me later and told me how incredible it was watching them do this move because they couldn’t even tie their own shoes, walk in a straight line, etc. But when challenged they could do a step over, no problem.

The other memorable moment was this Spring in our first HappyFeet League.  I had a very young team (4 years old) that was eager to learn, but at the same time very timid with this new experience.  I had one child in particular that always wanted to score at least one goal a game, no matter what.  On the very last day he was starting to get upset because he hadn’t scored yet, so I told him that he had to win the ball in order to score a goal.  So what did he do?  He went down the field and stole the ball from the other team.  He was so excited that he just froze and couldn’t figure out what to do next.  I kept telling him to do a pull back to change direction and go the other way.  It took him about five seconds to unfreeze but when he did, he did the pull back move, changed directions away from the other team and ran down the field and scored.  He came right up to me with a huge smile yelling “I did it, I did it!  Did you see that?  I did it, I did it!”  As he gave me a high five, I had a tear in my eye and so did his parents on the sidelines.  This kid stepped up to the challenge, didn’t back down, and accomplished what he wanted to do.  That is what drives me and my coaches every day!  Watching these kids accomplish their dreams on the field and in the classrooms is one of the most amazing feelings the world.

How has the soccer scene evolved in Iowa over the last 10-15 years?

Sara:It has evolved like CRAZY. We have a huge soccer market here and I know when I was growing up it was still growing. It is still a growing market and I am excited to see how it will grow in the future.

HappyFeet Iowa's newest bobcat.

How do you think players aged 2-5 will respond to the concept of fair trade when you introduce your new Senda balls this coming season?

Sara: I don’t know if they will know! BUT we will let them know and explain the importance. I think a lot of them will really appreciate their new bobcats.

What piece of advice would you give to coaches that work with very young players?

Daniel:  Have fun and be yourself.  If you are always worrying about what these little kids are thinking about you then you will never be successful.  You have to have fun, be goofy, act crazy and just plain make them laugh and smile.  If you can do that then not only will you be having fun but the kids will too, and that is what matters the most.  If they are having fun and learning at the same time then you are doing your job.

If you’re in the Des Moines area, or just want to learn more about young children and soccer, visit HappyFeet’s website.

Coach Sara

 

Coach Profile: Antoine (Street Soccer USA, Bay Area)

Antoine coaching his team.

Senda Athletics had the chance to interview Antoine about his connection to one of our non-profit partners, Street Soccer USA. Also check out the news story that CBS 5 San Francisco did about Street Soccer USA in the video below.

Name: Antoine Lagarde

Coach: Street Soccer USA, Bay Area, San Francisco

Nationality: France/USA

Age: 30

Occupation: SF Conservation Corps Teacher

Playing Position: Midfield

Soccer Heroes: Eric Cantona & Socrates

Motto: “Success is going from failure to failure with enthusiasm. My job as a coach is to motivate my players to always to always go hard.

So you coach a team of homeless and disadvantaged youth in San Francisco, what makes you the happiest when coaching a team like that?

Antoine: I am happy when my more advanced players patiently teach our beginners how to play. I am happiest when the positive attitude on our team inspires our players to go to college, find work, stop using drugs/alcohol, and get back on their feet!

What has been your best moment as a coach?

Antoine: My favorite moment was coaching the USA National team at the Homeless World Cup in Paris. We struggled at first, but became a family and finished the tourney at the best ranking the USA has ever had. It was a total team effort with everyone scoring at least 3 goals and leaving everything on the field. Out of our 7 players, 5 are currently coaching and using football to create positive transformations in the lives of their peers.

What was your most difficult moment on the soccer field as a player?

Antoine: My worst moment on the field wasn’t so much embarrassing as heartbreaking. I missed a couple of penalties against Kyrgyzstan when I represented the USA at the Milan Homeless World Cup which put our hopes of advancing to the next round in jeopardy.

What was your most triumphant moment on the soccer field as a player?

Antoine: Fortunately, I atoned for my mistakes by playing excellent defense against France in the next game and helping us upset them and qualify for the next round where I scored a couple of penalties in the quarterfinals. I was proud to be mentally tough by clearing my head and helping the team win.

What does supporting Fair Trade mean to you?

Antoine: It’s very important to me because as a teacher, I teach my students about globalization by showing them a soccer ball and asking them to describe it. We then explore who made the soccer ball, the possibility that it was a young child in Pakistan in poor working conditions, and talk about supporting efforts to pay workers a living wage through Fair Trade.

What Defines Success in Soccer?

Senda’s founder Santiago Halty had a chance to ask USMNT Coach Jurgen Klinsmann how he would define success in his role as a coach.

Here is what Jurgen said:

How do most of us coaches, players, parents and lovers of the beautiful game define success? Wouldn’t it be great to focus on Klinsmann’s comments that he hopes his players will say, “Coach Jurgen, you really gave me some help, improving my game and taking it to another level?” He went on to say “I truly believe that if that happens, we will have a team that is there for each other a team that runs and fights for each other, and also expresses themselves individually.” If he manages to do that, it will be some fun years ahead for US fans.

We must remember, a small percentage of players go on to play college or professional soccer, so we should strive to develop players who are excellent on the field and and off. We should aim to create socially aware and conscious players. We should teach lessons about hard work, bouncing back from adversity, and accepting people are different that us; lessons that will stick with our players for life.

One of the most rewarding experiences of working at Senda is seeing coaches using Senda’s Fair Trade story to talk to players about responsibility, Fair Play, and thinking beyond themselves. We are very proud to give players, parents, and coaches the opportunity to express to most sacred values on soccer, when they need to get their equipment.

How will you define success for your club, your school team, and your kids, in whatever way you are involved with the game?