Important Message for U.S. Soccer Coaches:
La Liga Methodology Course is Legit

photo courtesy of US Club Soccer

photo courtesy of US Club Soccer

Anthony Flores, founder of Meraki FC, shares an excerpt of his coaching memoir at the La Liga Methodology Level 3 course, June 3-5, in Livermore, CA.

Garì, I speak from the bottom of my heart, thank you and your staff for all that you’ve done and continue to do for the world of fútbol and the fruit of knowledge you share with like-minded coaches. Also, thanks to US Club Soccer for offering another avenue for coaches to continue their growth and development and NorCal for organizing such a fantastic event.

One by one, coaches began filling the theatre hall. Off to the side of the stage sat the four representatives from La Liga. Above them, on the projection screen, read La Liga Formation Methodology Level 3 Course.

The bald headed man next to podium was Garì Fullaondo, a highly decorated member of the Royal Spanish Football Federation and the brain behind the methodology, accompanied by his UEFA PRO licensed coaching staff.

“Good morning,” he said with his españa accent.

“My English is so-so. If you do not understand me say to me, ‘Garì I do not understand you!’”

The audience chuckled. His english was good, but that didn’t matter because he connected with us through his passion for the game. His devotion and depth of fútbol knowledge is quantified compared to any coach in this country.

Listening to him speak about La Liga’s philosophy and approach to their youth system is night and day compared to the U.S. approach. The scope of their methodology is built around a set model, system and analytics. It's depth of teachings, systems and management tools is beyond the resources youth coaches have access to in this country.

At one point during his lecture on system development he yells out to the audience with conviction, “Player Development. What is this?!”

“Too many youth coaches talk about player development in this country.”

Even I was taken back by his comment. As a youth coach in America, the stress has always been focused around that premise in our youth system, but not for Garì.

“Yes, teach them mechanics, of course, you must. You are the coach, no?”

He pleads, “you must teach them how to play the game, please!”

At that moment, you could hear a pin drop with the sense of realization.

“If player has good skills but do not know spatial awareness what good is he to the team? Please, tell me?!”

He was spot on. It sounds like an obvious observation, but for a soccer nation that is still searching for an identity on the international stage we are lost at sea without a compass.

Part of the blame is directed towards youth coaches in our country who spend more time preparing young players on how to win a game rather than teaching them how to play the game.

Add parents into the mix coupled with pressure and expectations we have ourselves a real big mess.

 The proof is in the pudding when you think about the players Spain and La Liga have developed over the decade—Xavi, Villa and Iniesta—just to name a few. That is why UEFA recognizes La Liga as the most efficiently developing league in the world and why their national team remains a dominant force on the international stage.

So, to all youth coaches who have read up to this point, remind yourself of the responsibility and oath you have to the kid and U.S. Soccer as a whole. If youth players have the opportunity to move up in the youth ranks don’t hold them back. Let's continue to build a better future together.

If you get the chance, take the course. Their knowledge is a fresh perspective of the modern game. It also includes (if you complete the course) a free one-year subscription to their software that builds and manages a team's season.

Garì, Zún, Hugo and Ismael, you are Meraki.

Much Happiness & Good Fortunes,
Coach Anthony