More than 60 high school coaches took in a wealth of knowledge and coaching expertise on Saturday, November 20 at the 2016 LA84 High School Soccer Coaches Clinic. Hosted at the Windward School in west Los Angeles at no cost to the participants, coaches from across Southern California took in a variety of sessions from well-seasoned soccer experts.
Among the presenters were former Seattle Sounders and all-time winningest MLS coach Sigi Schmid, West Bromwich Albion assistant manager David Kemp and former U.S. Women’s National Team assistant and current LA84 Soccer Coordinator Billy McNicol.
In a panel with Schmid, Kemp and McNicol, the trio of soccer experts discussed the state of soccer in the United States and how coaches can best prepare their players to succeed at any level. “The key is enjoying the game,” said Schmid, who has also coached the Los Angeles Galaxy and UCLA Men’s Soccer Team. “They [the player] are going to enjoy the game if they know that you as a coach are enjoying it. If you bring your passion and enthusiasm onto the field, that will rub off on them.”
The high school coaches also took in instruction on a range of topics including the best team training practices, how to adjust to new California Interscholastic Foundation (CIF) rules, and how to best run goal-scoring drills.
Kemp, a frequent presenter at LA84’s clinics, used the clinic’s question & answer session to reiterate to the diverse group of coaches the importance of working with players at varying skills levels. “Play where you can play,” said the former professional English striker. “It’s not a closed door. Just keep going, and see where your talent, energy and love for the game takes you.”
The panel of three also addressed how to best balance a system with the specific talents of players, the pros and cons of the current U.S. National Team’s game strategy, and the importance of finding a balance in how a coach treats their team. “Players want you to be real with them,” Schmid noted. “You don’t have to be brutally honest. But you have to be honest and fair.”
Other instructors at the clinic included St. Francis HS Coach Glen Appels, Rosary High School coach Jamie Caffrey, Santiago Canyon College coach Lisa Hermen and Windward School head coach Nick Webster. LA84’s next coaching clinic, all of which are free of cost, will take place in early 2017.