The annual National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Convention was held, January 11-15, 2017. The NSCAA Convention is known as the world’s largest annual gathering of soccer coaches and administrators. The event offers an extensive amount of educational opportunities in classroom and live field sessions, award presentations, social functions, exhibit hall, and more.
After a long 22 years, the convention was finally held in the West Coast — in “The Capital of Cool”, Los Angeles, California. And the West Coast made a bold statement, as this year’s Convention had the second largest attendance in the history of the NSCAA Convention.
Only 2 hours away from this world class event, Presidio Soccer League members made a presence at the convention, not only as attendees but also as presenters and exhibitors.
Soccer Nation was able to capture of piece of Presidio’s Presence at the 2017 NSCAA Convention:
“The NSCAA being on the West Coast attracted a great crowd and allowed for Albion to have a great experience as all of our staff was able to attend,” said Noah Gins, CEO/Executive Director, Albion SC.
“After years of wanting to attend the NSCAA Convention, I was so pleased that LA was the site for 2017! I finally was able to attend for the first time and it was well worth the wait,” said Frank Zimmerman, Oceanside Breakers. “From the outstanding and endless number of lectures, workshops, and panel discussions, to simply the best soccer expo I’ve seen, and finally the ridiculous amount of networking opportunities with friends and colleagues… Yes, all of them were there too! It was a powerful four days of non-stop soccer at the NSCAA Convention for sure!”
“It was exciting to have the NSCAA Convention back on the West Coast and I thoroughly enjoyed being able to participate along with many of the coaches/assistant directors in my club,” said Shannon Mac Millan, DMCV Sharks. “The convention is a great educational tool, along with knowledge gathering and networking opportunity for everyone involved in the great game of soccer.
“The NSCAA Convention being in Los Angeles was a great opportunity,” said Sally Grigoriev, San Diego Soccer Club. “We offered to pay the registration fee for anyone that was interested in attending — we had 30 coaches and 2 administrators attend. Everyone enjoyed the convention, was impressed with the technology and learned a lot.”
“NSCAA’S LA ’17, didn’t disappoint,” said Rene Miramontes, San Diego Crusaders SC. “The quality of the presentations the high level of organization and the soccer fraternity makes the convention a world class event by any standards.”
While most exhibitors were products and services, Albion SC was one of the very few clubs to have a dedicated booth on the floor.
“Albion SC was in full force at the NSCAA Convention serving the World of Soccer,” said Noah Gins, Albion SC CEO/Executive Director. “Our full staff was up all week for support in and around the Main Booth and VIP Suite. Albion SC stamped the brand in and around the NSCAA and had many major business dealings throughout the convention. The staff also had some strategic planning meetings as the club heads into a new year.”
Club Leadership: Rene Miramontes & Shannon Mac Millan
Miramontes and Mac Millan along with Paul Holocher and Charlie Slagle gave their advice as to what has made their clubs successful.
Here’s a recap of the Club Leadership session:
The importance of short and long term goals.
SM: The game is continuing to evolve – look at the major changes last year from U.S. Soccer (small sided games, birth year mandate, etc,). You have to have a vision for your club and make those goals to achieve them. As an example, the soccer fields in San Diego are owned by the city and they have full control. We have offered to assist the city with the care of the fields, but they will not accept. So we have a long term goal to secure land for our own fields. Not only is our staff aware of the goal but we have let our membership know of our long term goal as well — so that the entire club is working towards that goal.
RM: Goals should be consistently reviewed and adjusted as completed/needed.
Balancing the business aspect of a soccer club.
SM: This was my most difficult transition – changing from player to business owner. Show your membership exactly where their money is going. My club is completely transparent with our finances. Remind parents that they are not just paying for soccer, they are investing in their child’s future. Soccer coaches are not just coaches, they are teachers.
The importance of job descriptions.
RM: Issues happen when you there is a gray area in duties. Create an organization chart, specific job descriptions and a chain of command — this way everyone knows what they handle, and will follow the correct procedure when situations come their way.
Handling your membership.
SM: Over-communicate. Share exciting news as much as possible and make sure your membership understands where the club stands (player development over wining, etc.)
RM: We conduct player evaluations twice a year and review that evaluation with their parents so that everyone is on the same page (DOC/Coach/Player/Parent). This also gives us a chance to have a face to face with parents, which is important since they are the ones that drive the club financially. We also conduct evaluations on coaches to ensure there are not any trending issues.
The importance of documentation.
SM: You have to protect your club. The more transparent you are, the less you have to worry about. Post your monthly board meeting minutes on your website.
RM: Giving consistent feedback to coaches in writing is important. It shows your commitment to the coaches and the players.
What should a board look like?
SM: They need to be fully invested in the club’s vision and trust your decisions.
RM: Your board should be an advisory club – they are there to assist, not insist. I recommend a smaller board of 3-5 members.
SM: Realize it’s just soccer. At the end of the day, it’s about the kids — challenging them and helping them grow. Control your ego’s — we should not be screaming and yelling and about to stroke out when we coach. Take the craziness out and make the focus on the kids.
RM: Ensure your coaches are focused on your game model, which is the identity of your club. The best example I can give you is Barcelona — they have a very specific game model which is what helps their coaching and player development.
Transition and It’s Attacking Role In Building the Classic and Combination Counter Attacks: Rene Miramontes
With the help of a DMS11 Soccer team, Rene Miramontes showcases his coaching experience and gives an impressive live action coaching session.
Here’s a recap of the Transition and Counter Attacking session:
If the ball is moving, can the defender tackle? No. Players should always keep the ball moving so that the defender must adjust their feet and cannot tackle the ball.
Watching Miramontes coaching the boys, you see him moving around as he observes and connects with the players — he is not staying in one spot. And he was not just explaining what to do, but he was showing the players what to do — this is crucial with younger players.
Miramontes was using words like explode and speed — to teach the players to counter attack as fast as they possibly can.
Miramontes instructs the boys to win the ball and dribble out of the square — as soon as they lose possession, they need to close it down and win it, and as soon as they win it, they open up and continue to play — and the boys run the drill over and over, countering as fast as possible.
1 on 1 with Shannon Mac Millan
Lesle Gallimore interviewed Presidio alumni player, Shannon Mac Millan in an exclusive 1 on 1 session.
Here’s a recap of Gallimore’s interview with Mac Millan:
LG: Review of Shannon Mac Millan’s Career Highlights
SM: 1995 MAC Hermann Trophy Award, 1994-2006 U.S. Women’s National Team, 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion, 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist, 2002 U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year, Inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2016.
LG: What do you think of youth soccer today?
SM: After retiring as a player, I was disappointed to see how political youth soccer had become. Especially in San Diego, there is an over saturation of clubs — therefore if a player or parent is not happy they can easily switch to another club and continue to do so, until they “get what they want”. There is no sense of overcoming adversity, it’s all about “what club can offer me the most perks”.
LG: What college advice can you offer a youth player?
SM: Be ready for a difficult adjustment. It is a huge leap from club to college — you’ll go from being the club superstar, playing every game, to sitting on the bench with very little playing time; that’s all because you’re going from playing your age level to playing a 4-5 year age difference. Embrace it. Be humble and work hard. It’s so important to chose the right college; the best advice I can offer is — If soccer was taken away, would you still be happy at that college?
LG: What do you look for in a youth coach?
SM: Someone that is able to develop each player individually and as a team.
LG: What is your favorite soccer memory?
SM: When Clive Charles asked me to be a volunteer on his staff at the University of Portland. To have my mentor believe in me and be able to coach by his side – It was a very powerful moment for me.
LG: Today’s U.S. Women’s National Team – What could be better?
SM: The lack of connection with former players. The USWNT veterans lived through exactly what they are going through. They should be reaching out to the great’s and inviting them. I know one or two former players that have reached out to the team to be a part of the coaching staff and they were denied. It is really sad.
LG: Favorite U.S. Women’s and Men’s National Team players?
SM: Carli Lloyd and Christian Pulisic
LG: Favorite international player?
LG: Where do you see yourself in the future?
SM: I would like to be a college coach one day.
1 on 1 with Jorge Campos
Rene Miramontes showed off his interviewing and bilingual skills with an exclusive 1 on 1 session with Jorge Campos, former Mexican striker and goal keeper.
Here’s a recap of Miramontes’ interview with Campos:
RM: Review of Jorge Campos’ Career Highlights
JC: 1990 Third Best Goalkeeper in the World – Mexico, 1995 FIFA Confederations Cup Champion – Mexico, 1990-1995 Best Goalkeeper Mexican 1st Division, 130 International matches with El Tri, 1996 & 1997 MLS All Star.
RM: What do you attribute to your success?
JC: The passion that I feel for the game, was my driving force. Every time someone told me I would never be a goal keeper, it motivated me even further.
RM: What would excite you more, making a save or scoring a goal?
JC: Making a save — anyone can score a goal.
RM: Who is the best coach you have had and why?
JC: My father, because he is the one that introduced me to being a striker and keeper. By the end of my career, I realized the importance of being a well rounded player.
RM: How difficult is it to qualify in CONCACAF?
JC: It is very difficult, especially for Mexico because every team want to beat the “powerhouse”, so they play even harder.
RM: How important is the keeper/sweeper concept?
JC: It is a very important part of the modern game because today, keepers are expected to play as an extra defender and safe guard the space behind defenders.
RM: Brazil 2014 – What was the most tactical innovation you observed?
JC: The way Germany pressed all over the field in addition to having the best keeper.
RM: What advice would you give a youth coach, in terms of goalkeeping development?
JC: To be passionate about playing and teach young players values and respect through the sport.
The Crusaders’ Way
Once again presenting, Rene Miramontes shared an insight as to what makes his Presidio soccer club successful.
Here’s a recap of Miramontes’ presentation:
Crusaders Soccer Club Mission Statement:
To provide the best environment where all membership can grow and maximize their soccer experience.
Have a clear concept of your game model.
For Crusaders its to immediately recover the ball. (Motivated by Barcelona)
Have the appropriate administrative support.
Create an organization chart and specific job parameters.
Have a yearly/monthly calendar that breaks down the skills, tactics and play, the entire club (every coach and team) will focus on.
Select the appropriate coaching staff.
Target coaches for Crusaders are enthusiastic, a positive communicator, good organizer, and has soccer knowledge.
Develop a unified coaching approach.
Create a coaching language. Crusaders has a monthly coaches meetings, focusing on topics that support their game model.
Be flexible and evaluate constantly.
Understand your roadblocks. Crusaders has to be aware that they are in an area where there are 8 clubs within a 10 mile radius.
Find the balance between results and development.
For Crusaders, this means focus on developing May to July, “play-to-win” from August to November, and December to February the focus is determined on team-by-team basis (a team with advance players will focusing on results/winning, a team that is still growing will focus on development).
Don’t forget it’s just a game (…or is it?)
Are you a Presidio Member that also attended the NSCAA Convention? Share your comments below!