NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Last week head men’s and women’s soccer coaches, Terry Davila and Keith West, were invited by the San Fernando American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) to be guest speakers at their Annual Soccer Coaching Academy held at Kennedy High School in Granada Hills, Calif. Over 50 coaches attended the Coaches Academy with the goal to improve their coaching technique for soccer skills and develop a healthy, positive attitude, teamwork, and good sportsmanship.
Davila encouraged the aspiring coaches to develop a plan that allows the players in their programs to express themselves, their talents and their freedom. “Everyone sees soccer in a different way and it’s important to allow the athlete to express themselves. Soccer is a beautiful sport and I like to let my student athletes play. You can teach technique and you can increase fitness and endurance, but you can’t teach the decision,” expressed Davila. “Let them play, encourage their creativity and allow them to fall in love with this beautiful game.”
In his message to the coaches, West expressed the importance of finding athletes who wanted to put in the work to get better and are not afraid of what it takes to win. The coaches at the academy were interested in what major characteristics coaches look for in potential student athletes. West said he looks for three things; he likes athletes that are physical, technical, and tactical. “I look for players that can play with their heads up, players that can see their option down the field. My main goal is to find young people that can find the answer to win the game.”
Both coaches agreed they like the direction that soccer is taking in the United States and attribute much of its growth to organizations like AYSO. Davila passionately expressed, “The game is growing, the game in the USA is growing. AYSO is a big part of that in this area. People are seeing the beauty of soccer, and expecting good soccer and that is exciting for our kids and challenges them to play the game well.” Coach West added, “Soccer is an international game and it has captured our country. We are excited to see such positive growth in the community and thrilled to work with coaches that embrace the sport and encourage our kids to play.”
AYSO works to provide world-class youth soccer program that enrich children’s lives. Its mission is to develop and deliver quality youth soccer programs that promote a fun, family environment.
The Matador Soccer programs are both coming off a successful season with the men’s and women’s teams both winning the Big West Conference Soccer Championships last year, and the men’s team earning a spot in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The men’s soccer program will open its home slate at the newly renovated Matador Soccer Field on August 30 vs. Albany at 7:30 pm. The Women’s team will open up their home schedule with an exhibition on Saturday, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m. and will play its first regular season home match on Friday, Sept. 6 when they host Houston at 7:30 p.m.