SDFA Handbook Provides Guide to Success for Players and Coaches Alike
Although still relatively young as soccer clubs go, San Diego Football Academy (SDFA) has proven to be a solid, forward-thinking organization dedicated to providing training for the whole player. Under the leadership of Director of Coaching Johnson Asiedu and Club President Dr. Bill Engfelt, Ph.D., SDFA has brought together a solid coaching staff which includes former U.S. Women’s National Team member Jen Lalor-Nielsen, international coach Bo Nielsen and current San Diego Sockers defensive star Ze Roberto. To help this top-notch staff better provide the instruction the young players deserve, SDFA has created the SDFA Handbook as a guide to best practices. The Handbook serves as a tool for SDFA’s Player Development for parents, players and coaches.
Determined to provide the best environment in which to allow players to reach their potential, Engfelt has worked closely with Asiedu – a man he greatly admires – to help develop the SDFA Handbook. With the goal of offering a complete development package for their players, the Handbook is provided to each SDFA player and family so that all expectations are clear from the beginning.
The SDFA Handbook is a tool for player development as well as a source of valuable information and inspiration for soccer families. With an emphasis on the San Diego Football Academy being one club where the parent, coach and player come together for the success of the team, the handbook celebrates life at the club in all aspects. The latest edition commemorates the graduating class of 2013, listing where the players will attend college (UC Berkeley, Duke University, SDSU, UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara, and Arizona State to name a few).
SDFA also includes a Parent Expectation and Acknowledgement section in the handbook, which it requests parents read, cut out, sign and return. Similar to many international academies, this handbook also explains the player guidelines and expectations, including recommending that players conduct themselves with pride and always in a respectful manner.
Standardization is a key to a successful organization, and the Handbook takes the mystery out of each and every coach setting up their own recommendations. The SDFA Handbook offers club-wide rules on a variety of topics from when to arrive at the field before a youth soccer match to the job description of a Team Manager. To facilitate communication with coaches, the Handbook includes contact information for the staff, which also includes Greg Lee, Vartan Mahdessian, Mario Negrete, Luana, Nick Foster, Nicole Borownski, Rich Cortez, David Rowe, Josh Westermann and Bello Alhassan.
While the SDFA slogan is the familiar “Be the Best You Can Be,” these are not simply empty words. The club’s attitude towards players and their families clearly represents this approach to player development, and it is reflected in the contents of the Handbook. Perhaps the most impressive and unique tips in the Handbook are in the section on Diet and Nutrition. While a good diet will not turn a player in to a Superman, it will make sure that he or she can play to the best of their ability. Many people don’t know that a player playing in a competitive soccer match can lose between 2lbs and 5lbs of body weight from sweat loss. The guide even tells players what they should drink or eat immediately after a game.
Along with a strong player-centered curriculum, dedicated coaches and a thought-out plan for success handbook for players and parents, SDFA offers a unique approach to bringing out the best of each youth player. One way the club has done this is through their partnership with Celtic FC, one of the top clubs in the Scottish Premier League. Asiedu and Engfelt worked tirelessly to make this happen, and it has already paid dividends with the successful Celtic FC/SDFA International Development Academy Camp last summer.
“Our philosophy of developing players technically has been enhanced this year by our affiliation with the world-renowned, legendary Celtic FC of Glasgow, Scotland,” said Asiedu. “With this partnership, our players, parents and coaches have the opportunity to learn from one of the best soccer organizations in the world with a tried and tested methodology and approach to player development.”
While helping players to become their best in soccer is, of course, the primary goal of any club, SDFA also strives to develop the whole person that each member is. Beyond the training and the detailed goals and objectives for development, the club provides support for players in both academic and social development. Perhaps most enlightening to the understanding of the SDFA philosophy is the following quote from President Theodore Roosevelt that is included in the Handbook:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
With such inspiration as this, it is no wonder SDFA is achieving great success both on the field and off.