Soccer Pro Brian Farber Never Gives Up Being The Best He Can Be — and Inspiring Others To Reach Their Dreams
A Man to Respect and a Trainer to Seek Out: San Diego Sockers’s Brian Farber is a phenomenal youth soccer trainer and a dynamic pro player. During his indoor soccer career, Farber has received All-League First Team honors on four occasions and is second in total points only to teammate Kraig Chiles. He has five championship rings, which also includes being named MVP during the 2008/09 season with the Stockton Cougars. Farber also won the 2015 Arena Soccer World Cup with the United States.
Here is Farber’s Backstory:
San Diego’s Brian Farber is an amazingly passionate soccer player. A star on the San Diego Sockers and a youth soccer coach with an astute ability to help players improve their game, Farber is a man driven by his desire to play and grow the beautiful game.
Growing up in a small Idaho town, Farber did not have a “real” soccer coach until high school. He was fast, so he beat other players. But when he was young, no one ever taught him how to work on his first touch or play with his back to the goal.
What he did have, though, were coaches who passed along their passion for the game, and pushed him to be the best. As a youth player, his team always won.
College was a humbling experience.
The 2000 Idaho State Soccer Player of the Year had lots of technical catching up to do, first at North Idaho College and then Oregon State — where he made the All-Pac-10 team.
Those experiences — the lack of real youth coaching, followed by his exposure to coaches who finally broke the game down for him — inspired him to become one of the top trainers in Southern California. He has seven San Diego Sockers teammates working with him at Next Level Footballers Academy — a program focused on helping elite players take their game to the next level. They all believe in his mission.
Farber says, “Every player — even the best kid — can learn and improve.”
He takes “hungry, eager kids — the ones who never stop working.” Combining an unmatched eye for details with a strong knowledge of the many different ways in which youngsters learn, Next Level FA offers training with real professionals — and not from youth soccer coaches who dreamt of becoming a professional but were never able to make the cut.
Farber is raising the level of play for San Diego’s next generation of athletes.
Each player has a different goal. One wants to move up from the B to the A team. Another hopes to make the U.S. National U17 team. A third wants to play at a D1 college; a fourth, just to earn more playing time on his current club. All receive the same close attention — and the same emphasis on touch, vision, balance and technique that makes the difference between an elite or adequate player, and one who truly understands and “feels” the game.
Farber has spent the last 10 years as a pro, which included a stint with the Portland Timbers. He also played with the former Minnesota Thunder (USL), Houston Dynamo and the Carolina RailHawks (now North Carolina FC). He received All-League honors during his tenure with Portland and Minnesota.
Farber’s professional mindset carries over into everything he does. While many private trainers grab a corner of a public field at a neighborhood park, Farber’s secured a private, full field on the site of a former horse farm in the Rancho Santa Fe area of San Diego. There’s a full array of equipment, including a $7,000 ball machine.
But nice grass and modern gear means nothing without a clear curriculum and the ability to communicate effectively to youth soccer players. For the past 12 years, Farber has studied the best coaching methods. He’s spent just as much time figuring out what doesn’t work.
He’s seen highly regarded coaches unable to instruct high-level players in the proper ways to time their runs, receive a pass or strike a ball.
“It’s easy to identify mistakes, like a player who doesn’t pick up his head,” Farber says.
But where many coaches simply say “pick up your head,” he teaches players why it is important and breaks down the game so they understand what decisions to make. Farber brings soccer to its most elemental level. “Once players slow their brains down, then they really understand what they’re doing,” he explains. “Then we build it back up – better than before.”
That’s not exactly brain surgery. But it’s something Farber sees far too little of.
“Private instruction should not be for just elite players,” he says. “It should be mandatory. Coaches should take kids off to the side before every session — review important aspects of a player’s game, one on one. If you don’t do that, you let kids coast through sessions.”
No one coasts at Next Level. Yet, he does not yell, or use criticism as a motivational tool.
Farber is relentlessly positive and encouraging, whether explaining or demonstrating.
“You see a kid who loses the ball on his first touch of the game. The coach throws up his hands. That kid is lost for the rest of the match,” Farber says. “You can never be afraid to lose the ball. It happens. You need to play with confidence, or you’ll never play up to your potential.”
That positive attitude comes from experience. Serious injuries left him in pain, wondering if he’d ever walk without pain again — let alone play the game he loves. Farber has also had other jobs — including working for Puma, and his current position as soccer manager for SKLZ — but playing and coaching are his passion.
Farber may not have had the best coaches growing up. But he had coaches who pushed him hard, and loved the game.
At the San Diego Sockers, Farber is a force in the arena. A star player, whose speed and intelligence makes a difference, Farber holds himself to a high standard.
His road to this position was not easy. Even last season he was out — months ago, a tackle that tore his knee left him wondering if he’d ever walk without pain again; he also endured an automobile accident that crushed his back and neck. Farber’s injuries would have ended most soccer players’ careers. His longevity — and success — are part of what make him a special athlete.
Farber amazed his doctors with his triumphant return to the game. He’s now combining his knowledge and motivation as the next generation of players in Southern California reap the benefits.
Photo Credit: Richard Pecjak Jr