Sunday, October 25, 2009

Speed and Agility Drills

This is the video I promised you on speed and agility training. This is another f.r.e.e. excerpt from our DVD, "Building the Complete Soccer Athlete: Train Like a Pro". If you don't have a copy yet, you can pick yours up by clicking the image of the DVD on the left.

This video will show you some great drills you can include in your training program right away! Check it out:

The Complete Soccer Athlete

During the 16 years that I’ve been coaching youth soccer, I’ve had the fortune to see many great players develop and I’ve observed the qualities that are necessary to excel at this sport. Many young soccer players are happy just to show up and play simply for the love of the game, which is fantastic. However, this article is for those athletes who dream of taking their game to the next level; for the player who wants to become the complete soccer athlete.

My primary focus in coaching soccer at the youth level has always been “Technique, technique, technique.” A strong player needs to be technically skilled with both feet, and be able to apply those skills appropriately on the field. Good ball control and the ability to read the play are essential. To be a well rounded player, you also need to be fit, athletic, fast, and mentally focused.

Technique is something that can be coached, and something that I’ve become very proficient at coaching over the years. Fitness and physical conditioning are other aspects that a coach or trainer can develop in their players by implementing regimented athletic conditioning programs. But there are other important qualities that must be developed in order to become the best soccer player you can be. Some of these qualities a coach has less influence over.

Qualities such as maturity, independence, mental toughness, creativity, and what I call that certain “X-Factor” (or WOW Factor) can be encouraged and modeled by a good coach, but these are characteristics that a player will need to develop on their own. Incidentally, this is the sort of personal development that will not only make you more successful at soccer, but also more successful at life in general.

WOW Factor

A player should view their sport not only as competition but also as entertainment, and should therefore learn to be creative and add another dimension to their game. Put yourself in the position of a fan or a spectator. Would you pay to watch a boring game? I don’t think so. The game is about entertainment. People want to see a quality game with great athletes, plenty of creativity, and exciting goals! When a talented player can enter the field of play and change the chemistry of the game in such a way that makes the crowd go crazy, that’s what I call the X-Factor. This player is unique, creative, skillful, and passionate about the sport. These are the qualities that make us remember a player, and this is part of what makes a “star” stand out from the rest.

Here are some of my recommendations for those who want to take it to the next level, and who dream of being a pro:

•Be a student of the game. Take a personal interest in learning everything you can.
•Eat right, stay fit, train smart, and adopt a positive attitude.
•Be unique and creative. Develop your own personal style and make a difference on the field!
•Become a master of technique. Try to be the best in your position.
•Being talented is great, but you must also be a team player! A superstar is of no use if they can’t work with the team.
•To be a pro, you have to eat, sleep and breathe soccer!

Remember to have a strong work ethic when you train, and perform your drills with intensity. Don't worry about mistakes. Even the pros make mistakes.

I encourage you to check out my new DVD, “Building the Complete Soccer Athlete: Train Like a Pro”, which covers strength and conditioning programs, speed and agility training, nutrition, psychology, and several important technical drills with the ball. Go to for more information. If you have any questions, or if you are interested in participating in our program, feel free to contact me at or 416-319-1729.

I wish you lots of success!

Coach Clayton Rosario

About the Author:

Technical Director

Clayton has been coaching soccer at the youth level ever since he came to Canada in 1981 from London, England. He is known for the many successes his teams have achieved: Nine league championships U8 to U14, winner of over 70 tournaments including the Robbie International and USA Cup. He took the Mississauga U17 OYSL for a 4 game exhibition tour in the north of France winning 3 and losing 1, as well as taking different teams to other European countries. Clayton is an expert in creating youth development programs and has been involved in a number of leading OYSL clubs. His focus is on developing the total player, incorporating technical training, ball control, creativity, high performance training, nutrition, and psychology.

•Specializes in technical development of youth level soccer athletes.
•Instrumental in sending many talented young players to Europe.
•Has traveled all over US, UK, Italy, and France for team tours
•Visited training centers of Manchester United and formation centers of Lille and OGC Nice France.
•Specializes in Dutch, French, and Brazilian training methods
•Co-producer of the DVD- “Building the Complete Soccer Athlete: Train Like a Pro”

Preparing a Young Player for a Try Out to a Professional Club

Becoming a professional soccer player is not an easy task.

Most importantly a player needs talent, secondly desire, and finally, mental toughness.

During my 18 years of coaching I have come across a number of success stories and many disasters. In coordinating trials to Europe for my own son, I can share some of my own personal experiences and knowledge.

A common issue is a parent wanting their child to ‘make it’ more than the player wants it themselves. This puts undue pressure on the player to succeed at all costs. In many of these cases the players will quit out of frustration or rebel, especially in their teenage years. The sad thing is many of these young players had the talent to make it. I have seen a number of very talented young players returning home from abroad due to home sickness or not being able to stick it out during difficult periods. The players have to want it themselves and be self motivated.

There is no secret to success aside from hard work, dedication and commitment to training.

The following is a list of guidelines and tips for Pro Club trials:

Talented Players age 7-12

Trials at this age are not necessary. What is important is preparation and efficient use of time. Ensure that players this age are in a fun training environment that allows them to use their individual creativity and develop a love for the game. Players this age should be in a “no-scores” and “no-pressure to win” game environment.

Games should be small-sided so players get many touches on the ball. This improves technique, quick decision making and confidence. Avoid too much traveling as time and money is wasted in transit to games and training which are too far away. Utilize this time towards additional training close to home.

Put school as a priority. There is no guarantee a player will become pro. If they are serious about going all the way then they need to learn how to balance school, training, and chores at home. The discipline off the field will help them tremendously on the field.

Talented Players Age 13-14

At this age players should go and experience some training at a pro club abroad and measure their talent against the top youth there. Investigate if a career in professional soccer is want they want. This experience will tell them if they are ready and educate them on what they need to improve to play at a high Pro youth level.

I would recommend a player go to a country where they have family as that would reduce costs and give parents a peace of mind knowing their child is with family. The costs for roughly two weeks abroad (if the player is not staying with family) averages $2500- $3,000. This would include flight, accommodation, food, and transportation.

Getting the opportunity to train at a Pro Club can be difficult. A player and parent will have to do their homework. Academy, Provincial or National coaches may have some good contacts. However, a player may have some luck by sending a letter and a quality DVD showing clips of their training and games to academy directors of Pro clubs.

An efficient and cost effective way to send information these days is via email. You can post the clips on YOUTUBE and send an email with an attachment of the letter and a link of the clip on YOUTUBE.

Talented players Age 15-17

At this age my belief is players should be one of the best in Canada before pursuing permanent opportunities abroad. Even that may not be enough, therefore it is necessary to do whatever it takes to become better than what is expected abroad. For example, this may mean more technical training, doing high performance training, incorporating good nutritional habits, applying sports psychology, studying the games of successful players, etc. Becoming a student of the game and reaching peak performance is a necessity.

The reality is that if a player is as good as what they have in a Pro club they will not sign the player. The player has to be better than what they have.

Strive to make your provincial and National program. Also, try to make it in an MLS Pro Youth system locally. If you request a trial at a pro youth club the first thing they will ask is the player involved in their National Program. Also, they will request references and game clips.

Pro Clubs get contacts from thousands of player’s every day requesting trials so if the player’s resume is not up to par they will not consider them. However, if a player is not in the National or Provincial Program it is not the end of the World.

Some players do sneak through the cracks. In these cases a reputable scout or FIFA agent can make a recommendation on behalf of the player. Some players have been fortunate to be spotted at local International Summer Camps; for example, Jonathan DeGuzman was spotted by a coach from Feyernoord running a camp in Toronto. If the coach sees the potential in a player he would be a good reference for getting into their club for training or a future trial.

Avoid babysitting camps. You will have to do your research by talking to people and getting feedback of their experience at a particular camp. A player identified at a camp in Canada does not guarantee success abroad. Avoid unscrupulous people charging exorbitant amounts of money to arrange a trial on false hopes and promises. Once again, do your home work and get references.

Lastly, if a player catches the eye of a club there is a good chance the player will get a call back and the club will incur all costs.

Some points to consider when a player is ready for a trial:

Go to a country where your family roots are from. If a player is under the age of 18 and has no connection to the country where the trial is held, it will be very difficult to stay in that country. Having family in the country where the trial is going to be will provide a good support system if the trial is successful. As mentioned some players do get homesick. Having family around can ease the pain.

Don’t pay any fee to someone offering to arrange a trial.

Some clubs may cover your housing while on trial which means the player covers their own flight. If a trial is successful expenses will be reimbursed. If a club does not know the player well and is not willing to take on any expenses the player will be responsible for cost of full trip. Flight, hotel, food, and transportation may amount to $2,500 to $3,000 approximately. Again, if the trial is successful all expenses will be returned.

The best case scenario is that the club is impressed with the players resume, player clips, or reference from scout or FIFA agent and they pay all expenses for trial.

Lastly, I always suggest players have back up plans. As I mentioned earlier, education is important. Elite players should be preparing for their SAT’s and exposing themselves to US scholarship opportunities. There are different ways to achieving one’s goals.

There is nothing wrong with having a degree at age 22, playing in the MLS for a few years and then heading to a top club in Europe. Also, between University semesters players can go on Trials, such during the summer break in July. This way education is not affected.

In summary, find out every detail about the trial. Also try to avoid having the player travel alone, and if this is unavoidable, make sure you know the person picking them up at the airport destination. I hope the information I have provided will be helpful and save you some of the headaches many players have experienced in the past. I wish you all the best of luck in pursuing your dreams of becoming a professional soccer athlete!

Yours in Soccer,

Coach Clayton Rosario

Technical Director

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Calvin Rosario (#7) Game Footage

My son, Calvin Rosario playing in Niagara mens money tournament on Feb 2009.

Elite Soccer Development is LIVE!

Hey guys,
You need to check to check out my NEW website which just went live this week, at! I will be posting updates for training, academy schedule, seminars, and other great soccer training resources.
Check it out and check back here for more info and training content soon!

Coach Clayton Rosario