Coach Marcelo Gangotena was recently hired by the Chantilly Soccer Club as their new Club Technical Director. He holds a USSF 'A' license, a USSF National Youth License, an NSCAA Director of Coaching Certificate, and is currently an instructor with the VYSA Coaching Education Department. With over 35 years of experience in the Northern Virginia area as a coach, player, and instructor Coach Marcelo is uniquely qualified to lend his observations of the
current state of club soccer and youth soccer development in Northern Virginia.
What is the state of youth soccer development in Northern Virginia?
I am concerned of people creating more and more clubs, most of them without a solid structure, no curriculum, no coaching and parents education, but just for the business part and not thinking about
the development of the players. Some clubs in Virginia are well structured, most are not. VYSA is making a big effort to encourage Clubs to get organized and make available licenses for all volunteer coaches so they can follow the appropriate steps to develop our young players. My hope for the future is that they all get on one side and work together for the good of the game.
What should parents look for in a soccer club for their children?
Qualified, licensed coaches, that the club has a curriculum, that they offer coach's and parent's education, and most importantly asking whether their kids are having fun playing/participating in the team.
How important is club culture?
Very important. Club culture and identity needs to align with the parents/players values and beliefs. If a club doesn't offer the values that you go by, then it is time to move on.
What improvements are you making as Club Technical Director at the Chantilly Soccer Club?
I am implementing a new identity to create a club culture. CSC has been in existence for over 35 years, but in all this time the Club has not had an identity, nor a club Culture. The idea is to implement a curriculum in lines with US Youth Soccer and the US Soccer Federation. We will educate coaches and parents, we will outreach to our community and let them know what soccer is and what this wonderful game will do for our kids in our community.
How important is it to have curriculum with a defined player development pathway?
Very important. The coach and the player environment needs to be improved. We need less emphasis on winning and think more about individual player development. We want to give young players opportunities by putting them in the best environment to succeed. There are no short cuts, and we need to be patient. The use of small sided games is necessary to develop individual skills
and intelligence in accordance with a player's capabilities before we move to the next step.
What types of programs does CSC offer to support its curriculum and player development model?
We are establishing various programs where the players can choose according to their needs, availability, and love of the game. Regular training where a curriculum will be followed, Foot Skill Clinics where the player can improve and get more confident with the ball, Stickers Clinic for the
more advance player who wants to learn scoring technique, Goalkeeper training, with a qualified goalkeeper coach, to learn the fundamentals of goalkeeping, Free Play for everyone to come and have fun playing and learning in a "free' environment in the "Street Soccer" format.
Later on for the winter we will offer futsal indoor training and competition and outdoor competition of small-sided games consisting of 7 v 7 or 8 v 8 depending on age.
Q. Who is your favorite player: Current? All time?
Coach Marcelo: There is not just one player. If I had to choose it would be Andres Iniesta from Barcelona. As a midfielder/playmaker, he is a very smart player who can read the game and make good decisions. Also, there is Messi, for his "amazing" individualism that can make a difference any time in the game.
All time player, I think Johan Cruyff is one of the pioneers of modern soccer.
Q. Who is your favorite team?
Coach Marcelo: There is not one particular team. When I watch games, I want to see good, technical soccer that is played as a team.
Q. Who is your favorite coach?
Coach Marcelo: Diego (Cholo) Simeone. He is a great motivator with strong knowledge of both the psychological and tactical part of the game.
Q. Who has been your biggest inspiration in soccer?
Coach Marcelo: In my youth the feelings of competing and challenging others in the game were my inspiration- creating the love of the game I have now. As I grow up I play with and watch players like Polo Carrera (Liga Deportiva Universitaria, Quito Ecuador) who was a left footed, play maker. He could place the ball wherever he wanted with the left foot, and was incredibly accurate. I think he was the Ecuadorian Beckham in the 70's.
Thank you Coach Marcelo for sitting down with us, and good luck in your new position at the Chantilly Soccer Club.