Club Soccer Spotlight: Tad Bobak of the Southern California Blues
Tad Bobak grew up with the beautiful game in his native Brazil and he has spent much of his adult life teaching his soccer philosophy to youth players in the United States.
The Southern California Blues Program Director has coached at all levels, from the pros and college to club.
But perhaps his greatest contribution has been to pioneer the girls’ SoCal ODP program that helped develop such luminaries of the women’s game as Julie Foudy, Joy Fawcett and Shannon Boxx.
“I was asked to start the ODP for girls in Southern California in 1982 with (Soka University Men's Head Soccer Coach) Marine Cano,” Tad explained.
One of Tad's goals was to create a club with a hierarchy of teams beginning at the youth level and ending with a powerful women's side. In 1985 he founded the Southern California Blues Adult Women's Team and his ambition was achieved when Larry Draluck formed the Southern California Blues youth program in 1990.
Now with 27 girls teams aged from U9 to U18, the San Juan Capistrano-based Blues are almost exclusively focused on youth development.
“The youth program has grown so much that the adult side is dormant right now,” he said. “We are geared to create a healthy, positive, competitive and fun environment with talented female athletes. The goal is to encourage our players to grow as positive people, students and soccer players.”
Tad started coaching at the age of 22 and he hasn’t looked back. He has worked with the LA Aztecs of the NASL, he was an assistant men's coach at USC, UCLA and Cal State-Los Angeles and is former Head Coach of the UC Santa Barbara women's college soccer program.
Included in Tad's coaching experience is a short stint as assistant coach for the U.S. Women's National Team in 1987 under Anson Dorrance.
Here, he tackled Football.com’s Q&A:
1. How would you best describe your soccer philosophy?
We want to help youngsters grow; through their mental toughness, physical attributes, and knowledge of the game, first and foremost defensively and then through to offense so they understand the game as a whole.
2. What are the major characteristics that you try to instill in your players in order to help them become a complete soccer player?
A good work ethic and the ability to have fun playing the game. We want them to enjoy what the English call ‘proper football’ that makes sense as they are playing.
3. What specific individual training drill would you recommend for all youth soccer players?
I have searched for many years to find the “perfect drill” but I have come to the conclusion that mini games - 2x2, 3x3, 5x5 or maybe 6x6 - are the best kind of training exercises.
4. What gives you the most satisfaction as a coach in terms of player and team development?
Through the years teaching life skills and finding value in the sport of soccer has been the biggest trophy for me. These experiences will stick with them for the rest of their lives.
5. What’s the best piece of advice that you would offer to any youth soccer player?
Make sure that they are passionate about the game and go out there and have fun and compete hard. That’s the key.