Featured Coach: Isaiah Schwerin of Central Marin SC
Our Featured Coach series continues with an interview with Isaiah Schwerin of Central Marin Soccer Club.
Schwerin coaches boys and girls at various ages for the Central Marin Soccer Club, and has coached high school soccer at Marin Academy. He holds a USSF National D License and Coerver Academy Youth Diploma.
Last season, his U12 boys won the Bronze NorCal State Cup.
You can learn more about his experience in the game and Central Marin SC by visiting the club's official site.
1. What is your approach to developing youth soccer players?
Schwerin: The focus has to be on engineering technical players.
Cultivating ball mastery is a huge part of developing a well rounded player: first-touch, ball manipulation, ability to play with both feet, comfort controlling the ball with the inside/outside of foot, and the confidence and creativity to take opponents on 1v1 are the key building blocks to future success.
2. How important is team building for young soccer players?
Schwerin: It might be the most important aspect to discovering success during your season. From day one of mini-camp, whenever I work with a new team, I spend at least a few hours over the course of the week doing some fun team building exercises that get the players working together.
It's also important to teach players to 'greet' each other at the start of every session/match: a quick fist-bump, 'how's it going?', or 'what's up girl?' goes a long way in reducing any cliques that might develop amongst the players.
3. Is it tough to balance player development with winning expectations from parents and the club?
Schwerin: Yes, it can be very challenging. Competitive programs have paid coaches that are expected to improve players and get results straight out of the gate.
The reality is that many kids need a lot of time to improve and coaches are often on a short leash. At the end of the day, every coach should know that player development must by the priority despite outside pressures.
4. How can a coach relay that message to a team-parent community?
Schwerin: Communicate, communicate, communicate. Coaches of youth players are endowed with a sacred trust and sharing information on training progress, a matchday review, checking in on an injured player, or addressing rumors circulating through a team community is a great way to earn respect and support.
If parents know that you care about the big picture, their child's human development, as well as their athletic achievements, they will be more focused on that positive side of your mentoring than any wins or losses that might come on the pitch.
5. What advice would you give to young players looking to take their game to the next level?
Schwerin: Watch the pros do their thing. Watching the best players in the world is one of the best teaching tools a young player has at their disposal. Get inspired by the creative passing of a Mesut Ozil, the brilliant dribbles of a Lionel Messi, the vision of a Carli Lloyd, or great goalkeeping of Hope Solo. Then practice, practice, practice.
Imitate the moves, work on your ball mastery, setup an obstacle course in backyard to hone your through balls, or get mom or dad to shoot on you to practice your diving saves!
Talent is not given, it's develop through hard work, focused practice, and passion for the sport.