Featured Coach: Messias Souza dos Santos of Atletico SR
Our Featured Coach series continues with an interview with Messias Souza dos Santos of Atletico Santa Rosa.
He currently serves as the Director of Coaching for the club, and has 20+ years of experience coaching in Brazil, Mexico, and the United States. He also played soccer both semi-professionally and professionally from 1989 to 2001.
You can learn more about his experience in the game by visiting his official Atletico Santa Rosa page.
1. Who is your favorite professional player to watch, and what is it about his game that intrigues you the most?
Messias: My favorite professional player is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, also known as “Pelé”.
He was amazing to watch because of his creativity, fantastic dribbling skills, athleticism, and his ability to score goals. Pelé always made the game look easy because he had astonishing mobility and awareness on the field.
2. What are the major characteristics that you try to instill in your players in order to help them strive to become a complete soccer player?
Messias: There are several major characteristics that I want my players to have. Particularly, I want my players to possess great technique through special efforts.
In order to achieve this, I instill the concept of hard work through extra training, commitment, and a lot of repetitions, which in turn builds confidence. These elements together are crucial in building the foundation that will lead players to become a complete soccer player.
3. Is there a specific individual training drill that you would recommend for all youth soccer players?
Messias: My recommendation for all youth soccer players is to work with the soccer ball on a daily basis. This will help players to master moves and build the skills needed to beat the opponent and change directions.
Initially, I recommend starting with basic moves against an unopposed obstacle. After the moves become automatic, a player should increase the speed and the level of difficulty by playing against opposition (siblings, parents, or friends).
Good soccer players need to be great on 1 vs.1 duals. This will allow the player to be able to fix problems during the game.
4. What gives you the most satisfaction as a coach in terms of player and team development?
Messias: As a soccer coach, my satisfaction comes from seeing my players' confidence and strengths grow. I also love watching them become successful adults.
Specifically, my satisfaction comes from supporting families' efforts to develop morality in their children, and instilling basic values that will lead them to a dignified, inclusive, and successful life in our community.
Equally, it also satisfies me to see my team play with confidence and to play the beautiful game with the style that I have taught them. Watching my team build up from the back and use progressive possession makes me proud.
5. What is the most influential piece of advice that you've received that's helped you throughout your career?
Messias: The most influential piece of advice that I have learned is that the individual comes before anything. Understanding an individual’s environment such as their culture, socioeconomic status, and lifestyle allows me to interact and connect with them. Every individual is different and coaches need to know how to handle diversity.
I believe that being humble and keeping an open mind allows us to continue to learn and improve.