Featured Coach: Jimmy Obleda of Fullerton Rangers
Our Featured Coach series continues with an interview with Jimmy Obleda of Fullerton Rangers Youth Soccer Club.
Obleda currently serves as the Director of Coaching and Technical Development for the club. He was named the Regional Youth Coach of the Year in 2011, as well the National Youth Coach of the Year by the NSCAA.
You can learn more about his experience in the game by checking out his official Fullerton Rangers profile.
1. Who is your favorite professional player to watch, and what is it about his game that intrigues you the most?
Jimmy: My favorite soccer player has to be Luis Suarez. I know, I know, not the guy on many people's favorites list. But putting all that "other stuff" aside, he is not only an incredible soccer and goalscorer, but the ultimate team player.
He is constantly working for the team and his teammates. Never too proud to chase a ball down or pressure a defender to win a ball back after losing it, Suarez always sacrifices himself for the good of the team and the cause. His attitude is not something you see in today's game very often! And for all the extra that he does, he continues to score goals and be one of the top 5 players in the world.
What he did at Liverpool is legendary!
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?
Jimmy: Commitment and Sacrifice. I would say more than characteristics they are the VALUES that I try to instill in all my players to become not only complete players, but complete people. I feel that the player must be COMMITTED to being the best they can be if they want to make their dreams come true. And being committed means sticking to it through the difficult and trying moments that all soccer players and people go through.
The good times are easy. It's the hard times that we really see what we are made of. And sacrifice, to me, it what is the key to all of it!
What sacrifices are you willing to do to make it happen? Are you willing to train on your own to become better? Are you willing to miss hanging out with your friends so that you are ready to play a game in the morning? Are you going to do the extra stuff to get yourself into the starting line-up?
I feel that these two values are the corner stone to helping players be successful. All the other stuff is gravy.
3. Is there a specific individual training drill that you would recommend for all youth soccer players?
Jimmy: Yeah, find a wall and hit the ball everyday against it. Left, right, inside, outside, receiving, volleying, hit it hard, hit it soft, hit it close or from far away, etc. There is no secret to becoming a great soccer player nor does it need to be complicated.
Kids from around the world with a lot less than what we have here are doing it and developing on their own into world class players. The key for me goes back to these questions: How committed is the player to becoming better and what sacrifices is the player willing to do to be the best they can be? If you want to be good, have a ball at your feet every single day.
4. What gives you the most satisfaction as a coach in terms of player and team development?
Jimmy: My biggest satisfaction as a coach is seeing individual players improve to a level they never thought possible. Seeing players succeed at a level that they never thought possible gives me great joy. It's a true testament to their commitment to seeing themselves being successful and a drive to being a great soccer player.
I feel that it's our job to push players to reach the full potential of what they can be and it's the players job to want to reach that potential for themselves. And if every player on a team takes that attitude towards the team and buys into the cause and objectives, this elevates the team to a whole new level.
When that is accomplished, it makes all the hard work, sweat, and tears worthwhile!
5. What is the most influential piece of advice that you've received that's helped you throughout your career?
Jimmy: I have been blessed to have had many influential and not so influential people give me incredible advice throughout my career. Many years ago, I created a notebook that I continue to add to with any and all words of relevance that can be helpful in my career daily.
However, there are two that have stuck with me ever since I first became a coach.
The first is to always remain humble. You can never be above the game. Because if you are not humble, "the game" will take care of that for you.
And the second is to always strive to grow and become a better coach. Always! Because the moment you feel you know everything there is to know about "the game", you are no longer good for the game.