Benicia Arsenal FC players got to train for an afternoon with youth coaches from one of Brazil’s top clubs, Santos FC on Wednesday, October 10 at Benicia Community Park
Andre Alves and Professor Jose Laudier were in the Bay Area to run a weekend of coaching clinics. Arsenal FC’s Director of Coaching Alex Lobban helped arrange the clinics.
“It’s a great opportunity for our club, training our players and our coaches,” said Lobban as he watched Alves working with the kids. “He likes American soccer players.”
Alves coaches youth soccer for the Santos club and has worked with its top player, Neymar, who was 13 when he joined Santos FC. Professional clubs in Brazil and in Europe have youth programs that are tied to the professional club and act as development programs for the professional team.
On Wednesday, Alves coached the U-12 and U-13 boys with the help of local resident Paulo DeSuza - one time goalie for Santos FC- who acted as the interpreter while Lobban and other coaches looked on.
After each repetition of the drill Alves would take time to show players fancy footwork and how to take advantage of open passing lanes. “You’re head has to be up all the itme,” he admonished the players in his native Portugese with DeSuza repeating the words in English. Then Alves would demonstrate an artisitic pinpoint no-look pass leaving onlookers with no doubt why Brazil has consistently great teams.
At another field Professor Laudier was working with the Arsenal U-9 and U-10 girls teams. Laudier teaches soccer and physical education at the Universidade Santa Cecilia and coaches for Santos FC.
Laudier was impressed by what he saw in Benicia. “Americans are a strong people and the kids are strong and they love soccer,” said the perpetually smiling Laudier. “The most important thing is for the kids to play. It’s a game.”
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