Back in 2013, I wrote about the then-ongoing coaching development program the MLS was running for academy coaches throughout the league. Freddy Juarez was RSL's participant, and he was gracious enough to help me better understand what was happening and what outcomes they were looking for.
When Freddy was announced as the coach for the new Real Monarchs, I wondered how this training would impact him there, and what the academy would be doing in his absence. Kyle Kepner wrote an article over at Reckless Challenge, explaining why Freddy would be a good fit for the Monarchs, but he didn't get into the development program, so I decided to follow up.
Freddy was gracious enough to answer some more questions to help me understand the situation.
Pat Eyler: Freddy, the last time we spoke, we talked about the MLS program for coaching development in the academies. Now that you're no longer with the RSL Academy, how will they be able to leverage the training you took part in?
Freddy Juarez: I was fortunate to be able to take part in the French Course "French Elite Formation Diploma" in partnership with Major League Soccer that took 21 months to complete, but was well worth the time.
Our academy will continue to benefit from the course, our technical director Martin Vasquez and the rest of the staff were part of the process, helping me design training sessions and running them in the French way and also adopting the teaching style, "pedagogy", and adding it to our everyday player development.
The academy has over 70 French-style sessions that we built together during my training process.
It would also be great if MLS could start a second group, I think this would be a great benefit. The next cycle would not come in into an unknown, but already have a person in his club that has gone through the course and could really help guide the new candidate through the process and make it make sense. We were the first to do something like this and it was very challenging for the group.
Do you think there will be future iterations of that kind of coaching development for RSL and other academies in the US?
Juarez: I truly hope so; what MLS did with partnering up with the FFF was a great idea. It doesn't have to be with the French, it can be with another country and federation. The idea is for us as coaches and teachers to continue to learn and continue to get new ideas in the process, to help develop a higher quality of American player. US Soccer has now stepped up and are adding more material for current coaches and have taking it even further by adding coaching courses in the coming years that will be equal to courses being held in other countries.
How do you think that program helped prepare you for your new role with the Monarchs?
Juarez: I boosted my confidence because I feel I have more tools and background knowledge to take player development at the next level. For example, I learned to be more specific in training sessions, adding the physical development and understanding into the tactical and technical part of the game, and concentrating on sociological needs of each player and team.
What other benefits does your background with the Academy bring to RSL's USL Pro side and to the RSL family?
Juarez: Consistency with the club motto "The Team is the Star", "As One". I know the club. The players are bred with those messages at the academy level, which I believe will bring success up through the Monarchs to our 1st team.
I felt I was a good coach when I coached down in New Mexico with my friends and family in the Striker Futbol Club, but the Academy really allowed me to continue to develop as a more well rounded coach, with coaching in more competitive games in the academy league.
I have been fortunate to work with great coaches at RSL Academy, founder Greg Vanney (Toronto FC head coach) Mike Rabasca (Toronto FC academy director of cognitive development), Mike Munoz (LA Galaxy U18, U16 and U14 head coach), and current RSL staff that I feel are the best in the country: Martin Vasquez, (former Chivas USA Head Coach, Bayern Munich 1st assistant , US Mens National team assistant), Tony Bruce, GK coach Ignacio Hernandez, Mike Kraus and Henry Brauner. All this experience will only help me in my project, which is Real Monarchs.