The Fremont Podcast

Episode 107: From Playground Kicks to Community Goals with Dai Redwood

February 23, 2024 Ricky B and Dai Redwood Season 3 Episode 107
Episode 107: From Playground Kicks to Community Goals with Dai Redwood
The Fremont Podcast
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The Fremont Podcast
Episode 107: From Playground Kicks to Community Goals with Dai Redwood
Feb 23, 2024 Season 3 Episode 107
Ricky B and Dai Redwood

Soccer isn't just a game; it's a tapestry of personal connections and life lessons, something Dai Redwood, Executive Director of the Fremont Youth Soccer Club, knows all too well. From kickabouts in Welsh gymnasiums to nurturing young talent in California, he joins us to share how the sport shapes identities and communities. Our conversation  starts with the pure joy of playing for the love of the game and evolves into the nuanced world of coaching, where patience and an athlete-centered approach triumph over the scoreboard's tyranny.

As we reminisce about the transition from youthful play to adult leagues, we uncover the cultural heartbeat of soccer that resonates through the personal development of each player. The stories span the globe, from the influence of supportive family and mentors to the role of soccer in different cultural contexts. It's a tale of both the sport's universality and its local flavors, of how it fosters communication skills, and of the shared passion that can ignite a lifelong love for the game, regardless of whether you call it "soccer" or "football."

We talk about the architecture of youth sports programs with a critical eye, challenging the early competitive labels that can overshadow the true spirit of the game. We advocate for a nurturing environment where children develop at their own pace, guided by coaches who value growth over glory. It's about cultivating a holistic approach to player development, one that looks beyond immediate results and nurtures the seeds of future success. Join us for an in-depth exploration of the power of soccer to not only develop athletes but to build character and community.

For more information, check out these links below:

Check out the website here.

Follow them on Facebook here.

Follow on Instagram here.

Check out Own It Fitness for your professional fitness solutions. You can find their website here. 

Connect with them on Instagram here. 

If you are interested in supporting the podcast, please reach out to us at thefremontpodcast@gmail.com, or you can contact us here. 


Fremont Bank has been partnering with and supporting people and small businesses for over six decades.

Also, Petrocelli Homes has been a key sponsor for the Fremont Podcast almost from the beginning. If you are looking for help or advice about buying or selling a home, or if you are looking for a realtor, get in touch with Petrocelli Homes on Niles Blvd in Niles.

Additionally, Banter Bookshop is the best little bookshop in Fremont. They are a sponsor of that podcast. And we are excited to have them as a partner.

If you are in need of services for design or printing, check out Minutemen Press in Irvington. They have been serving the community for over 20 years, and they stand strong by their work and service.

Intro and Outro voiceovers made by Gary Williams. Check out garywilliams.org.

This episode was edited by Andrew C.

Scheduling and background was done by Sara S.

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Soccer isn't just a game; it's a tapestry of personal connections and life lessons, something Dai Redwood, Executive Director of the Fremont Youth Soccer Club, knows all too well. From kickabouts in Welsh gymnasiums to nurturing young talent in California, he joins us to share how the sport shapes identities and communities. Our conversation  starts with the pure joy of playing for the love of the game and evolves into the nuanced world of coaching, where patience and an athlete-centered approach triumph over the scoreboard's tyranny.

As we reminisce about the transition from youthful play to adult leagues, we uncover the cultural heartbeat of soccer that resonates through the personal development of each player. The stories span the globe, from the influence of supportive family and mentors to the role of soccer in different cultural contexts. It's a tale of both the sport's universality and its local flavors, of how it fosters communication skills, and of the shared passion that can ignite a lifelong love for the game, regardless of whether you call it "soccer" or "football."

We talk about the architecture of youth sports programs with a critical eye, challenging the early competitive labels that can overshadow the true spirit of the game. We advocate for a nurturing environment where children develop at their own pace, guided by coaches who value growth over glory. It's about cultivating a holistic approach to player development, one that looks beyond immediate results and nurtures the seeds of future success. Join us for an in-depth exploration of the power of soccer to not only develop athletes but to build character and community.

For more information, check out these links below:

Check out the website here.

Follow them on Facebook here.

Follow on Instagram here.

Check out Own It Fitness for your professional fitness solutions. You can find their website here. 

Connect with them on Instagram here. 

If you are interested in supporting the podcast, please reach out to us at thefremontpodcast@gmail.com, or you can contact us here. 


Fremont Bank has been partnering with and supporting people and small businesses for over six decades.

Also, Petrocelli Homes has been a key sponsor for the Fremont Podcast almost from the beginning. If you are looking for help or advice about buying or selling a home, or if you are looking for a realtor, get in touch with Petrocelli Homes on Niles Blvd in Niles.

Additionally, Banter Bookshop is the best little bookshop in Fremont. They are a sponsor of that podcast. And we are excited to have them as a partner.

If you are in need of services for design or printing, check out Minutemen Press in Irvington. They have been serving the community for over 20 years, and they stand strong by their work and service.

Intro and Outro voiceovers made by Gary Williams. Check out garywilliams.org.

This episode was edited by Andrew C.

Scheduling and background was done by Sara S.

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

Speaker 1:

You show that connection to the player. Even if you're not very good at it, you still want to play. Yeah, because you can see that someone has invested in you. That's great, and someone has built that connection with you. No matter, and they don't judge you based on you're a good player, so you're going to start. You're my favourite, they see you as an equal amongst everyone else. But the art of coaching, then, is to get into every individual within the team, to positively affect them in whether it's their physical ability, psychosocial, technical, tactical, and so that's why the team outcome isn't relevant, but, at the same time, we all love to win, right, right?

Speaker 4:

So is that? Coming to you straight from Fremont, California? This is the Fremont podcast, dedicated to telling the stories of the past and present of the people and places of the city of Fremont, one conversation at a time.

Speaker 2:

They only had one lane open for half the day yesterday and then it seemed like they were like you know, this is not a smart idea, or they just said let's fix it. That's probably going to be closed for a couple of months. I don't know how long it'll take to fix it.

Speaker 3:

It's always fun to see what's for sale. Oh I know it's nice of Jennifer to let us do our meetings here. What a cool space it's very homey.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's cute. Yeah, I did one interview in here and it was over here.

Speaker 3:

So how do you set up? I did set the video up.

Speaker 2:

This time I just kind of wanted to get a kind of a layout. I wanted to have one experience to see how it would work. So I moved this chair over to here. I actually had set my computer and stuff up on the table here and then basically we just had a conversation here between the two of us. It was nice, it worked fine. You have the plugs. It's very cozy.

Speaker 2:

But I've got a guy who owns an acoustic treatment business. He's actually got acoustic panels, big acoustic panels that he's given me for. I told him what I needed to do and how to set up a portable setup so that I could have the treatment. So I'm going to try to set it up to where there's panels here and maybe even panels there and panels here, and so then to kind of create a little space in here, then you're also on display, which means people will be going like what's that?

Speaker 3:

You could literally put a sign much like these signs here. You could put a sign that says now recording a free podcast, that's a cool idea For the high traffic that this end of Niles gets.

Speaker 2:

I think there was like two people that watched by here when we were recording the one that we did and you know, it's literally across the street from where we produce our other podcasts.

Speaker 4:

That's right, that's right.

Speaker 3:

It's across the street from the Flying A where the cast of Niles podcast is. We do that right in the lobby. You're listening to episode 107 of the Fremont podcast.

Speaker 4:

Now here's your host, Ricky B.

Speaker 2:

I'll check the levels here to make sure everything's good, and then we'll jump into it. So the name is Dai. Yeah, dai Redwood, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Interesting. It's Welsh for David.

Speaker 2:

Okay.

Speaker 1:

It's like how you have Tom for Thomas. Yes, so it's like the shortened version, but it's the Welsh way of showing. So it's Dave Dai.

Speaker 2:

Oh, that's interesting. I think we're good to go. This looks good and I may still keep adjusting some things here, but I am pleased to be joined by Dai Redwood. You are executive director. The Fremont soccer club has been around for a little while, you said right, yeah, couple name changes.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, okay, you did get the right ones, that's good Okay.

Speaker 2:

Excellent, excellent. So, and then, how long have you played soccer?

Speaker 1:

So I started playing when I was six Bit different back home, small town. So we just went into the local sports hall and by that I mean like old school Swedish gymnasium, kind of freezing cold hall. The goals were just one of those long wooden benches you flipped over, you played with an indoor ball and it was just anyone come any one place. And from that age back then it was still 11 a side at six years old. So fields went as big, slightly smaller, but not like what you see today and you just have these six year olds running around. I have no idea what they're doing, but it looked like soccer.

Speaker 4:

So, it's.

Speaker 1:

I've played then, for town was called town, so play there all my mates from school, and again it's just a small town. And what country is this? In Wales? In Wales.

Speaker 4:

Definitely not England as Wales. Yes, yes, yes.

Speaker 1:

So we grew up, you'd play with all the kids you were in your class in school, so you made great friendships through that, because it was never, never a try, never a valuation was you want to play? You play Playing. As I was 16, I was very much a late physical developer, so it was very small.

Speaker 1:

So the next step from you 16 was to go into the men's and again that was back in what? The nineties, late nineties. So for me that was still when most of the game was just giving someone a good kick and putting up in the air. So, being a small 16 year old with 26, 27 year olds, like I'm not doing that, so played a very little in college. Our college experience back home is different to a real. It's not a great deal to play for your college back home. You still make a team, but so I played one or two games there. The focus more on martial arts and coaching.

Speaker 2:

So it started from a young age? Wow, that's cool. I have an important question to ask. Is it football or soccer?

Speaker 1:

Just football, Just football okay, all right, I'll slip between the two air.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's fine. Yeah, no, I, before we started recording, you met, you said football and I was like I was like, okay, there's, you know there's. I was curious do you have a preference or is there? I'm wondering if, like in, like the in where you grew up, the way you know whales or wherever is there? Do they make fun of people that call it soccer?

Speaker 1:

They did. But the funny part about this as well, even though we call the football and the wash for it is Peldroid, but football is what we call, it going up, the ironic thing is soccer comes from the UK. It's shortened from association football, which is the full, full name of the sport. So soccer, originated from England, is brought to the US, use the US and all, all over the world, but for some reason then back in the UK you kind of like to your nose up and ever since that let's play soccer. No, no, no, no, no. So even though they made the wood up themselves, it's, I don't know how it came along.

Speaker 2:

That's funny. That's funny. I want to go back to something you said about when you started playing soccer when you were younger. You said it was a good culture building or a community building activity for you, as you recall. Like what are some of the things that were like beneficial for you at that age? I don't know if you can put your finger on them, Maybe you didn't even recognize them at the moment, at that time. But when you look back, are there some things that were really helpful and healthy for you by playing soccer in that community?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, reflecting back on it as you get, like I said, when you're in it as a six, seven, eight year old, you have no idea, you just go out and play it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Obviously learning more. Now through my education side of it, there's one becoming a coach. You realize I got lucky that we didn't really have a coach. We had one of the boys' dads do it for the first to about 12, I think it was and then one of the boys' grandmothers took over so we were allowed just to play. There was no, even when we had the dad who was doing it, even though he would set up like a drill. It'd be 10 minutes, it'd be drill and okay, boys play. That's how we learned through play, which is what we now know is far more beneficial.

Speaker 1:

Just reflecting back, we had a good team, a very creative, skillful team, and you can see by accident that's what we had, because there's a very hands-off approach which made us also enjoy it. So most of the kids that were playing at six continued to play up until 16. And even now. Another part of that is the friendships you make. Okay, school helps, because we all went to the same school, but we still took different classes. We're still good mates now. So whenever I do get a chance to go back home, I go quite a bit, to be fair, but over the Christmas period we still try and have a fibrous side game with the same people who played from when we were six.

Speaker 2:

That's not what 34 years later.

Speaker 1:

So it's yeah, it's a great opportunity and it might be because it was a small community to begin with, but when you talk to other people, they have similar experiences as well. There's those friendships. And Another thing that you learn to talk as well to adults, because I always remember the dads on the side of the field and they weren't critical in shouting and screaming. There was these three guys I always remember it was Mike Morgan's dad, dan Evans' dad, francis Bynan's dad, and it's like the three stooges. They always stood on the sideline, arms folded, big jack-o-rack, he says, freezing cold. They all shout on, but nothing abusive or nasty. They never argue with people and that's where Dai actually came from. They were the first ones to call me Dai. Really, I really didn't like it. I was fighting against it for so long and then when I went to high school, composite is back home. I wanted more of that Welsh identity. So it was like I actually like Dai now.

Speaker 3:

Oh, that's awesome.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, looking back is loads of different moments where I think that's kind of affected where I am today.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome, that's really cool. So do you feel that that experience that you had is singular to you, or to your culture, your, the locale or even the time period? Or do you see that as something that's taking place today in youth soccer, like even whether it's here in Fremont or wherever you coach? Is that something that you see across the board? Or maybe talk about that just a moment.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's quite a loaded question which could send me on a rant in different directions, and the parents who have listened to this, who have received my emails, will know Dai can rant. So it's, I think, throughout Europe especially. It's very cultural where you're with your community. It's probably a good example of me going up as well. Where I grew up in Puthcall you had a local town, cannelly, kenford Hill, pyle. Bit further out you had a Patalbut margum, but they're all within 10, 15 minutes of driving. I would never play for any of those other towns ever. So we would go seasons double-aged bracket. But we'd pretty much play in our school year. So we'd be U-10, but the younger half, so we would get hammered every game 9-10. We were good players. We're just smaller. I would never think of going to move in a club because we lost, because I was with my mates I was with.

Speaker 1:

I didn't. I was different. Some kids have close relationships with their coaches. Our coach, the dad he was one of my best mates' dads, so I knew him anyway, but it wasn't outstanding for him. The grandmother who took over we all loved her. It was the only team with a grandmother to help us out and she would just open up the sports when I was there. But I stayed there because I was with my mates and it was because I was playing for Puthcall. I would never go play for Kenford Hill or Cannelly. We would see those as grudge matches, almost Like we didn't want to be involved. We didn't want to even come into our town kind of thing.

Speaker 1:

Maybe it's because we were Welsh and we're a small nation, but that's what it was like. But it's fairly similar throughout Europe as well. You play for your village, you play for your town. It's only the real high-level players that end up going off to these academies. They're not. I think when you see in the news at all times, like you see, messi's picked up a certain age, these other kids are picked up a certain age. When you look, when you speak to the high-level academy coaches, only two players have ever really stood out as young elite players and as Messi and Wayne Rooney. Those are two names that always come up. All the others which you see that come to the top, they're late developers, interesting. So you never look to move on unless you get by chance seen and because of the structure. I've come with the culture of you play for your town. There's always an opportunity to move.

Speaker 1:

once you're an adult, Whether it's your job takes you somewhere else or you play in a cap competition and there's a great example of Jamie Vardy. He played lower-level football, non-league football, for ages sorry, soccer for ages and then he became one of the Premier League Alesta England International. So it's a different culture you see around the world from experiences throughout Europe down in Argentina. It's different here. There seems more focus here on the outcome.

Speaker 1:

So it's more looking to get that. It's the Wayne culture. This is a discussion I have with parents quite a bit as well. I win is not bad, but it's not a focus when you're a kid. When you're an adult, yeah, believe me, I want to win. If I'm playing my wife in Scrabble, I will do whatever it takes to win. I'll make up words, I'll hide the dictionary, I'll do whatever it takes to win.

Speaker 2:

I hope she's listening to this. She knows your ways.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, she knows I will do what it takes to win. She's seen me play, just pick up games as an adult and like a different person, but then when I'm with the kids it's no, this is what I need to do for the kids. I got to take my ego, my pride, my desire and want to win for me. Out of that I've got to make it with the kids, which you see as a bit of a struggling new rest, because you do have a Wayne culture.

Speaker 2:

So a lot of education comes into it. We'll be right back. You can hear the rest of this conversation in just a moment.

Speaker 3:

Hello Fremont. There's a great little book called the Small Mart Revolution by Michael H Schumann if you want to order it from Bantor Bookshop and the book talks about how small, local businesses are actually better for the community and explains it in detail and genuinely goes through the numbers. It's also not a boring book either. It reveals why supporting small business actually makes good economic sense and one of the major reasons why that's true. And you can read the book for the numbers.

Speaker 3:

But study after study shows that the percentage of money that stays local when you spend local, the amount of money that gets looped back into the community when you buy from a small, local, independent place, A higher percentage of that money stays here in the local economy than it does if you buy at bigger, more national places. And that is true of this podcast. If you can help support this podcast with $1 a month through the buymeacoffeecom link that's in the show notes, more of that money is going to be spent here at local shops. The staff here likes spending money at local places. If you can afford $1 a month to keep this show running, we are gonna put it back into the community as often as we can. Buymeacoffeecom slash the Fremont podcast slash membership $1 a month.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, and now back to our conversation. That's great. Yeah, it's interesting. As you were talking about that, I kind of had this idea that maybe your community together, the people you were playing with, the people who were on the sidelines, the people who were there, that was what really mattered the most and it was what impacted the sport itself, versus we want to focus on the sport and mastering the sport and maybe eventually it will turn into a community of sorts. Yeah, definitely.

Speaker 1:

And again back home, it's not just my age group which had made it through it. I worked in the local village pub as soon as I turned 18. And you'd see the different football teams from the different generations still being together. So you'd always see the football boys current, the football boys past and the football boys coming through. So it was always. You were part of the community by playing for your town. People did recognize you and we're talking the lowest level of football possible.

Speaker 1:

Like someone still can't tie their shoes up in the late 20s, but it was still had the identity of you play for your town and that's what you wanted to do is for yourself. The town recognized you as well and it's something which we have tried to do with Fremont, with the club. So we sponsored the food bank, the Tri City Food Bank. We recently started wearing save on the front of the goalkeeper jerseys A sad one, a Rooney Foundation. He may have heard of a Rooney who passed. He played at the club, so now we try best to support that foundation. For me personally, that European, obviously background, your community, is important, so I think to have both working together is something which we would love to see more Right.

Speaker 2:

That's all.

Speaker 1:

That's isolated than an isolated club in the town.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's great. So let me ask you this question, a little case scenario sort of thing. So I'm going to jump real quick to my past and a sport that I didn't do so well in. I tried playing baseball for a couple of years and I could never hit the ball. It was horrible and so and that seemed to be the most exciting thing about it when you thought about sports. But I didn't do well at it. So I only played for two years and then I just kind of gave it up and went on.

Speaker 2:

I was already at that time playing soccer and I kind of just continued playing soccer. But I guess my question is, if you have, you were talking about your team in Wales from your hometown. You were smaller, you weren't as good. I mean, it was like it was likely that you had to come out swinging and and working hard and you may even still lose after all the hard work you put into a game like that. What is the benefits, what are the pros and cons of losing for a child and what are the pros and cons that you see for somebody being successful and excelling at the sport?

Speaker 1:

These questions are brilliant. There's so many different tanners to go on different levels of it. It's again just to come back to some discussions with parents. You don't go out when you coach in the youth and you have a developmental model. It's process driven. So we're not looking at the outcome on a Saturday. That has no effect on what's going to happen in the future because there are so many tangibles that's going to affect that.

Speaker 1:

We don't know home life how that's going to affect a player psychosocially, friendship groups from schools. We don't know physically how they're going to mature because they haven't gone through the maturation yet. So what we try to explain is that the youth game is almost a different game to that adult game. You've got to separate them because that's where you want to get to. You're starting, you're at the beginning of your journey. It's like when you go out for a drive right, you start somewhere. It looks nothing like where you're going to end up. That's right. You're going to take a path together. You might get lost a few times, break down, things are going to happen.

Speaker 1:

So when you lose and it comes down to your coach's words so important with this part as well, the psychosocial support I do my best to go scientific and researchy, but it's okay to lose a game when you're younger. It's okay not to be on the best team, because when the coaches invest in your child as an individual, they're supporting them more holistically. So I'm looking at and this is what we do as a club is we look at a player's longer pathway and everyone's going to develop different rates. Think of stocks. They go up, they go down, but they generally always go up, but they're at different rates. So we look at the individual. Well, how does this individual now need to be challenged? So if they're on a team that isn't winning, then we'd say okay. Well, first of all, is it detrimental to your growth?

Speaker 1:

More than likely not. How can we do individual interventions to support you within that game, which then supports confidence? Because as long as you make that individual feel like they're competent, that's going to help support whether the team wins or not, because then you can set them their own individual goals. That's great. And as long as then you show that connection to the player, even if you're not very good at it, you still want to play Because you can see that someone has invested in you and someone has built that connection with you. No matter, and they don't judge you based on you're a good player, so you're going to start. You're my favorite. They see you as an equal amongst everyone else. But the art of coaching, then, is to get into every individual within the team, to positively affect them in, whether it's their physical ability, psychosocial, technical, tactical, and so that's why the team outcome isn't relevant, but at the same time, we all love to win, right.

Speaker 2:

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Speaker 3:

Okay, okay, I'm stealing this one off of Yelp, but this is the whole point Bantor Bookshop in downtown Fremont. It has become a routine hangout spot for my family after we eat at nearby establishments. A thousand times, yes. Going out to eat, hanging out at a bookshop afterwards it does not get better. Local independent bookstores are there to be community spaces. Their book selection is often hyper-tuned to the local community. It's a place to meet and to go to after you eat. They hold events. I literally typed in the word bookstore and community and I immediately found two articles. The first article from 2018, guess what's anchoring many small downtowns, even in the age of online shopping? The answer is bookstores. And another article from Strong Towns in 2019, how a local bookstore can make your town richer in more than one way. Bantor Bookshop is on Capitol Avenue in downtown Fremont.

Speaker 1:

I used to coach our 2002 boys team.

Speaker 2:

Okay.

Speaker 1:

And we went to I won't name the club. I don't think that's fair, but we went to another club in a stay-cup game and we were winning 4-0 after 15 minutes. And so already and it's something I believe in and we don't see it anymore, which is frustrating you control the score line Because you're going to demoralise these other kids and it's not right.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So we do our own little games and by half time it's 6-0. For the last 10 minutes of the first half we haven't lost possession. The ball's just staying in play, doesn't even go up for throw-ins or corners or nothing, it's just cycling possession. It's so boring, yeah. And the players come off and they're bored. They're asking can we go home, can we just stop? And I'm bored because no one's been challenged this environment, yeah. So half time I'm like oh you, anyone want to go in? Go, because the keeper's now bored. One guy who's a very good goalkeeper as well was in position. He's like, yeah, I'll go and go. All right, yeah, go on, you go and go. And they all go back out and we lost 7-6. It was and I love going back to this game in the league but the reason we lost 7-6, because we didn't. The players didn't get worse.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

The other team didn't get better. Yeah, psychologically, because I think we were U-12 at the time, we were bored, we completely checked out about it, which is why the outcome of that game shows we lost 7-6. But the first 10 minutes was where this is the quality, the understanding, the development that's going on in their individuality and group ability. Yeah, but then psycho, socially, being 11 years old, he was boring.

Speaker 4:

We don't want to do it yeah.

Speaker 1:

And even every time we're going in they've gone.

Speaker 4:

You couldn't do it.

Speaker 1:

They don't know. So that's a great example of the thing to go back to Look. That outcome had no reflection as kids, so a lot of those kids did go on to play college. Yeah, the one the one player just mentioned is now in an All-American. Wow.

Speaker 4:

Got his award last week.

Speaker 1:

They're an exceptionally talented group of kids who went on to play at a good level with a club, high level club.

Speaker 4:

Wow.

Speaker 1:

So it's don't worry about the outcome If you like baseball and you can't hit the ball, but you love going out and just swinging out anyway, yeah, just keep going. That's cool, because you'll play then when you're older.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I actually was. I'd said this on another interview we did with a local baseball league that plays here in Fremont. But I just I said you know, I, as I got older I didn't even want to play softball because I just had this idea that I couldn't hit the ball. And and I did I first time. I first couple of times I tried playing base or softball. As an adult I struck out and I was just like this is stupid, I'm so embarrassed. But then then I had a turn and I started playing and I had some successes at it and after I started figuring it out I was like, oh, I like this and I so as an adult I have enjoyed not baseball but softball, but it was. But there was something to I think, developmentally at the time that was just not, was not happening for me. When did you get started here in Fremont, like what was, what was it that brought you here and did you jump right into the Fremont soccer club? Or how did how did you transition into, into what?

Speaker 1:

you're doing now, so I got here by accident.

Speaker 2:

Oh, okay, it was not Fremont specifically. You took a right way. You should have taken a left. Close.

Speaker 1:

But it was. I was in college at the time and this was back before you really used computer for anything. Right, right?

Speaker 2:

I don't know that old action when you're 39, but it was still, I think we were probably in college around the same time because we didn't do we?

Speaker 1:

didn't use cool computers for a whole lot of, but it was still mostly when you did applications, still paper form up on the post. So this company come around and they were looking for summer coaches. So it says, studying sports coach at the time is when did you go to college?

Speaker 2:

if you don't want me asking.

Speaker 1:

It was similar to what you did to over here now with junior college to four year college, so two years of PennCode college to then finish up with another three years to do a dissertation as well. And what was? Uic, which is Cardiff University, now kind of met, okay. But more recently I went back and did my masters in football coaching, okay, and that was a university of South Wales.

Speaker 4:

Okay.

Speaker 1:

So all my education has come through Wales.

Speaker 2:

Okay, very cool.

Speaker 1:

But to get here though, I come around asking we need coaches and I was like, yeah, I can't do a couple of my mates in the class, yeah, let's do this a great day, all day, and we get paid to go out and never been to America. And so I fill out the form, get home, put in the post box and I don't really think about it. Next day check do you guys do applications? Oh no, I've done it, I just got to send. Ah, cool, cool, cool, don't think about it. So I get my letter back and from a company saying oh, you've been selected with the company and it's going to be San Jose. I had no idea what San Jose was then and someone kept telling me the song do you know the way to San?

Speaker 2:

Jose Right and.

Speaker 1:

I still had no idea. So I was like all right, this is cool. It's California, though, so it must be good. Cool, yeah, again, being a naive Welshman thinking everything is palm trees and beach, the California is massive. So, anyway, I go back in the car the next day and I'm like oh boys, we all got a San Jose. Oh, where you going? Turns out none of the others applied. They never fill out the application.

Speaker 2:

Oh, my word.

Speaker 1:

So, being fairly shy at the time as well, I was like I'm going to a different country on my own, I'm 19. This is nuts, so I come over. I did the first year with it, absolutely loved it. Still got so you'd be with a host family for a week. Okay, coach on account. So I still got good friends with one family for my fifth week in that very first year. So we stay in touch. It's crazy because they had three daughters.

Speaker 1:

They've all now got kids, which is wild because when we went there, I think they were two, five or two, four and seven, and now they married with kids. Wow, so that's right, come over to do the camps. I'd been doing the camps for five years, seeing there was an opportunity with another company which would put you into club placements. So reached out to them, got hired, didn't get, had no idea where I was going and then I was told are you going to go into Fremont?

Speaker 2:

Wow, and it appeared in 2009.

Speaker 1:

And I've been here since.

Speaker 2:

You were doing this year after year? Was there something that was significant for you as a coach to adjust to when you came to Fremont and became a coach for a longer period of time?

Speaker 1:

Oh, definitely so. As far as the culture side of it goes, it's quite a big difference in culture between the US and the UK.

Speaker 1:

I think because we both speak predominantly English. You think that's just. I mean because we take all of the TV shows and we're basically six months behind the US. People think there's not much for a cultural difference. But we actually do a trip every two years to the UK for exposure, for the culture, the culture, the football culture. But no. So when I come over, the biggest thing was food. The amount of food, the different kinds of food was amazing. The Taco Bell for a lot of time Cnova was was like a top-end restaurant. And the malls how cheap the clothes were she always come over.

Speaker 1:

We'd stock up on Abercrombie Hollister all the surf gear and it was like just this rotation of every car giving you sizes. And so culturally a lot different. Everything's bigger To now. When I go home, most of our houses back home are bungalows. Especially in the time I'm from, there's one storey little bungalows and the roads are tiny. So for one lane outside is basically what we have for two lanes in opposite direction.

Speaker 1:

So I walk down the street feeling like a giant. It's incredible because I'm only five foot mine. Anyway. I walk through there. I feel like I'm massive because I'm bigger than the house is. So it's weird only lasts for a couple hours, but that's the one big difference between the two. You come back before. But as far as the coaching, I hadn't done much football coaching in the UK.

Speaker 1:

So, I was because I'd taken a break from playing, because that leap into men's football. I focused more on martial arts, karate. So I've been doing that since I was about eight as well. So at this time that's black belt, excuse me. Second down, the instructors started to give me a bit more freedom to do some coaching within there as well. So when they would take well as beginners or the high level belts, I would go with the other group so I would do more kind of instructing with them. So my early coaching was more instructional rather than more modern methodologies. And so to come out and then in the summer camps, it was great, it was all fun, fun games. You're Austin Powers for one game, it bugs buddy in another game. So when I came here it was more no, this is proper, proper soccer now. So I remember going to my very first session and.

Speaker 1:

I was just stuck and it's happened. It happens when I did my first camp. I froze and the good I was working with. Come on, just go over your mail, I'll sort you out. So it took me a day or two because it is totally different from when you do your interview sessions and you can learn everything that you want.

Speaker 1:

When I was in college with the football, because all of my actual experience was instructing it's totally different to coaching. So when I came here, expectations for different sessions. So I did struggle for the first. I'll say for the first two, three months I didn't like it because it was. It was so different. I struggled to adapt.

Speaker 1:

I was so used to being able to go to the gym every day. I'd make him my own meals, but I'm living with a host family. I was through they couldn't find the host family for a while. So I was through different families, all lovely people, but I never had that consistency with it. So for the first three months of struggling at my job not having the gym is why kind of released to get to not knowing anyone. So I didn't know anyone at all, not even the people I worked with. It was really daunting. So tell me about three months. But I've again from just growing up in a small town where everyone's a plumber or electrician you have that bit of graft about you where it's my dad was gone before I woke up, come home after tea, muddy, stinking excuse the plumber. So I learned that, thankfully through him. That time is going to be difficult. You need to graft, get through it, work at it, and now I'm running it somehow.

Speaker 2:

Wow, that's crazy the parents are. They have their kids in the club for a purpose and I think that they may not even know what that purpose is entirely. They might have a few primary ideas that I want my kid to benefit from this, or whether it's just the experience, whether it's just learning them, helping them to be physically active, develop physically, or it could be even beyond that. I want my kid to be successful. This could be a scholarship thing for him down the road or her, and I'm just wondering.

Speaker 2:

But in some sense I think it's important for those two trains, if you will, or those two avenues, to come together 100% Like. The parents need to know why you are there. They need to know why you're coaching and what you're looking for, because they feel that sports is good for their child for some reason and they may not know why. They may have an idea you have a better idea as to what this particular sport, what soccer, might do to benefit their child. But if you never have that conversation then those things are never going to get communicated and never get said. So I can totally see why it's a benefit to be able to get to know your parents and to be able to spend time with them, as well as the kids.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, you nailed it then as well, you generally have three reasons why kids will play right it's for fun, it's to be social or to improve, and you can have all three or you might just have the one. So it's important that as a club as well, that you can accommodate for those. So we do have different programs. You have grassroots, we have competitive, which is a dreadful name to have, for XS sets the wrong minds at the beginning, but I can't change that on my own. That's a national thing.

Speaker 1:

I was going to say everyone's using it, which, yeah, I can totally see that it already takes you from development to when you think they were competitive. You think I'm going to go win. That's the direction it pulls you in. Well, competing can also be framed as just being better every day. That's right, Competing with yourself. So I wish they would take that word away from it.

Speaker 1:

But anyway, we have that. We have that pathway, we have the grassroots pathway so we can try and accommodate for everyone. We have the pathway in the middle of what's our training pool. So some players we run different to a lot of clubs in certain certain ways, very similar in others. But we don't believe in cutting kids. We don't believe in tryouts at young ages. It's wrong. Every kid should be given the opportunity.

Speaker 1:

How you tell a nine or a 10 year old that you're not good enough to play the sport you want to play and have the opportunity to be coached? I think is it's just so detrimental to long term recreational participation. So we select every player as long as you have a space for them. And then, even when they get older, you do get late developers. You get kids who come in late. So if they're not at the rate of development of the teams but they don't want to go in grassroots because they like to be coached, but we have a training pool, so you won't be on the team but you're going to follow the same curriculum with other players of similar kind of objectives of wanting to be better, to play on a team.

Speaker 1:

So we try and balance all three of those. And you're right, sometimes the parents aren't aligned with what the child wants. They're not quite aligned with what the club is trying to achieve. And then there's a great quote we use within our presentation of the parents about how everyone's nose and eb point in the same direction, because if we're competing and fighting against each other we won't get anywhere. That's great. So I would say that if you've got a beer chase and you've got three doors of three of you and you're all holding a piece of rope, if you run to three different doors, that base getting you you all need to be able to go in the same path.

Speaker 1:

So in order for us to be able to do that, it stems and it goes a lot, lot deeper to first we need an identity. So what's our mission, our vision, our purpose and why do you want to be a certain way? Then we go look, and that's just the cultural side of it. Then you look at the football side. Well, how can we take those values and beliefs and now and behaviors and put it into an actual football framework and structure? We've then got to look at what the potential endpoint is. And because there isn't a free mom MLS franchise team, we're around the world that would support the youth program. Here you've got youth programs trying to prop up the adult game. It's upside down. So we've ever think well, they could go to any college, they could go to any MLS USL club if they're at that level. So we've had to put together a pathway which is going to make them the Dutch call it a 360 player.

Speaker 1:

So, they could have all different things, not one specific style. We've then got to find a style of play so kids can learn through it, and we've also then going to find the way in which we teach them. So what's the learning theory that goes behind it? So all of that's going to be aligned, and then we've got to get the buy in from the parents.

Speaker 1:

So, my job is trying to educate, support parents on why we do it, why it works, because it's a process. You don't see those short term outcomes. You've got to be very patient. That's difficult in today's modern culture to be patient, to wait, to work to what we want. So that's a struggle, but it's my job, trying to educate about why it's a good path for me to go now. So yeah, it's, I can't even see you.

Speaker 2:

One question, that's great, I've gone both. No, this is amazing. I love it.

Speaker 1:

So it's we've had to take Fremont as a community. We've had to take potential destinations of players, age appropriate pathways, different methodologies and also the fear and signs of actual learning. Yeah, to align it also fits. Yeah, so then players get the best opportunity.

Speaker 2:

I feel like I've been trying to insulate myself from becoming that competitive parent. You know my, my son, is involved in sports. But I know of some parents who are like if I get my kid in the right soccer club or in the right sports club, then ultimately that's gonna. It's gonna raise their chances of being able to succeed at a collegiate level or at you know, or go go beyond.

Speaker 1:

I feel for parents. I really do, because it's there is so much noise and there are so many Promises being made to parents and if you look at the market again, it's I don't like. It's a business, it's not a development model as a culture is a business model. Yeah, so it's about getting numbers in through the door. So if you have a club and you go we're the biggest club in the Bay area for a parent you thinking, whoa, I gotta be there. That's right, fomo kicks in. But what is going on there? Yeah, what is the challenge? These clubs, what are you doing for my channel? Yeah, and not just what, but why. There's not enough of the why and that's what's gonna change to explain the parents why you're doing certain things. Because if any club in any sport says to you, give me a six year old because I'll get them in college, that's a flat out lie, because no one knows, because there's so many factors that go into it and which are out of your control.

Speaker 1:

So I really feel for parents and that's why I actually do enjoy and had an email exchange back for the parent recently and I've done a sounded a little bit confrontation begin with, but I made sure to say, look, I'm loving this cuz. Yeah, this is engaging, that's right. We completely disagree, yeah, but I love the fact that I can hear your point of view. See where that's come from. Yep, this dad was next to me and he was going. I can even talk to his wife Wrong with him why he sucks at this so bad. I was thinking this and he kept going this isn't real soccer. I was thinking, because they're three, there's a lot of foam all going around. Yeah, especially social media, get your kid on there.

Speaker 1:

Yeah there's a lot of well, this doesn't look like what I've been told looks traditionally, but I stand. I love it because the game they were playing was they were holding a disc and they were swimmers in the sea. And they were using the disc to swim around and when they see the shark, you throw the disc before you jump on it. It's not a ball in sight? Yeah but for three-year-old is perfect.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's learning to throw jump, kick, crawl. They get the balls out towards the end as well and throw different activities, but that is actually perfect for what they need. Huh, but because it doesn't look like Barcelona on the weekend? Yeah, we do have this view of this, isn't right? That's again that's a long way to come around saying I do actually enjoy Talking to parents because the more we could support an ad UK bearers for the kids at the other that's great.

Speaker 2:

What would I expect to see if I were to come out and see a game, or to come out and watch Practices? How many teams ages, what range? Range are we working with? And all that loaded question.

Speaker 1:

I got a 61 page presentation if you're off different levels, so, um, yes, so we've, uh, we're like you fours, you sixes, okay, it's those Fundamental movement skills running, jump in story time, telling a little bit of the ball. They're not gonna learn football in that yeah 45 minutes. They're nice. It's not age-appropriate. It's not part of their developmental phases as a human being either. When they get to use seven, you ate. We've tried to recreate more the street soccer and, excuse me, street soccer environment.

Speaker 1:

Hmm so playing 3v3s, 44s max, and the reason being is the sport will teach itself. Huh, one of the best ways for deeper learning is through trying it. Surfing, you take the board out in the ocean, you fall loads, get pummel loads. Yeah, if you do ever figure it out, you get to stand up on it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I still can't, but yeah, a whole club is really based on a play philosophy of Trying to take not the coach out of it. Can that's becomes a dereliction of duty? Really it's it's negligence of the coach. Yeah, you've got to know it's a very difficult skill to do of how to allow the kids to play Without becoming overbearing. So, yeah, athlete-centered environments. So what you'll see within our competitive program then is All the activities are based around the play, so you don't see drills of Lines of kid kids kicking the ball once. Five minutes later they might get a kick again. It's very much movement-orientated.

Speaker 1:

Yeah actually, because you need to know the time and the space. Really, it's great if you can perform an isolated action, but if you don't know how to get into positions or move in those and get into those moments, yeah, the actions irrelevant, yeah. So you need to have a balance to the both. But all the activities are a play-oriented. It's got a little bit deeper into the side of it where you can expect to see a field or we're aiming towards. When you play semi-seven, we have a game model or we have a game of the entire club. We have a way of play for every phase. So it's semi-seven.

Speaker 1:

We're looking for kids to work with each other in their own half field. When they get to the 99s, we open up a little bit more. So now might be a bit more specific with, in this area, one-to-one, but this area try and create overloads. Then we get to 11v11. It starts to progress a little bit further again. So when you get to our U19s, it's a full-size game model of intricate. This is what you do here, this is what you do there, huh. But the whole pathway, though, is Based on play and powering the kids to be decision-makers. There's lots of research which shows kids need to experience, to learn, and not be told what to do, because they will Food up. It takes patience.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's about you, the players. Yeah, and again, this is my job gets harder with the parents, right, we don't like that as adults. We like control. Yeah, we want to know that we have control over everything that we can. This is important, right, because we fail as adults. We live as a job or a home, or something far more significant. When you don't succeed as a child, it's just a speed bump.

Speaker 2:

That's right, that's great man, I'm, I'm. I'm taking notes in my mind here because I Need to learn these things as a parent. I look at my life and I realize there's things that I maybe could have done if I had to pursue this certain path and I maybe at moments I wish I could go back and change that. You know, make that, make that change so that I could have been more quote-unquote successful In the long run in that particular field. And I kind of want to make those changes earlier on for my son so that he doesn't experience maybe the same Loss that I feel as an adult. But then when I look at it I'm like, no, I don't regret anything. As a child I don't remember, I don't regret the, the choices that I made. I think that there is something about just the experience of a Plane yeah, without without the intervention, just enjoying the moments and even working through the, the calls on the penalties. You know it develops communication and and relational.

Speaker 1:

Conflictation, after my expectation that's right, yeah, that's awesome.

Speaker 2:

Do you guys have year-round programs? Oh, is that a certain season? Or how, when, when, a when it when can kids get Plugged into this?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's again both, so it's for grassroots, it's seasonal, so it's for and spring summer camps. I was in the summer and then for our competitive program, which year-round, okay. One thing we do is on a Thursday we play multi-sport. So what we do is we have field hockey, touch rugby okay. One kid was playing touch rugby and he quit the club to go play rugby and I thought that was. I thought that was brilliant.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome yeah.

Speaker 1:

The objective really should be for all sports programs is as many kids for as long as possible. Huh, that's gonna happen with all kinds of health issues. Yeah, whether it's physical health issues, mental health issues. Yeah, we are year-round. Um, the obviously is opportunities to leave to go try the sport. So we really do believe in very good, is there any?

Speaker 2:

so do you have like your, your tryouts and stuff, or what one is that? What is that so?

Speaker 1:

we do again a little bit different. So for grassroots it's just registration Okay, the spring starts in mid-march. Okay, so that registration is actually open now. So that goes from our u4s up to u14s. Okay, for the competitive club program, I'm trying to wedge club in it. Oh, it's not, try to try to influence you already through the pocket, that's right, the competitive it's. You have May, which is the month is two specific months you're allowed to do it in. Okay.

Speaker 2:

How many kids do you have playing right now for you guys?

Speaker 1:

So right now it's, it fluctuates between 430 460. Okay with the competitive program. Wow, I know that sounds like a big fluctuation. Yeah you do have people, biggest chandril people, even the area, because just cost of living.

Speaker 2:

So it's transient area. People come in and come out for jobs or whatever.

Speaker 1:

Ended on what time of the school year? The school district is pretty intense. So the academic side of it. We don't want to be one of those clubs which has thousands of kids Because they're already doing is. If you're trying to create this big business of thousands of kids, we've pretty got kids who could have more playing opportunities at another club. That's right, we're gonna see more game time, so it's that's right I.

Speaker 2:

Love it, so people want to find out more. You have a website.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, websites, a free month, you soccer calm, okay. And then I'm useless with social media. I'm like a caveman. But we do have a Facebook and Instagram page. Okay, I think those are freemont. You suckers, or freemont? Why, I see, yeah, but all those links run our website.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and we'll make sure that all the links for all of the things that you said and anything that people can Use to find you will be on our show notes for this podcast as well, I'll get a younger staff member.

Speaker 1:

understands it?

Speaker 2:

Well die. Thank you so much for being on the podcast. This was really great. I am excited to be able to share this conversation with the people here in freemont, and it's it's gonna be one that I'm gonna go back and listen to myself, because I feel like it was just really truly beneficial for me as well. So thank you for your time.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for having me read your first pod. So there you go.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, I don't think it should be your last, because I think you have a lot of great things to share.

Speaker 1:

So I think the Dolce Jackson that is.

Speaker 2:

All right, man have a good one.

Speaker 4:

This episode was hosted and produced by Ricky B. I'm Gary Williams. Andrew Kovett is the editor. Scheduling and pre interviews by Sarah s. Your reviews help other people find this podcast. If you would please leave a review on iTunes. Be sure to subscribe wherever it is that you listen so you don't miss an episode. You can find everything we make the podcast and all of our social media links at the freemont podcast com. Join us next week on the freemont podcast.

Speaker 2:

This is a Muggins media podcast.

Connection and Coaching in Soccer
Youth Soccer
Community Impact in Sports Development
Coaching Soccer in the US
Developing Youth Sports Programs and Culture
Youth Soccer Development and Philosophy