We recently caught up with Polo Aviles, Director of Coaching at South Bay Matrix FC, to talk about how TopTekkers will be used within their organization. Polo spoke extensively on South Bay Matrix’s philosophy when it comes to player development, the importance of sportsmanship and why training away from the practice field can be the key to realising a player’s potential. 

Club Name: South Bay Matrix FC

Located in: San Diego, CA

Formed: 2000

Number of Teams: 10

Kit Colors: Navy Blue & Bright Green

TT: How long has your club been using TopTekkers? 

PA: Going on 6 weeks now.

TT: Which age groups/players in your club are using TopTekkers? 

PA: Our U8 to U18 groups.

TT: How have you implemented TopTekkers in your organization? 

PA: Learning plans that are assigned by the individual coach.

TT: Why did you get TopTekkers for your players?

PA: I was introduced to it at the Coaches Convention in Baltimore in January. Steven Crane gave a presentation and at that time I felt it could be a program that we could use for our younger age groups as well as our recreational program. Then unfortunately the pandemic hit us. Although we were one of the lucky clubs that had knowledge about TopTekkers, so we didn’t need to shop around. We knew exactly what to offer our members. 

TT: How will TopTekkers become a part of the coaching cycle or curriculum within your organization?

PA: We hope to be able to offer TopTekkers to our members moving forward and plan to budget for it for the Fall 2021-22 season.

TT: What do you personally like about the app?

PA: It is a simple tool to use, our players, coaches and parents of players love the user friendliness of the tool. It has become very popular and the results are getting better all the time. Our players learn so fast by how the training sessions are created; simple and relatable.

TT: What’s your organization’s development philosophy?

PA: We are lucky to have had a team form part of AYSO United for the past 4 years. We have adapted pretty much the same development philosophy. Built on the foundation of the organization’s six philosophies, South Bay Matrix FC flips the soccer building blocks by prioritizing a player’s development, which is designed to meet the technical, tactical and psycho-social needs of our players.

TT: Why is practice, on and away from the field, important? 

PA: Team practice is an integral part of developing as a player.  As a club/High School coach and personal trainer, I see the multiple benefits of this aspect of a player's development.  At team practice, players learn general knowledge of the game; learning foundational movements, skills, passing & receiving with teammates, small sided application, team formations and more.  Those are all crucial to improving as a player; especially in a sport that requires team-oriented knowledge.  However, training away from the practice field is so important because the problem is the lack of true individual development.  While team practice can help players learn general aspects of training, most players do not gain the individual development needed to truly improve certain aspects of their game (comfort zones, coach focus and limited practice time). Self-training serves the purpose of focusing exclusively on our players.

TT: Describe the perfect South Bay Matrix player. A player that embodies your organization on and off the field. What does that player look like?

PA: Great Sportsmanship, to me goes above and beyond your personal goals or even team goals as a player for our organization. They respect their opponent, their coaches, trainers, managers, and the opponent’s entire organization. They play with integrity, always doing what is right, no matter what the circumstance, score, or outcome. They play fair and with class, never putting the results of a game above the character and reputation of their club. This must also encompass our interaction with officials and referees. As we focus on our club goals and objectives, sometimes we are distracted away from the larger picture. We as coaches and the organization we are a small part of must be willing to sacrifice everything, including individual accomplishments or acknowledgements, even wins and losses, to make sure that we compete in a manner that puts positive sportsmanship first. There can be no excuses made, or acceptance for lack of overall sportsmanship, even if that means we suffer a loss. The player is also versatile, with outstanding tactical and technical skills alongside tremendous physical abilities and high passing accuracy.

For more information on South Bay Matrix FC please visit https://southbaymatrixfc.com/