LHS coach attends clinic

Published 3:40 pm Thursday, June 20, 2019


Daily News

It was a crash course in goal-keeping instruction.

Colin Ross, who coaches the LaGrange High girls’ soccer team and offers goal-keeping instruction in the community, participated in an intensive three-day clinic earlier this month.

The International Goalkeeper Coaches Conference was held at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. from June 7-9, and Ross was one of the dozens of coaches from across the country in attendance.

It wasn’t a vacation for Ross, who spent most of his time in Florida adding to his already extensive knowledge of goal-keeping.

“They’d alternate between having a class-room session, and a field session with that coach,” Ross said. “And then they’d change coaches and you’d have another field session, and then back in the class room. We’d have dinner, we’d have lunch, and we’d always have a special speaker after that.”

The instructors came from across the world, and Ross said each one of them was eager to help in any way.

Ross recalls one interaction he had with Fernando Ferreira, who is the goal-keeper coach for S.L. Benfica, an elite training academy in Portugal.

“He’s developed one of the top goal-keepers in the entire world,” Ross said of Ferreira. “He’s 19, and every team in the world wants him. I ask him one simple question, and he proceeds to spend the next 15 minutes talking through everything. He’s grabbing me, and he’s moving me around. Everybody was just so passionate, which was great.”

Ross added that every one of the elite instructors had that same helpful attitude.

“The incredible part was that you’re able to go up and talk to the instructors here and there,” Ross said. “They’re always willing to, and they’re so helpful.”

Ross also got to hear from one of the world’s elite goal-keeper coaches in John Achterberg, who helped Liverpool win the Champions League.

Ross said that a coach from England “did a Skype session with Liverpool’s goal-keeper coach. He did it that day and recorded it and played it for us. It was like days after Liverpool won the Champions League, which is the second-biggest soccer competition next to the Gold Cup. So getting to hear him essentially talk to us about his experience was really cool.”

The clinic attendees arrived on June 7 and spent about seven hours receiving instruction in the class room, and on the field.

On June 8, the day started at 8 a.m. with breakfast and finished about 12 hours later.

Ross and the other coaches got about five more hours of instruction on June 9 before the clinic wrapped up with a closing ceremony.

“I have technically the third-highest certification you can have, and I received better instruction than any of the goal-keeping licensing classes I went to,” Ross said.

Ross added that “I’ve told everybody that it’s been career-changing, it’s been life-changing. I got all this stuff that I never had before.

“I never had that high-level coaching, that high-level instruction, and people being able to answer the questions. Just seeing the way they go about coaching, that’s been a big impact.”

Ross is hopeful that, armed with the knowledge he gained at the clinic, he’ll be able to better serve the players he works with.

“You’re always learning,” Ross said. “I was thinking about how much better of a goal-keeper I was just going through the conference. So many just little details that I was never taught. So I’m just really excited to be able to help the kids out.”