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Official Coaches Newsletter of the Philadelphia Union

Manager Minutes

In-depth with Team Manager John Hackworth With the Gold Cup underway, MLS teams are left without some of their best players for a portion of the season. These absences not only put more pressure on the remaining starters but also on the manager. Philadelphia Union manager John Hackworth was left with the task of replacing

two starters on his roster, Keon Daniel and his leading goal scorer, Jack McInerney. It was difficult to replace the output of both Daniel and McInerney, but Hackworth knew that he had to trust his other players to step up in their absence. “When you have to deal with injuries, call-ups, or other

absences from your team, it’s important to trust your depth,” Hackworth said. “You have more than 11 players on your roster for a reason, and when a player of lesser experience has to step into the lineup, you have to trust that they will make the most of the opportunity.” Hackworth believes trust

photo: USA TODAY


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“The biggest thing those absences create is an opportunity.” - John Hackworth

is one of the most important keys to success. When guys go down or are chosen for international duty, it is not only the manager that needs to trust the team’s depth, but also the players themselves. Players need to trust their teammates to make the right plays and not stray away from the game plan to try to compensate for their losses. Even with the temporary departure of Daniel and McInerney, the Union kept their momentum as other players got the opportunity to take over and make an impact. Being without key players is not something new for the Union as the club has dealt with injuries to Jeff Parke, Kleberson, Michael Lahoud, Danny Cruz, and Michael Farfan throughout the season and has had other players step up in

their absence. With two more spots open on the starting roster as Keon and Jack were on international duty, other players are given another opportunity to play more minutes and show what they can contribute. “The biggest thing those absences create is an opportunity,” Hackworth said. “It’s an opportunity that allows the players on your team that wouldn’t normally be getting as many minutes to show why they are on the roster in the first place.” So far this season, players have made the most of their opportunities for the Union. Michael Farfan, Aaron Wheeler, and Leo Fernandes have all seen increased playing time of late and made the most of it. Farfan scored against Chivas


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USA, Fernandes gained a spot in the Starting XI for a few games, while Wheeler has come in as a sub late in the game and made his impact felt when he scored against FC Dallas. The Union was heading into a key stretch of games, and Hackworth knew that he had to trust his team to step up and perform at their highest level. He believes that putting trust in his players can boost their confidence and translate to stronger play on the pitch. “Those guys can sense that the chance is there, and having that trust in a player can give them the confidence to perform at a higher level,” he said.

photo: USA TODAY


OFF THE CLIPBOARD Circle Passing Combination Confidence Drill The circle passing combination drill will focus on passing, communication, playing with speed, and give confidence to the players. This is a great passing warm-up drill that can be a great start to a passing practice. Setup 1. Create a circle around two central players where the outside players are about 5-7 yards from each other. 2. The two central players should have a soccer ball each. Instructions 1. The central players begin the drill at the same time by passing to outside players on the opposite sides of the circle. 2. The outside player returns the pass back to the central player who

maintains his central positioning. 3. The central player then immediately plays to the player to the left or right of the initial player he passed to. 4. As this second outside player receives the pass he now switches roles with the central player and looks to continue the same pattern on the opposite side of the grid. 5. Leave it up to the players to decide whether to play to the left or right side of the outside player based on whether the player is being used by the other central player. 6. Players must play with their heads up scanning the field and communicating so that two balls do not get played to the same player. Coaching Points

• Good crisp passes with good pace on them - not too soft or to strong. • Heads up scanning the field to find the open players • Play with speed. Start slow and once they figure it out, ramp it up. • Make sure central players maintain the central position until switching with the outside player in order to play facing the ball. If they get in too tight there will not be much time to play the ball. • Allow the kids to be creative with their combination play.

Put your coach this close to the action!

Have a special Coach in your life? Nominate them to be featured in next month’s issue of Philadelphia Union’s Coaches’ Club Newsletter. Submit a photo and one paragraph describing why they deserve to be nominated to with the “Technical Box” in the subject line. Each candidate will be entered into a drawing to watch pregame warm-ups from the Union home team benches during the 2013 season!


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LEO FERNANDES “I’m just excited and I can’t wait to play” - Leo Fernandes

With the Gold Cup being played many MLS teams played without some of their big name players for at least a month of the season. With these absences, other players had opportunities to show their club what they can provide on the field. For the Philadelphia Union, Leo Fernandes was a key factor in their success moving forward without Jack McInerney and he was looking to make the most of his chance. Fernandes split some time earlier in the season on loan with the Harrisburg City Islanders and worked hard to earn minutes through his perseverance both on and off the field “I’m just there each day, trying to work hard each day,” Fernandes said. “Once the opportunity comes, I’m just excited and can’t wait to play.” The Union has had strong play from their forwards throughout the season with Conor Casey and McInerney putting up strong numbers. Fernandes took his opportunity and gained valuable experience as he was slotted in the second forward position alongside Casey. For Fernandes, he is excited for his opportunity, but knows that it is a season long effort and the work doesn’t start or end with these games. “Each day, I come to practice and work hard and give 100% and just try to learn from the players above me,” he said. “It’s hard, but I feel like I’ve done a good job all year of just working.”


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International Round Up by Jose Riera Subs in the game of soccer are crucial. Unlike most other sports where you can sub in and out whoever you want, the changes you make during a soccer game will be final, since players who come out are not allowed to go back in, plus you can only make 3 substitutions. Most of the time the score of a game, will determine what you need. Some cases may be: You are up 1-0 in the second half and both your forwards (assuming you are playing a 4-4-2) are tired from pressing so much. In this particular case you would want to sub one of your forwards out and perhaps put in a CDM (center defensive midfield) and drop into a 4-5-1 so that way you make the opposite team play long balls. A team that does this is Real Madrid. Quite a few times we saw during the past season Michael Essien coming on for one of the forwards, either Benzema or Higuain. So they would end up playing a triangle with Khedira, Alonso, and Essien, leaving Ronaldo up top by himself. Another case might be where your team is down a goal or the game is tied but your team is playing all right, they are keeping the ball but just can’t seem to create opportunities. In this case you are going to want your formation to be 4-12-1-2, this player should come on as an creative attacking midfield (in this formation it would be on the top part of the diamond right behind the forwards). A player who fits perfect in this category is Brazilian future super-star Bernard. Standing at 5’5 this 20-year old is an extremely creative player who can not only score, but also assist, with his pace and passing abilities any team you put him in will start possessing the ball a lot more and creating chances. He usually plays on the wing but he cuts into the middle to create space for the backs. If you like better a 4-4-2, your best bet would be to sub a player in who can take players on and who is fast, to take advantage of the wings and the outside backs who have been running for 60 minutes plus. A great example of an outside mid in this case is the Portuguese


Nani. He didn’t play too much this season but he is exactly who you would want to put in on the wings, with his speed and dribbling ability Manchester United was able to create great scoring opportunities. Then again, can one player change the outcome of an entire game? The answer is yes. Even if the sub coming on is not the one that scores or assists, the energy he can bring into the game can change the face of the whole team. Sometimes even professional coaches have been caught saying: “Well I needed to sub someone in and I just had a hunch [insert name of player] was going to score”. You might not know if it is going to work out but you never know if you don’t try, if a player has been working hard at practice and he is still on your team it means that he can play, and he wants an opportunity, sometimes that is all a player needs to shine and become a star. The same way it happened with Manchester United in the 1999 Champions League Final. Sir Alex Ferguson moved his bench after the 65th minute seeing that his team was still down 1-0 since the 6th minute and nothing seemed to go his way. And it wasn’t until injury time in the second half that both subs Ferguson sent in from the bench scored and won the game in less than 3 minutes. First Teddy Sheringham and then Ole Gunnar Solskjær turned around one of the best finals in history of soccer.

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Tips from the Pros Preparing Players for the Full 90 Minutes by Kevin Miller, Union Fitness Coach In order to get a player ready for a full 90 minute game, a lot of things have to be put in place in order for an athlete to be prepared to play at a high level for 90 minutes. One of the first things that I recommend to athletes is that they build their aerobic system. What exactly do I mean by this? Your aerobic system is like your gas tank in your car. When it’s full, you are able to move very efficiently. For athletes this means that ability to do multiple sprints during a game and have the energy to recover and do this over a 90 min period. A great way to build your aerobic system is by doing some low intensity work for 30-75 minutes. If you are just starting a program start with 30 minutes of low intensity work where you keep your heart rate between 120-150 bpm (beats per minute). You can accomplish this several ways:

Aside from fitness nutrition and recovery play a critical role in a player being able to play 90 minutes. It’s very important to make sure that you are eating a good breakfast , lunch and dinner. Your body must have the essential nutrients if it is going to perform at a high level. Eating a balanced diet of protein, fat and carbohydrates and making sure that you are hydrated are all critical to the success of the player. Finally, sleep is the time when our body repairs the damage that we do to it. I always recommend that players get to bed by 10-10:30 p.m. every night and make sure that they get 7-8 hours of quality sleep.

would you say to a player who is making his MLS debut?

A: Debuts are special

for players. I tell them to embrace the moment, and enjoy it. You are on the field for a reason, due to all of your hard work in training, you have earned it, and we believe in you. I also like to mention grabbing a hold of your spot on the team, and never letting go of it. Don’t let the staff think of taking you out of a game ever again.

Q:@CoachRob: How

1. Running 2. Biking 3. Technical work with the ball done at low intensity 4. Swimming As your fitness improves, increase the time that you are training and work up to 60-70 minutes of training. They key with this plan is to keep the intensity low in the beginning and build a solid base. As you fitness improves, you can than progress to speed work. The ability to perform repeat sprints is critical for a soccer player. Start slow and again build up your number as you get stronger. Start with 5 sprints of 30 yds with a full recovery between runs. As you progress work up to 2025 repeat sprints with a full recovery (75-90 seconds).

Q: @CoachCurtin: What

can you help a GK gain confidence in themselves?


As a certified strength and conditioning specialist certified by the NSCA and U.S. Track and Field Federation, Miller has over a decade of experience as a sports performance coach. J U L Y

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The best place for a GK to gain confidence is on the training field. Goalkeepers have specific routines to help them prepare for games. It is important for the coach to work with the GK to create a controlled training environment that provides him/her repetition and get them into a good rhythm of making saves.


UPCOMING GIVEAWAYS 8/3 vs Have what it takes to be Philadelphia Union’s Youth Soccer Team of the Week? Show us your Union spirit and nominate your favorite youth team! The Team of the Week’s Coach will be interviewed on air, the team will receive t-shirts and will be recognized on the Union’s website & social media. Plus, dinner is on us!

8/10 vs

8/31 vs

Upcoming Events in August August 3: Dunkin’ Donuts Night August 13: 90th Minute(Union Radio Show)

(Union vs Chicago Fire at PPL Park - 8:00PM)

(Chickie & Pete’s - South Philly – 6-7:30PM)

August 6: 90th Minute(Union Radio Show) August 20: 90th Minute(Union Radio Show)

(Chickie & Pete’s - South Philly – 6-7:30PM)

August 10: PA Lottery Night

(Chickie & Pete’s - South Philly – 6-7:30PM)

August 21: Union Day in Fishtown

(Union vs DC United at PPL Park - 8:00PM)

(Union Day at Shissler Recreation Center)

August 6: 90th Minute(Union Radio Show) August 27: 90th Minute(Union Radio Show)

(Chickie & Pete’s - South Philly – 6-7:30PM)

(Chickie & Pete’s - South Philly – 6-7:30PM)

August 11: Union Day in South Philly August 31: Turkey Hill Night (Union vs Montreal Impact at PPL Park - 7:30PM) (Union Day at Capitolo Playground on Federal St.) J U L Y

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Coaches club July 2013  
Coaches club July 2013