Family, supportive, dynamic, commitment.
These are some of the words used by coaches in the Club to describe San Francisco Elite Academy.
These are coaches with decades of coaching at the college level, these are coaches who are currently involved in the high school scene in San Francisco and in the greater area, and these are coaches who are being recognized for their greatness as players.
Ali Hall was recently named as US Soccer’s 2022 Beach Female Soccer Player of the Year. Not only is she a role model for young female players, she is actually passionate about working with them. She enjoys working with young female athletes and turning them into confident players, and she likes that SF Elite has a strong youth program with female coaches as role models.
Beyond having coaches like University of San Francisco’s Jim Millinder and his decades of experience at the NCAA level, or Jeff Wilson who coaches at San Francisco City College, there are coaches like Chance Daniel who coach at the high school level in San Francisco, which has woven him into the fabric of San Francisco soccer.
Daniel, who also coaches at University High in San Francisco in addition to coaching two SF Elite Girls Academy teams (07 and 08), sees the club as humble, but aspirational. He enjoys working with coaches he can learn from and who want to challenge themselves at the highest level of the game. Coaches that are rowing in the same direction to help each individual player.
“We take a holistic approach to the game that considers where they are now and where they want to go. More specifically, we tailor our curriculum and approach to the general social, physical, and psychological expectations of each age group so we can help players progress towards the highest standards at a manageable pace,”
Daniel said. “We challenge young players technically and competitively to create a good base for players to push themselves tactically and physically as they get older. I think this approach is designed for high potential players to thrive without limitations and less high potential players to maximize their ability.”
Other coaches agree that the quality of training, the targeted and pinpoint feedback the players get, is what makes the coaching staff at SF Elite standout. Also, the inclusion of kids from all different backgrounds in this diverse City that SF Elite calls home.
“What stands out to me about what the club offers to young athletes is the quality of the training sessions and opportunities the club provides for kids of all backgrounds and competition levels,” Ale Galindo, who coaches two boys teams (10 Orange and 11 GIMS), said. “Our coaches are fully committed to helping young athletes be the best versions of themselves.”
SF Elite also offers a sense of community, a sense of belonging, which is not easy in a densely populated City like San Francisco.
“I’ve enjoyed coaching here because there’s a real sense of community amongst the players and coaches,” Galindo said. I’ve seen players and coaches from different age groups work together and support each other, both in training sessions and games.”
All of this, in large part, is because SF Elite offers the best coaching in San Francisco and some of the best in the entire Bay Area. Not only are they excellent coaches, but they have bought into the community.
“Our club is a microcosm of the greater San Francisco community,” Ben Simon, who coaches the 08 and 09 Boys Blue teams, said. “Every team is comprised of players and families from all different backgrounds. SF Elite showcases the unity of our city through the beautiful game.”
Simon, as well as Dave Faulkner, who coaches the 2006 Boys Blue team, see that the club offers a competitive program that is excellent at developing players and give them an opportunity to grow and to be successful.
“The devotion of our players to their personal development has been second-to-none. Our players are committed to improving and can always be found with a ball at their feet. San Francisco is a soccer community and our players fuel this environment,” Simon said. “Our young athletes have the opportunity to be a member of a team at a variety of levels. Our youth pathway allows for players to foster a love for the game, whether that be at the recreational or competitive levels. There is always a place in our club for any player who loves the game.”
Faulkner not only sees that the club is organized, but also likes how support from the top leads to competitive programs.
“The club offers a competitive program, which has brought success to the club,” Faulkner said. The club also offers ambitious prospects as it aims to achieve ECNL status, giving players opportunities to play at a high level. The club also has highly qualified coaches that give the players excellent opportunities for their development.”