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Monterey County Futbol Club

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30

Jul, 2020

MCFC/Monterey SURF Merger Featured in Carmel Pine Cone

Soccer club merger creates more opportunities for young players

By DENNIS TAYLOR

A SECOND youth soccer organization based on the Monterey Peninsula announced June 29 that it has merged with Monterey Surf, creating a much larger organization for some of the Peninsula’s best young soccer players, as well as recreation-level players in all age groups, elementary school through high school.

The Monterey County Futbol Club, which is composed of dozens of local teams in all age divisions, voted to follow the lead of a rival, Monterey Bay Soccer Club and affiliate with Surf Soccer Nation, a nationally known organization known for a philosophy prioritizing player development over the pursuit of trophies.

Hundreds of players

Surf Soccer Nation oversees about two dozen youth soccer organizations in the United States and Puerto Rico. Most are on the West Coast. Monterey County Futbol Club and Monterey Bay Soccer Club were the two largest youth soccer organizations in the county, and their merger under the Surf banner is expected to enhance opportunities for local players of all ages and abilities, officials say.

“This is very important, because it gives all kids in Monterey County a single place to pursue soccer at all levels, from recreational soccer all the way to collegiate soccer,” said Rob Bernardino, a former Monterey County Futbol Club board member who is now on the board of Monterey Surf. “The merger will lead to greater opportunities for players and families and growing influence in the Monterey County market and beyond.”

A major difference provided by the Surf banner is a requirement that all coaches in the program be licensed by the United States Soccer Federation and also trained in the Surf philosophy, which prioritizes long-range player development over immediate success.

Monterey Surf is expected to field more than 15 competitive-level teams in multiple age groups, all competing in the Nor- Cal Premier League, along with more than 400 recreational-level players of all skill levels.

“This new organization merges history with innovation, competition, and the best training available in Monterey County,” said Brett Rosenberger, director of coach- ing for Monterey Surf (and head men’s soccer coach at Monterey Peninsula College), whose Surf coaches include former professional players, college coaches, and local high school coaches.

Monterey Surf Board President Troy Grande — formerly the president of the Monterey County Futbol Club – said he’s been a longtime advocate of merging local soccer leagues, whose rivalries weren’t al- ways healthy for growth and competition.

Under the previous arrangement, teams from competing organizations would routinely lure players away — an unhealthy situation for local soccer players. And there are multiple other benefits to merging, he said. “To me, it always made sense to bring these clubs together and make them larger,” said Grande, who also is Carmel High’s varsity soccer coach.

“For example, we’ve always had a girls’ program at MCFC, but it was never big enough to have teams that were one age only. We’d always have to mix girls born in different years. This merger presents more opportunities for the players.”

Perspectives

Players of every skill level — beginner to advanced — will have a place in the new organization, and highly skilled players will no longer have to travel beyond the Monterey Peninsula to compete against athletes of equal ability.

At the same time, the affiliation with Surf Nation will make better competition more readily available to competitive teams at every level, Grande said.

“What we envision is inviting some of those San Francisco Bay area teams down to Monterey County for three-day tournaments,” he said.

Relationships with the coaching staffs at MPC, CSU Monterey Bay and local school districts make practice and playing fields abundant, further reducing the time

and expense of travel for county soccer parents and their kids.

Surf’s nationally espoused player-development philosophy — prioritizing improvement over win-loss records — is also a plus for players and parents, although it is sometimes a hard sell in the early days of implementation, said Rosenberger, an Air Force Academy graduate who played and coached professional soccer on an international level and is in his 19th year as international director of coaching for the Magellan International Soccer Academy.

“Kids who play the same position every time will never see the game from a different perspective,” he said. “They’re never really asked to learn some of the more-advanced concepts of the game because, in all honesty, while you’re learning, you’re going to screw up, you’re going to play slower, and you’re going to lose.

“We had to redefine for coaches and parents what success is. Yes, success could mean winning games, but we really wanted

to define success as developing the tools necessary to win games.”

On hold

Monterey Surf will not only provide a head coach for every individual team, it will include specialty coaches who con- duct age-specific weekend seminars for individual positions (i.e., goalkeepers only), tactics (such as defensive strategies), specialized skills (attacking the goal) and other nuances of the game.

Plans for an upcoming season are indefinitely on hold for Monterey Surf because of the coronavirus, but the new organization is producing a series of virtual “town hall” meetings to share information and address frequently asked questions for prospective Surf players and parents.

Additional information can be found on the club website at montereysurf.com.

Dennis Taylor is a freelance writer in Monterey County. Contact him at [email protected]

Contact

Monterey County Futbol Club
PO Box 4066 
Monterey, California 93940

Phone: 831-275-2152
Email: [email protected]
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