For De Anza SC U14 coach Andres Deza, teaching his young charges how to play the game with high quality has always been the important thing.
At younger ages, the team would lose, sometimes heavily, to teams taking a much more direct approach, while his group would continue to work on connecting passes, moving without the ball and building from the back, with the ball usually on the ground.
Now at U14, the Northern Californians are beginning realize some true competitive fruits from Deza’s work. The team is undefeated early in the ECNL season and ranked #2 in the TopDrawerSoccer.com TeamRank.
But it’s still about teaching the finer points of technical and tactical soccer for Deza.
“We really live and breathe that concept of the game and try to break it down that way,” Deza said. “The key is in the details. How you break the opponent down. The feeling is that the preference of style of play comes first, and then you try to translate the intention to the execution on the field. We try to keep the ball on the ground and work the triangles. I come from Barcelona in Spain. That’s what I learned growing up and that’s the kind of style I’m trying to get the girls to play.“
Deza has been in the U.S. for 7 years. He is involved with U.S. Soccer Training Centers directed by current U17 Women’s National Team coach Albertin Montoya, and he also is making a reputation for himself with the excellent work done on behalf of this team.
The coach doesn’t think there should be a battle between technical and tactical acumen, but believes both can be taught to players in the right quantity for their specific ages.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with teaching boys and girls at an early age to make right decisions on the field,” he said. “It’s important for these girls not to just have technical skills, but also to make the right decisions.”
Given some of the tough losses dealt to his team when they were younger, Deza takes care to credit his parents with being a supportive group and staying on board with his teaching program.
“They have always bought into the concept of what we were trying to do with the players,” he said. “I had to work in setting expectations of course and to make sure they understood the path we were taking, and that we would have some tough times on that road. We were always playing a year up in our league, but we also have managed to win State Cups, Surf Cups, So Cal Blues Cups. I think they appreciated what we were trying to do.”
The De Anza team plays in an area league as well as ECNL so that everyone on the 23-player roster gets regular match action. The group agreed not to compete in high school this year, and Deza believes staying away from the scholastic game will be an important aspect of the team’s ongoing development.
If you wonder what the team’s playing style looks like, the following link will show a somewhat lengthy video that should give you a strong idea that De Anza’s U14s practice what their coach preaches when it comes to passing, possession and pretty soccer.
De Anza SC U14 ECNL Roster
Joelle Anderson, McKenna Angotti, Olivia Athens, Alexandra Augulis, Zoe Barrie, Reina Bonta, Tierna Davidson, Sophia Dertorossian, Luca Deza, Zoe Enright, Alyssa Fagel, Kayla Fong, Kailee Gifford, Helen Gordan, Abby Griswold, Jennifer Parker, Sarah Tatley, Mya Torres, Samantha Tran, Amanda Tuazon, Danielle Wheeler