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Q & A With U.S. Soccer U-17 scout and National Staff Coach Juan Carlos Michia

CoachesNet caught up with U.S. Soccer U-17 scout and National Staff Coach Juan Carlos Michia to discuss the upcoming coaching education trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina in March 2009. Juan Carlos, a native of Argentina, discusses plans for the trip, how soccer is a way of life in Argentina and what a coach can expect during the week.

CoachesNet: This is the first educational trip offered by U.S. Soccer. Can you explain some of the reasons why U.S. Soccer is planning a trip like this?

Juan Carlos Michia: “Because it is important for U.S. Soccer to introduce its members to what other countries are doing and how they go about training and developing players. Argentina is one of the top soccer countries in the world and this is a great opportunity for coaches to learn from some of the best coaches.”

CoachesNet: U.S. Soccer has licensed coaches from the highest level "A" to the beginner level "E". Is this trip open to all coaches?

JCM: “Of course. It is important we make trips like these and other educational opportunities available to all interested coaches. The hope is for the coaches who attend the trip to share what they learned with their club, players and other coaches. The group interaction and discussions will also be an important part of the experience.”

CoachesNet: Will coaches follow a course curriculum during the week?

JCM: “We are going to Argentina to interact with their professional coaches. We will not use a manual but we will base our discussions and basic framework around our coaching schools. They have so much to offer and I think that it would be a good compliment to mix that information with our course curriculum.

We do plan to breakdown training sessions and discuss them based on our “A”, “B” or “C” courses. It will be great exercise to show a coach who may have his “B” license and hopes to take an “A” license course one day what we as instructors look for. Using a professional team to demonstrate this will be invaluable.”

CoachesNet: Who are some of the presenters scheduled during the week?

JCM: “Right now we have coaches from the Argentina U-17 National Team, Director of Coaches of Estudiantes de la Plata, Boca Juniors and Independiente. We will add additional speakers over the next few months.”

CoachesNet: What can one expect by taking part in this trip?

JCM: “First, we are going to Argentina to learn how they practice and play soccer from a young age to adults, to see how the transition is from players coming from clubs to the national teams, and to interact with coaches you typically would not have access to.

"We will exchange information with professional youth club coaches, talk about their development of players, watch youth games, see professional games and talk with their youth national team coaches.

"We also want to introduce coaches to the country and how the people live and die for soccer. It is a way of life. The people have a great passion for life and soccer and they talk about the game constantly. There are not many places in the world that follow and cherish the game like Argentina.

"There will be a bus tour of Buenos Aires, a visit to different stadiums in the city, and a traditional Argentina barbeque, which everyone should experience once. The hotel is located near the city center and will allow our group easy access to shopping, restaurants and cafes.”

CoachesNet: We understand there is a trip to the famous Bombonera Stadium, home of Boca Juniors? What can you tell us about Argentina top-flight soccer and more specifically about watching a game at Bombonera Stadium?

JCM: “I have heard from people who have seen a game between Real vs. Barcelona, Manchester vs. Arsenal, or Milan vs. Inter, that what you see in La Bombonera you will never see in any other place in the world. You have thousands of people singing for their team for almost two hours. The atmosphere is incredible. Attending any one of the stadiums in Buenos Aires is a true experience. It will be a highlight for all coaches.”

CoachesNet: Will participants take part in field sessions?

JCM: “It depends because the coaching staffs will want to show us practice sessions with their players. Anyway, everybody should bring soccer shoes because we will have a coach’s game in Buenos Aires, no excuses.”

CoachesNet: We understand that field sessions and lectures may be taped?

JCM: “We are planning to hire a videographer to tape all lectures and training sessions. The reason we are doing this is we hope this information is shared with coaches. It is a very good educational tool.

CoachesNet: Is there a deadline to register?

“The original deadline was Nov. 14 but we have had to extend it due to a great amount of interest from coaches across the country. Coaches should register soon as there are only a few spots remaining.”

To register, visit Questions can be directed to Limited space is still available.