The LeftFoot Coach

The LeftFoot Coach

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
— Leonardo da Vinci

I think I surprised too many people last week with the idea that I will be leaving LeftFoot.

I’m answering this question the most over the weekend rather than LeftFoot6.

It’s not that I’m leaving LeftFoot, but I am starting to transition.

I’m leaving the operations of LeftFoot in several stages to pursue two projects that we felt were not in the scope of LeftFoot Coaching Academy but needed my attention.

And the problem is I love coaching players so it was a difficult choice of how to move on.

This winter I’ll be coaching a very difficult schedule beginning in October, which is why we all felt that it’s in everyone’s best interest if we remove my administrative duties to allow me to “only coach” so I can go do what I need to do.

Since February of this year we have been trying to get everything out of my head in terms of how to run the facility, administer the coaching staff and develop membership of LeftFoot Coaching Academy to allow me to “just coach”.

I was putting in too many hours and it was an unhealthy burden that I couldn’t maintain.

I like to joke that when I returned from the World Cup in June I attacked my “outer journey” in the form of LeftFoot6 to help players and coaches come together to create a Soccer Home™.

When I returned from the Shambhala Mountain Center (link to SMC) in August I attacked my inner journey.

As part of my inner journey I’ve outlined three projects that I want to expand on: One, is a book,  The LeftFoot Way of Coaching, how I’ve woven meditation, martial arts and soccer into a method of coaching over the past eight years. I’ve developed more and more theories and applications that just never make it to “press” and are left in draft mode because I’m in the operations of LeftFoot.

Second, is a project I call, Coaching as Spiritual Journey. It consists of workshops, consulting and business development that have been asking for my attention for a couple of years. My expertise in building a personal/private coaching business has received a lot of interest and there’s work to do on integrating my Yoga/meditation/soccer practice. Being a private coach/entrepreneur in the world of coaching kids and soccer isn’t being addressed within the mission of LeftFoot, nor should it be. Unfortunately, I’ve confused this for too long in “my blog”.

Finally, many people are asking about LeftFoot at a national level and we need to start those conversations in a separate platform. LeftFoot has become more than just a soccer coaching academy in Minnesota, it’s a model for other soccer coaches and leaders in the nation that are looking for something different.

So LeftFoot6 as part of my journey is complete on a day to day basis in terms of what we’ve built locally. Running the daily show is ready for someone else and after six years, I’m done running the show locally. I just don’t have it in me to manage the day to day operations any longer — and to be frank, I think my team needs to run with the ideas of LeftFoot and not have my randomness interfere on a daily basis!

LeftFoot6 will allow more coaches and more players to connect in some incredible ways that were impossible before in LeftFoot 4.0. It should also bring players closer to me and allow me to manage an easier load than before.

For instance, I’ll be running a 24 week, one hour and a half session for students called Dynamic Training on Sunday and Thursday evenings.

That will be more access to me than in the past. And it’s my show – my party. So no, I’m not leaving the field, it’s just that LeftFoot6 allows us to segment the pricing for me in different ways.

In addition, I’ll be running six Privado sessions Tuesday through Thursday and coaching over eight hours a week plus some Saturday workshops which will put me over the six hours that I can really maintain with my admin duties.

I used to coach over 25 hours a week and I just can’t do that any longer. So we carefully maintain what I can do, and what I can’t do now — to everyone’s benefit. However, I can’t be on salary for 25 hours of coaching if that’s the case — hence the need to transition me out of some roles in the organization.

In addition to working with the coaches, video taping, writing, leading and innovating I was breaking down too fast and I just can’t do what I used to be able to do.

So…here’s the plan. In October, if you want to work with me, I’ll still be on the field in several capacities.

You can click here to view my schedule now.

But I’ve made sure we brought the BEST winter coaching staff in the Twin Cities to LeftFoot. With Andy at over three years of coaching directly with me and Charlie Zubal, my closest thing to a “padawan,” Anthony and his solid one year of exceptional performance promoting several players to the ECNL and Varsity levels this year, Mulenga ( we call him MU too) and Logan Meadows back from the fields,  we round out a staff that knows LeftFoot more than me now — and we are making huge strides in replicating the experience and expectations I demand from students. Steve Bellis, Colleen Carey and new coach Corey Winkler create a “renaissance of coaching” that expands on the work that Tyler Bosch, Ph.d, and I started in 2011. LeftFoot is learning by bringing coaches together to focus on the “why we coach” more than just “what we coach.”

Second, you’ll see LeftFoot Coaching Academy take on a newsletter format once more to let you know of ideas, projects and offerings from our Course Catalog that are more exciting than my ramblings. We’ve redesigned a ton of information to help you sort through everything LeftFoot can offer a developing student and our hope is to constantly add innovative coaches throughout the year in new ways. I’ll stay on in my “marketing role” for sometime into April as we transition to the summer. I’m totally planning on coaching this summer as I redeveloped our BootCamp program and tweaked a couple of other things that will make our Intensives just insane.

Third, Charlie Zubal will start contributing to our “soccer blog” and focus the Academy toward providing guidance on how to be a better player and more soccer content while I move off the site and continue rambling about what I ramble about as TheLeftFootCoach. I started LeftFoot Coaching as a blog about everything I couldn’t stand about youth soccer and how we treat kids through the systems. LeftFoot was my voice and then it became an academy that needs a different voice so that LeftFoot Coaching Academy can be about “more than me.” I still want my voice, and it will be as LeftFootCoach.com which will start January 1st, 2016 just like LeftFootCoaching started as a post on the first of January in 2008.

Finally, I’m excited to pass along the academy to better organizers and managers of the insane amount of activity that is going through LeftFoot on a daily basis. There are things that aren’t being said, there are coaches that aren’t being coached on how to encourage Aerial Warfare and risks… and there are kids that can be impacted by me getting out of the day to day business operations to go address the LeftFoot Way of Coaching so we can continue to make a different impact on the world of youth soccer.

In my travels to Canada and South Africa for both World Cup’s I followed a vision that was about bringing people together to celebrate the game of soccer and the bonds of love that are created when “we don’t have to win with you.” There have been a lot of new offerings, camps, programs that were created when I started LeftFoot and many more pop up. But our mission as a company of coaches offers the club neutrality and learning environment that will remain a purpose devoted to the best of what we can offer our kids.

About The Author

Xian Isquierdo

After 21 years of coaching with a long list of soccer accomplishments including two High School State Championships, Christian developed LeftFoot Coaching Academy. His unique background which includes studies in Zen Buddhism, movement psychology and the martial arts, has lead to the creation of a truly extraordinary approach to youth soccer coaching now referred to in his upcoming book, The LeftFoot Way of Coaching. With his passion and love of the game -- it’s no mystery why LeftFoot Coaching has become a locally and nationally renown program. Christian founded LeftFoot in 2010 after going undefeated through club and high school the entire season en route to a #1 Nationally ranked team.

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