Director of Goalkeeping Chris Barocas recently returned from coaching the U.S. U16 Women’s National Team in Carson, California. He spoke to us about the experience below.
Tell me how this opportunity came about.
Barocas: Being in the right environment has played a big role in this opportunity. It has allowed me to grow and take steps forward in my own development as a coach.
Could you describe the camp in general?
Barocas: The camp was intended to prepare the 16’s group for the next cycle with the 17’s after next summers U17 Women’s World Cup. It gave the staff from the 17’s a chance to do a lot of evaluation on who will be most ready to step forward and integrate into the next age group.
Was there an emphasis?
Barocas: The emphasis for the goalkeepers would be the ability to be a soccer player and use their feet very efficiently. The biggest thing that sets our women’s goalkeepers apart from many other goalkeepers in the world is that ours are very capable playing the ball with their feet. It gives us 11 players on the field vs many other countries having 10 and a goalkeeper.
What was your personal highlight?
Barocas: The chance to work along side the staff for both teams was a highlight. There was a lot of good information that was exchanged and the fact that you had that many influential people in US Soccer in one place was awesome. Anytime you have a staff with April Heinrichs, the women’s Technical Director, BJ Snow 17’s Head Coach, and Tricia Taliaferro 16’s Head Coach, you are bound to take something away from the experience. If I had to pick one thing I would say Graeme Abel, Goalkeeper coach for the full women’s team being there was my favorite piece. He was only there 2 days, but getting to watch him and pick his brain a little bit just confirmed that what I do development wise at Orlando City is the correct model.
If there was a single bit of advice you felt was most important what was it and who gave it?
Barocas: I would say that Tricia gave me the best bit of advice. After 2 days I was working with both the 16’s and 17’s goalkeepers and that was very unexpected. Tricia just told me to go out and “break a leg” which made me relax a little bit. She made the camp very positive for everyone. She has developed a great culture for this group of players and coaches.
What would you say is next for you or what are your personal goals?
Barocas: The immediate impact is to bring some of the details and ideas back and integrate them here at Orlando City. I was in camp thinking to myself that certain things will help us improve as a goalkeeping staff. For the long term I would love the opportunity to work with any of the national teams.
Orlando City recently announced the Orlando Pride. Thoughts?
Barocas: It shows the growth of the game. Orlando has shown a great deal of support for the MLS team. I think that the fan support will be awesome for the women’s team as there is a lot of momentum in soccer presently. It’s absolutely amazing to see how far we have come. Our ECNL and girls academy programs have already experienced an increase in quality, players and coaches alike. This addition will likely continue to show that Orlando City is serious about its commitment to the development and growth of the women’s game. It certainly is a lot different from when I was playing as a youth.