New York Red Bull Training Session – Friday February 6, 2009


Today I had the privilege of attending and observing the New York Red Bull training session at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Florida. I say privilege because the chance to watch Juan Osorio coach was just that, a privilege. I saw real coaching in soccer for the first time in a long time. He gets it, a truly outstanding coach. I cannot say enough good things about the structure and content of the training session. Juan asked me to evaluate his session and here are the things that I saw: I always look for progression and there was progression within each segment of the practice and between segments. The whole session progressed from technical work to tactical work to strategic work. It was really cool to see the progression from fundamental movement skills in a drill relating to and leading directly to soccer skills. He taught with varied styles appropriate for the situation and the player, his ability to demonstrate obviously really captures the players attention. Mistakes were pointed out and CORRECTED; there was no repetition of errors! Good tempo to the session. It was obvious he knew his players strength and weaknesses and he was always teaching to minimize weaknesses and optimize strengths. He gave incredible attention to details in areas that I have never heard of or seen an American coach address. He was working with the defense and showed the probability of certain balls in certain areas resulting in goals. It gave a lot a more meaning to the subsequent defensive drill because now each player knew WHY they had to be in a position. There was no jogging in warm-up. The warm-up related to the practice that followed. In contrast there were two other MLS teams training on adjacent fields at the same time. The difference was incredible. They were repeating errors, all jogged around the complex to warm-up. Juan had every segment of the practice thoroughly planned with each drill drawn out in detail. I could not help but contrast this to my experience with the 1998 US World Cup team when the head coach on the bus to practice turned to one of the assistants and asked what he thought the team should do today- no plan and no idea. I can’t wait to see another session before they leave. Juan is a great example of a coach who is always learning. He wants to learn from other sports. I was telling him how much his training session reminded of a session I had seen Tex Winter run with the Chicago Bulls. The first thing he asked me is does he have a book? So tomorrow I will bring him Tex Winters book. Folks, that is how you become the best- constant learning.
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Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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