The world has moved indoors and online for a little while, which has put a temporary halt on soccer training sessions and coaching around the world. Young players in particular, for whom every hour on the pitch is vital at this stage, are missing out.
What better time, then, for coaching to head online as well?
A Cavalry FC trio — midfielder Elijah Adekugbe; goalkeeper Marco Carducci; and Carlos Patiño, a 2019 Cav whose status for 2020 is unconfirmed — has led the charge (pardon the pun) on that front. The past few months, they’ve been developing CONTRLL, a virtual training service for kids who want to learn from professional footballers.
Carducci and Adekugbe explained to CanPL.ca that all three players have a background in coaching and personal training, especially with young kids at the grassroots levels of soccer. With their professional schedules becoming increasingly packed, though, it just wasn’t feasible to do as much as they wanted.
“During the season it was tough to maintain energy levels to coach, because the schedule was so demanding and there was a lot being forced on us,” Adekugbe explained. “Being on your feet another couple hours was tough for us.”
Carducci added: “You know, if you’re training three hours in the morning, and have a big game on the weekend, the last thing you want to be doing is exerting yourself even more, as much as we wanted to. You have to put your pro career first.”
So, they decided to take things online, and CONTRLL was born.
Essentially, it’s a subscription service. Players (or, more accurately, their parents) sign up to gain access to a library of 133 training videos and 13 full training programs, which they can complete on their own. Kids looking for something more individualized could also opt for the Personal Mentorship subscription, which gets them their own training program, with feedback and monthly video chat sessions from one of the three professional footballers.
“What we found out was that kids, they want the experience of pros, they want to be able to train with people that they’ve watched play,” Adekugbe said. “But then also the parents, it was important to them that it was quality training, it wasn’t somebody that’s just taking their money, they’re getting a good session.”
CONTRLL’s library of training videos wasn’t just pulled from the internet, though. Adekugbe recounted to CanPL.ca that he, Carducci, and Patiño spent two or three months over the fall and winter filming any and every exercise they could think of that might be useful. It might’ve felt silly at the time, but a clip of, for instance, Carducci pouncing on dead balls could be crucial to a young player’s developing technique:
“I was fortunate to be able to go in the backyard with my dad and do all the goalkeeping training that kind of got me where I am today,” Carducci said. “Now, as players and as coaches you’re able to see kids that kind of replicate that, you’re able to see yourself in some of these kids.”
Both Carducci and Adekugbe are veterans of the Calgary grassroots soccer scene, and all three partners have been around the block as youth footballers in Canada. They’re aware that they, as the first fully pro players in Calgary, are in a unique position to help foster the sport in their community.
Already, the videos they’ve shared of CONTRLL customers completing training workouts are littered with kids wearing Cavalry FC kits, learning first-hand from some of their new soccer heroes.
They may have to wait to see those heroes back in action in the CPL, but it seems these Cavs players are still making an impact, even with training pitches closed for now.
Visit contrll.com for more.