Sports

Spanish-style soccer academy in Modesto

From the likes of Sevilla and Barcelona, Rudy González delivers Spanish-style soccer to Modesto.

From his days on the Hughon High School soccer team, González, who is now age 30, had a desire to explore international soccer.

After graduation in 2000, he did just that, when the Modesto native traveled to Spain.

He obtained a master's degree in Economics at the Universidad de España, but his continued love for soccer inspired González to volunteer for numerous teams in Spain's Federation of Soccer, where world-reknown teams like FC Barcelona and Real Madrid compete.

Upon his return in 2009, González came up with the idea of opening a clinic, California International, in his hometown.

"We practice right now at Los Amigos Tire Shop in Modesto," said González, "but when the time change comes (early March), we'll be moving the camp to the city complex fields."

Critics shouldn't speak too soon about the academy's location. It is really, the quality of the instruction.

González worked as a volunteer in various divisions in Spain. And about two weeks ago, he returned to Spain on an invitation to assist in the coaching.

"I had trained for a whole year in Spain from 2008 to 2009. But from 2011 to 2012, I was also studying how they played soccer, the sport when I was in Sevilla," added González, whose soccer career was cut short because of a knee injury.

"It's great now because I get to teach kids that soccer can help them with school."

Since the October opening of his academy, González and numerous assistants teach approximately 70 youngsters.

The crew also talks about the many opportunities that are possible through the sport.

González believes a dual approach to soccer, American- and European-based soccer styles, will be rewarded with better players.

"In Spain, the kids who want to play soccer begin their training at six years in age. As they grow, they enter into a league. And that league is governed by the same federation that contains Real Madrid and Barcelona (teams)," he said.

González believes Spain's developmental academies outscores in quality against those in the U.S.

The way he described it, it's similar to that of La Federación Mexicana de Fútbol, which created Fuerza Básicas, the developmental ranks of the youth training academies in México.

"Everything is well-organized. It's just one window pane the (Spanish) organization offers to the sport," said González. "It has many years of experience."

When his Modesto academy opened late last year, just 10 young players signed up, but as the word spread, that number grew.

González hopes to develop a training method in Modesto that will follow Spain's.

"Barcelona (FC Barcelona) changed and revolutionized everything that we know about soccer. Before, they used to have two forwards,very tall forwards that midfielders would pass the ball to. And they would try to advance (on the field) by forcing themselves through with the ball. They would try to make the goal the fastest way possible," said González.

"Now Barcelona has small players who play touch ball, it's little by little. And now, the entire world is trying do it too."

González said that he and his many assistants have plans for the kids this summer.

"What I would like to do is create a professional or semi-professional team. This would be players that I have trained through the academy," he said.

González attributes much of his experience to Spainard and friend, Eder Aramburú, a former third-division pro player in Spain.

"Eder helps with the training, but I've learned a lot from the professionals playing for Sevilla FC and Real Betis Balompie," he said, "And there's been a lot of interest in the club we have here in Modesto."

González added that he owes a great deal to his volunteers: Andrés Olide, Miguel Bazoco, Manuel Mendoza, José Luis Zamora, Eduardo García, Fernándo 'Gato' González.

For more information, call (209)602-9616 or visit the website at cisoccer.org.

Send e-mail to:

dcasarez@vidaenelevalle.com

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