'A' coaches get first-hand look at Chivas training

Red-and-White welcome around 50 top coaches from around U.S.

Martin Vasquez and his coaching staff

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Watching Chivas USA’s practice on Wednesday morning, one
couldn’t help but notice the large group of extra observers on the sidelines. Around
fifty people stood on the edge of the pitch and watched for the duration of the
session.

These weren’t your average observers; they spent the morning
making insightful comments about the Goats’ playing style and discussing
tactical movements on the field. Any intelligent person would have guessed them
to be coaches, which is exactly what they were.

“These are coaches who have their ‘A’ license here in the
United States,” explained Jay Hoffman, a member of the National Educational
Staff for U.S. Soccer, to MLSsoccer.com after the practice. “They are here for
their A Audit course, which is the continuing education units for coaches with
their ‘A’ license.”

“What we try to do is give these guys the opportunities to
see professional teams train,” he added. “So today we’re at Chivas USA,
tomorrow we’ll watch the Galaxy, and we’ve already spent some time with the U.S.
U-18 women and the U.S. U-20 women.

The National “A” license is the highest level of coaching
accreditation given by the U.S. Soccer Federation. It focuses on recognizing
the principles of the game and its technical applications in 11v11 game format
and how these principles influence positional, group and team organization. In
earning the license, coaches also examine player, team and game management
issues as they relate to senior level players.

The coaches at Chivas USA’s practice on Wednesday had
already been in Los Angeles for four days, holding conferences, attending other
training sessions and listening to special presentations.

“The nice thing about doing it [in Los Angeles] is that you
have a lot of opportunities to incorporate a lot of things,” Hoffman said. “For
example, Bob Bradley came in yesterday and spoke. We’ve had [U.S. Women's
national team head coach] Pia [Sundhage] come in. Bruce Arena has spoken. This
location just gives us a lot of opportunities.”

After Wednesday’s practice, the coaches, who are from all
over the United States, were treated to a conversation with Chivas USA head coach
Martín Vásquez. Vásquez, a holder of an “A” license himself, talked to the visitors
about his strategy for practice and his tactics for the Red-and-White’s
upcoming match against Houston.

“We shared with them our training plan for today, and we
told them what we had in mind in preparation for Houston,” Vásquez said. “Jay
Hoffman and I go back many years and our assistant coach, Carlos Juarez, has
been working for the federation and coaching school for close to twenty years.
We will be receptive any time if they want to come and look at our training
sessions.”

The visiting coaches will return home on Friday having
competed their seven-day refresher course. Chivas USA, meanwhile, leaves for
Houston on Thursday where the team continues its preparations for Saturday’s
game against the Dynamo.