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Jerry Ruiz Takes Role As Director Of Coaching For Coronado Football Club

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Posted: Friday, May 10, 2019 10:01 am

Jerry Ruiz is a native son of Rosarito Beach, Mexico and a soccer lifer. Playing the game since he was old enough to walk, Ruiz admitted, “You don’t have a choice over there. We played soccer during school as much as we could and then after school. I stayed at the fields all day Saturday. If there was a baptism in the family, I couldn’t go because I had a game. By the age of 14 or 15, I was already playing soccer with adults. My soccer career was mostly in Mexico, and it’s different over there.”

At the age of 22, Ruiz started coaching in Coronado. He coached with former Coronado High School Boys Soccer Coach Brian Hiatt-Aleu and then got his big break, unfortunately in this case literally. “I turned pro when I was older, at 24,” Ruiz recalled. “Previously I played roller hockey and had a chance to play on the Mexican National Team. Then I got a chance to play professional soccer with Tatabanya FC, a first division team in Hungary. My ankles were always prone to injury, and I had a strong tackle to my right ankle that shattered it. I was getting older and it was getting harder and harder to get back into it. So I decided I had my shot, took it and it was fun. I played either right or left forward, mainly because I was able to unbalance players with my moves and a lot of speed. I would get deep to the end line quickly and cross the ball. I assisted on a lot of goals.”

Although Ruiz no longer plays soccer competitively, he has branched out to ice hockey and foot volley, both of which he explained. “I found ice hockey and never went back to roller hockey. Ice hockey is just a different game and the level of play is much higher here. I play for the Baja Knights at the Joan Kroc Center. I stopped playing soccer because I do it all day. Now I play foot volley, which is like beach volleyball with your feet. In the off-season, I go to Brazil and play. I had a tournament last weekend in Carlsbad. There are just two people on one side of the court, and it is super draining. It’s similar to soccer in that you use your feet, but it’s something different.”

When asked about the best player he ever faced on the pitch, Ruiz replied, “I remember I played against Claudio Suarez when he played center back for Chivas. I remember admiring that club as a kid and I actually played against him. They called him ‘The Emperor.’ It was a great experience for me to play with somebody I grew up watching.”

Ruiz said of the style of play he coaches in soccer, “It’s a possession-based game, where you build from the back. You have possession of the ball as much as you can. We include the goalkeeper on the build out and we have freedom and creativity in the attacking third of the field for the forwards.”

Ruiz had success with the Nado Girls 2009 Team, which is the birth year for most of the girls on the team and the manner in which youth teams are now designated. The team advanced to the State Cup Finals. Ruiz described the traits which made them successful. “The Girls really understand the concepts, they keep the ball, even though they sometimes are physically overmatched. We had a 2010 and a 2011 player on the team, but they understand the tactics of the game. And we have a couple of individuals who are very talented and that helps. We know the strongest position for each player, but it is more important to move them around the field. The game is 7-on-7 at that age, then it goes to 9-on-9 and later 11-on-11. But it is very important to move them around as much as we can while they are younger.”

Now at the age of 35, Ruiz has accepted a larger role with the Coronado Football Club, formerly known as Nado Select. As the club’s Director of Coaching, he is in charge of developing the coaching curriculum and instruction for 17 Boys and Girls Youth Teams, which are being taught by 11 coaches. Ruiz recently took a trip to Madrid, Spain to gather information from clubs there. “Guillermo Hamdan played for Brian Hiatt-Aleu at Nado Select a long time ago. He is from Spain originally and he got into coaching. He runs a program at Real Madrid University. He is helping us because we worked with his childhood club. He set me up with coaches from Levante FC, Getafe FC, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Toledo. I visited all those clubs and I was there for a full week. Every day in the morning, we visited a club and we did a lot of things. We watched training sessions and spoke with the directors. I was mainly interested in developing our youth program at Coronado FC and what information we could bring back here.”

Ruiz said of the differences between coaching and teaching soccer in Spain versus the U.S. “One thing in Madrid is all of the coaches are professionals. They aren’t paid as much as a coach in the States, unless they are at the top of Real Madrid or they are a former Real Madrid professional player. They plan their season before it even starts, especially the younger ages. They get away from the game-to-game coaching. They don’t work on the technical side of the game, because their players are so much more advanced than ours are. They focus on the tactical side. The planning is still something we are developing. We’re trying a few things that work and may not work in our environment.”

Ruiz added, “Right now my main job is to make sure the coaches follow my curriculum that we have started. That’s the main thing. We want a clear pathway for the players, from when they begin to where they end, which may be high school, college or professional. We are beginning with technical development, and we advance to tactical development for the older teams. We teach things like, ‘When we win the ball, what do we do?’ and all the tactical concepts. We are all playing from the back and everyone is on the same page.”

According to Ruiz, the club name was changed from Nado Select to Coronado FC for the simple reason that, “When we played in tournaments, people didn’t realize where we were from. We wanted a name you would know and there was no doubt where we were from.”

The participation numbers in Coronado FC have declined of late and Ruiz plans to rectify that. “Right now we have 17 teams and we have a gap for the Boys teams from 2006 to 2001. That’s a gap we’re trying to close down. It’s hard to bring people into Coronado, so we are focusing on keeping the players here, so they fill those age gaps eventually. On the Girls side, we have combination teams for 2005 and 2004, plus 2003 and 2002. Other than that, we are solid.”

Ruiz said, “Our competition is with Albion and the Rebels, which are the closest teams geographically to us. Albion is a really big club, but now we offer the same things they do. For the older players we have College Pathway, where we have players participate in college showcases, especially players who want to play in college. That is a tool to help them be recognized. Obviously, we want to make this about the community and the players compete for their community. Parents often think the grass is greener on the other side. I’m not going to say anything bad about the other clubs, but we have a good thing here. Players can stay in the community, have fun and play with their friends. If they want something more, Coronado FC will provide that. If we can’t, we’ll put you in a more competitive environment. Also, I’m a National Team Scout on the female side and I know about that level of play and competition. I would be the first to suggest to a player they might go somewhere else. I have contacts with the Olympic Development Program (ODP) and as coaches in the community, we can recommend players if they have the right skills, mind set and want to go do that. Soccer builds the foundation for the athlete and the body.”

If you are interested in participating with Coronado FC, Ruiz can be contacted at jerry@nadosoccer.com. He explained, “If anyone is interested, our official tryouts have already happened, but we have ongoing tryouts. If you would like, you can come in and practice with a team. If the team is already full, then we offer a development program, especially with the younger ages. The older teams need more numbers to play and we always like to have reserves.”

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