APTOS — The Santa Cruz Breakers U18 and U16 are going to look a little different without seasoned head coach Efrain Burgos running the ship, but the sensational talent hasn’t gone anywhere.
Newcomers Leigh Davies and Marco Santillan will try and fill the void as the U18 and U16 coaches in the upcoming 2013 Santa Cruz Breakers Academy season.
“It’s good that we got a new coach from a different background,” said Andrew Platon, who is one of the returning U18 players. “He’ll bring in a lot of new styles and new information that we’re not used to.”
Davies is originally from England and most recently coached the U16 Real Colorado Academy Team. He has also worked with the Tottenham Academy and Reading FC Academy.
Santillan, a former Atlas player from Mexico, will take over the U16 duties. He has worked with many professional clubs in Mexico including Chivas, Pachuca and still collaborates closely with Atlas today.
And they’ll have some good- size shoes to fill. In his four-year tenure with the Breakers Burgos helped kids reach universities like Stanford, Cal Poly, Vermont and UC Santa Barbra. Two of his players Martin Monroy and Lynden Gooch were able to make it into the professional ranks.
“We feel good about this season,” said Paolo Carbone the technical director of the Breakers Academy.
But even with great coaches you still need talent, and the Breakers have plenty of it. The Academy is a part of the U.S. Development Academy and the Nor Cal Premier League, so they compete against the best teams in the state and nation.
“The experience is awesome,” said Kevin Mendez who was on the U16 team last year as a 14-year old after being a part time developmental player for two years. “The competition is great, the games are intense and it’s just fun overall. Then you get scouted by college and national teams. I really like this experience.”
After both the U16 and U18 teams missed the playoffs last season, players like Platon know what needs to change so that they can extend their 2013 season.
“We didn’t start off as strong as we could. A good start would push us in the right direction, and hopefully towards playoffs.”
Even if they don’t make playoffs, the key for most players is the exposure that the players get with the Academy programs.
“It’s sad to say,” said Mendez, “but most colleges aren’t scouting at the high schools anymore. With the Breakers I was playing against older kids and developing my skills and getting great training here. You just can’t beat this.”
Posted: Tuesday, Jul 2nd, 2013
BY: Tony Nunez