Bobby Puppione is the Girls Development Academy Director for The St. James (TSJ) FC Virginia, located in Northern Virginia (just outside of Washington DC). As the DA director, Coach Puppione oversees all of the Academy teams at the club, and supports the college outreach program.
In addition to his director role, Puppoine works with the under 14 Girls National Team. He also has been a US Soccer Training Center coach and Youth National Team scout for the last three years. Prior to joining TSJ FC Virginia, Coach Puppoine was the Girls Director at CUP in Cincinnati.
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Bobby's Journey Into Coaching
Bobby grew up in Northern California, playing multiple sports up until High School. He decided to venture down south, taking a scholarship at the University of Alabama, where he played on the club soccer team and helped out coaching on the women’s side. From there, he was a coach with Birmingham United (BUSA) and then accepted a Director role at Cincinnati United, where he stayed for 7 years. At a showcase event in Orlando, through a connection he ended up moving further north to the DC area and became the current Academy Director at FC Virginia.
Establishing a Connection
Bobby talks about his style of coaching -- and how it is important to connect with a person before connecting with the player. The closer relationship you are able to establish with your team, the easier it will be to lead them and help them develop as a player (and person).
The Process of Finding a New Club Team
Bobby discusses the importance of doing your ‘homework’. Researching the clubs in the area -- not just being attracted to the ‘big names’ and reputation. He encourages athletes to attend multiple events, meet the coaches in the organization, and have conversations with other families. Bobby says you need to make sure you have a positive connection with all members of the club so you as a player (and family) are comfortable in the environment.
Playing High School Soccer [or other sports] in addition to Club Soccer
Every player creates their own path, so there is not a clear answer for everyone. With that being said, Bobby said their club encourages multi-sport athletes. Adding other sports into your training routine (whether it be inside or outside the club), helps the players develop new skills. Bobby also mentions the element of ‘fun’ in other sports can make soccer more enjoyable as well.
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