Ralf Cebrian Awarded 2010 CYSA District II Coach of the Year

January 25, 2011

Congratulations to Ralf Cebrian, who will receive the 2010 CYSA District II "Coach of the Year Award" this weekend at the Annual CYSA Expo held this weekend in Monterey. He receives recognition for coaching the Santa Clara Sporting ’94 Boys Team and taking them from an unranked Class 3 Team, to a Top-10 Class 1 Ranked Team in the United States.

This is the second consecutive year that a SCYSL and Santa Clara Sporting Coach won the CYSA District II Coach of the Year Award as Demitri Cacoyannis won the award last year.

Over 40 Years of Dedication to Soccer
In forty years of coaching Ralf Cebrian has worked with various age groups from U-10 to Professional. He is currently with the Santa Clara Sporting Club and has been with the West Valley United for 20 years. Ralf coached 4 years at the High School level at Archbishop Mitty, San Jose and Monta Vista High School, Cupertino. Four years at the College level at West Valley College, Saratoga; St. Andrew’s College; Momoyama Gaukin Osaka, Japan and Apple Sports College, Niigata, Japan. Ralf was a CYSA Olympic Development Program coach for over 10 yrs. and served on both the District and State Levels Staffs. He spent seven years coaching at the Senior Amateur Levels with the Portuguese Athletic Club, San Jose and Silicon Valley Red Devils, Women’s Premier League, Cupertino. And two years as Professional Goalkeeper Coach with Albirex Niigata, in the Japanese J-League. As a course instructor Ralf has been on the CYSA Instructional staff for over ten years and spent two years with the National Soccer Coaches Assn of America (NSCAA) as a member of their Regional Staff. He also taught courses in Japan for two years when he was the Japanese Youth Soccer Organizations Coaching Director.

Santa Clara Sporting 94 Team back in 2007

From #389 to #6 in the United States - nomination letter from Gabe Foo, Santa Clara Sporting ’94
Ralf joined the Santa Clara Sporting ’94 Team as the head coach back in 2007, and his coaching talent and dedication to our team has taken us from a Class 3 team, to one of the top Class 1 Division 1 teams in Northern California.

Many of our families didn’t understand the magnitude of his coaching experience, and we didn’t quite understand some of his rules and fanaticism he demanded to “respect the game,” but it all makes sense now.In the beginning, he would harp on our boys if they came to practice with “dirty boots,” and would not even let them play a game unless they had clean uniforms and soccer cleats on game day. That sounds a bit extreme and “old school,” but it’s one of many examples how he taught our boys to respect “the beautiful game.”In a much grander scheme of things, he has been focused and driven to teach our boys how to play the game with passion, style and a purpose. Ralf has also ensured the players show respect for each teammate, our opponents and coaches.

Back in our U12 days when we transition from the top Class 3 team, to an entry-level Class 1 team, we would win games on skill and tactics, but loose games to teams that had a few bigger, faster kids that played the old “send it long” style of soccer. Honestly, we were a good Class 3 Team that won the Delgado League because we taught our kids how to posses the ball and build-up an attack, but we were really not prepared to compete against seasoned Class 1 teams, so we took our lumps and got our butts kicked. It was tempting to join the other Class 1 teams and play kick-and-run soccer, but Ralf would not let our boys resort to kick-ball soccer just to score. He would tell the kids, “that is not soccer, and you’re disrespecting the game if all you do is play kick-ball. He kept telling our team that someday about the time we hit U15 and U16, the athletic playing field will be level and games will no longer be won because one team had a bigger, faster player who could outrun their opponents.

So he kept teaching our kids soccer tactics, lots of playing formations, proper technique, how to create space to build an attack, and the responsibilities of each player on and off the field. It was not easy, and like all coaches, we pulled our hair out at times, but he kept the kids motivated and had a lot of patience during practices building-up the training session one step at a time.

One Sunday morning, Ralf taught our boys that the passion for soccer extends beyond borders when he set-up a friendly scrimmage with local Japanese/US Soccer League team. Our kids really enjoy competing against the Japanese kids, and admired each other’s skills and craze for soccer afterwards. You should have seen the boys trying to talk with each other after the game.

I hope that CYSA and the soccer community at large recognize Ralf Cebrian for his dedication and passion to the sport he loves! Please award him “Coach of the Year!”

Gabe Foo
Santa Clara Sporting 94 Assistant Coach & Team Manager