La Roca Futbol Club uses a comprehensive, player-centered performance model to support players on their path to college and beyond.
The club soccer experience has evolved in recent years; clubs operate like a business, with players and families as their customers.
Now, clubs must deliver valuable opportunities off the field — like college recruitment training — while also producing results on the pitch.
Rather than react to trends, leading clubs are implementing programming that coincides with typical training activities. This new curriculum addresses the needs of players beyond playing time.
La Roca Futbol Club (UT) is known for its innovative philosophy in regard to tactics and player development. It’s why the club continues to grow in numbers — they added sixty new teams in 2022 alone — while dominating the in-state competition and amassing trophies from every tournament.
Through its partnership with Puma, La Roca coaches and staff have traveled internationally to shadow elite soccer organizations. Assistant Director of Operations and ECNL Administrator Laura Coffee said that after spending time with top European clubs such as Bayern Munchen, Borussia Dortmund and New Castle United, La Roca wanted to mimic the type of development it saw from the top ranks of the international game.
In 2019, La Roca Futbol Club implemented a high performance human development program. This program has six departments that focus on supporting and training key areas of athlete well-being: psychology, technical development, nutrition, human performance, physical therapy, and college or professional placement.
Each arm of the performance model targets different long-term growth opportunities for individual athletes.
Club founder and technical director Adolfo Ovalle, who also coaches the higher competition teams at La Roca, said it’s not enough to just practice and train:
“Each of those departments that are part of the human performance program make a difference in the player. I think it's just not only about the training now.”
The foundation of this programming starts with having facilities that can serve the athletes’ needs and ambitions, and in 2017, La Roca built their own facility to provide the optimal setting for progress.
The venue, referred to as the “Center of Excellence,” features three outdoor grass fields, a mini futsal court, and a hybrid physical therapy and weight training area adjacent to the full-size indoor turf field.
With this facility and the high performance programming, players are equipped to attack training sessions, hone their skills and take ownership of their journey — including making it to the next level.
“Players have to put in their very best in order to improve,” Ovalle said. “They have to be the number one person to invest in themselves.”
These resources help young athletes commit to their goals and stay motivated. This is especially important for players who might not see the field as much on more competitive teams.
At La Roca FC, playing time is just one component of the player journey. In addition to reps on the pitch, players and their families have direct access to resources curated to help them stay healthy and happy.
For example, nutritional programming gives players advice on picking foods to fuel or recover from matches to better handle the rigors of competition. There are even recipes for healthy meal options as part of their diet.
Should they need it, athletes can sign up for mental toughness exercises to better handle adversity on the way to achieving their goals. Athletes may go online and find tips to manage stress or get a better night’s sleep.
This holistic approach to player health and development keeps the athlete at the core of the experience. Players and their families trust the coaches because they’re not just developing their soccer skills. La Roca has proven that it cares about the full athlete on a human level.
But club soccer is more of a business than ever. Through its human performance program, La Roca has gained a reputation for producing professional and college-ready athletes.