Putting Resources Toward the Right Things

Kids with Soccer coach

“We strive to coach the individual within the team.”

DSAL serves thousands of youth and families every year through a range of fitness and recreation activities, including soccer, boxing, taekwondo, fitness, muévete, dance, and the Rhythm Cadets drumline. The fitness and recreation activities are led by passionate, talented coaches and instructors who are dedicated to DSAL’s mission to improve lives by providing a chance to experience competitive team sports that would otherwise be out of reach financially for many families.

DSAL’s soccer program, which includes a competitive Sheriffs Fútbol Club, provides more than 1,800 kids with the opportunity to experience high caliber coaching and competitive play. Some of the teams have been participating in US Club Soccer tournaments and have demonstrated that they can compete with top teams in Northern California.

We caught up recently with one of DSAL’s soccer coaches, Ricky Salazar, to learn more about DSAL’s soccer methodology.

Ricky has been coaching with the Deputy Sheriffs’ Activities League for three and a half years, and he has been a soccer coach for seven years. He started out as a volunteer with DSAL, first helping with afterschool programming, and then helping run the recreational program on Saturdays and Sundays. Eventually, Nick Lusson, DSAL’s Athletic Director, asked Ricky if he wanted a job, and that’s how he joined the coaching team.

DSAL’s soccer programs are unique not only because they are part of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Community Capitals Policing initiative to overturn decades of disinvestment and improve public safety in the Ashland and Cherryland communities, but also because of their style of play.

“In our style of positional play, we help the kids learn where to be on the field using what we call a global method where we train technical, tactical, psychological, and social aspects of the game all at the same time,” said Salazar. “A lot of clubs break the components down and train them separately, whereas we think teaching kids how to have all four corners during all moments of the game helps them to be self-sufficient. Our goal is to have our players be reliant on themselves and their teammates.”