Coach Spotlight ft. Manny Plascencia

A new series where we feature our club coaches and take an in-depth look at their style of play, outlook on developing players and their goals for their teams this season. Through this series, you can take a closer look at the top-tier coaches who are focused on developing your athlete year round.

Manny Plascencia

This week, we focus on Girls coach Manny Plascencia who’s been with the club for nearly 10 years - since the Spring of 2010. Manny has received his National D License.


G11 FC I G11 Gold I G09 FC



The Interview

Manny, what goals do you have for your teams this season?

Girls 2011 Gold: “They are currently a flight 2 level team and the goal for them is to be ready to compete in flight 1 next Fall. We have a solid group of girls that have made tremendous progress, so I expect them to reach their goal."

Girls 2011 FC: The goal for this team is to be one of the best teams in the age group and to do so by outworking and outplaying our opponents. Results at this age can be misleading as one player can dominate when they are this young. If we compete by defending as a unit and attacking as a unit, this team will be difficult to beat. 

Girls 2009 FC: The goal for this team is to win every event that they compete in because they are capable of it. While this is a difficult task, I am working to create a championship culture among these girls and will demand their best effort every time they step on the field. They have not disappointed.”

What is your approach to developing players?

“I believe players grow and progress when they are in an environment that creates competition, discipline and fun. There needs to be a balance between holding players accountable and allowing them to express themselves as players and people.

I am a huge believer in creating good habits by focusing on the details. The difference between a good player and a great player is all in the details. Great players are willing to make the extra effort or are able to play a ball with the correct weight, on the correct foot or into the correct space. My goal is to help players understand the importance of the small details that make a big difference in this sport.

 My focus for the younger players is to help them establish a technical foundation that allows them to pass, receive, dribble, shoot and defend correctly. If a young player is able to execute the previous skills correctly then he or she will set up for future success as a player.”

Is there a coach, professional or local, that you see as a role model or inspiration?

“There are many coaches that I look up to and have learned from throughout my time as a player and a coach but the one that has had the biggest influence on me is my former coach at Mt. San Antonio College, Juan Sanchez. The thing that I admire most about Juan is his ability to create a winning culture in his program.

While I learned a lot as far as tactics and understanding the game in my time as a player there, the one thing that resonates most with me is the desire to embrace difficult moments in order to overcome them. The idea that tough games, or practices are to be looked forward to rather than feared is something that has helped me on and off the field and is something that I look to instill into my teams.
— Manny Plascencia

As for professional coaches, I am a huge admirer of Diego Simeone. The ability that he has to get his players to buy in to what he wants from them is amazing. I don’t know that I have ever seen a team that works as hard and are as selfless as the teams he has had over the past few years.”

What is your preferred system or style of play?

“I don’t believe this game offers any absolutes so I don’t have a set system of play for any of my teams. I do demand that my teams outwork their opponents and play with confidence. Any team that has those two attributes is always going to give themselves a chance to be successful. I truly enjoy watching my teams play when they are attacking with a purpose and defending with urgency to recover the ball. I do believe that attacking with numbers is the best way to foster success in the long run. I try to have teams that can pass the ball around their opponents when they need to but also have individuals that can show moments of brilliance when it is necessary. 

The most common formations that I use are as follows:

7v7: 1-3-1-2 I 9v9: 1-3-2-3 I 11v11: 1-4-3-3”

What is your approach to playing different positions?

“I believe players should understand and play multiple positions throughout their youth careers. The ability to play and understand multiple positions will only benefit a player because it will allow them to know what their teammates or opponents next move should be. This will in turn allow the player to think two or three steps ahead and make more effective decisions on and off the ball. A defender should try to understand what a forward is trying to do and vice versa in order to win their battle.”

What team building activities do you like?

“I don’t have any ‘go to’ team building activities but anything that gets my players together outside of soccer is great. I like my teams to be friends off the field because it creates a tighter bond when they are fighting for each other on the field.”

If you had to pick one professional player for your athletes to study/watch highlights, who would it be?


Edwin Torres