ASC-San Diego’s Head Coach Ziggy Korytoski on Soccer in America’s Finest City
The 2019 NPSL Season will kick off next month and ASC San Diego will be ready. With the goal of bringing home the NPSL Championship to their city, ASC San Diego players are up early, training already with head coach Ziggy Korytoski. In addition to the team’s commitment to the San Diego community, and desire to field an exceptional team, this year ASC San Diego is one of 11 teams selected to compete in the new NPSL Founders Cup.
ASC San Diego’s Head Coach Ziggy Korytoski is building his team, preparing them to earn the NPSL championship this year. Dedicated to playing for San Diego, America’s Finest City, ASC San Diego has consistently thrilled fans with its drive, talent, and passion for soccer. Korytoski has just re-signed for a fourth season as head coach.
Noah Gins, CEO / Executive Director of Southern California’s Albion Soccer Club and NPSL’s ASC San Diego has worked strategically and with precision to develop the NPSL team and to build a successful youth-to-pro pyramid in San Diego.
This year, the NPSL has launched the Founders Cup. Highly competitive, the Founders Cup starts in the East Region on August 10, and in the West Region on August 24. The 11 founding members of the include ASC San Diego, Cal FC, California United Strikers FC, Chattanooga FC, Detroit City FC, FC Arizona, Miami FC, Miami United FC, Milwaukee Torrent, New York Cosmos, and Oakland Roots. The NPSL will also be launching a new league kicking off in 2020 which will feature its top teams.
SoccerToday Interview with ASC San Diego’s Head Coach Ziggy Korytoski
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you think about the new NPSL tournament, the Founder’s Cup?
Ziggy Korytoski: I think it’s an absolutely incredible venture that the 11 founding members are a part of. It adds a new level of competition to the NPSL. I think NPSL is working hard to improve the game in the USA — between Rocco B. Commisso and Riccardo Silva, the support and the vision that they have — it’s exactly what U.S. soccer needs.
Diane Scavuzzo: How competitive do you think the first Founder’s Cup will be?
Ziggy Korytoski: I think that it will be highly competitive and be great for the fans. I think that the 11 teams competing have some really quality players and that’s a big piece of it.
Diane Scavuzzo: With the landscape always changing, how do you compare the NPSL and USL for the upcoming season?
Ziggy Korytoski: The profile of a USL team usually has a younger player. There is a split in USL teams between the MLS affiliated teams and the independently owned teams and that impacts the league.
I think that the Founder’s Cup could very easily become the beginning of new second division soccer.
Outside of Louisville, Arizona, and a few other areas, attendance numbers in the USL are relatively low. To be honest, I am not sure who is really hitting the numbers required by U.S. Soccer for Division II status.
Diane Scavuzzo: How many fans do you expect to come out to ASC – San Diego games this season?
Ziggy Korytoski: In past seasons, we have averaged around 2000 fans per home game and I think we’re going to see 3,000 to 4,000 a game when we get into the Founder’s Cup. Our fans are very important to us and really for cheer ACS San Diego.
Diane Scavuzzo: How are you preparing ASC – San Diego for the upcoming NPSL season? What are you focused on when you’re training your guys early in the morning?
Ziggy Korytoski: Right now, it’s a lot of team building because with the current makeup of the NPSL league, you’re kind of re-creating yourself every year. Each year, we start off with new players that we welcome to the team and introduce to them to our attacking and defensive objectives, our style of play. We define our identity and instill our culture each and every day.
And, as you know, because we talk about it all the time … we play for each other,
We play for San Diego and we play to be champions.
Diane Scavuzzo: How would you describe your style of play?
Ziggy Korytoski: We look to be possession-oriented, attack-minded, we work on creating numerical advantages around the field and look to unbalance the opponent. We want to be disciplined or patient on the ball and intelligent with our decision making. Defensively, we want to recover the ball in certain areas of the field that make the opponent uncomfortable with the loss of possession. We want to be entertaining.
Diane Scavuzzo: How does ASC San Diego work with Albion Youth Soccer Club? How does it all fit together?
Ziggy Korytoski: ASC- San Diego is the top of our player pyramid. It’s the pathway to pro.
We have players, whether within our DA teams or just a part of Albion SC who have the ability to be around our ASC San Diego players on a weekly basis. They get an inside look at a high-level game and can interact with our players, learn from our players with access to pregame talks and tactics as well as the ability to watch how high-level players train.
We integrate our most talented youth players into ASC San Diego.
We want our youth players to be a part of this program, a part of the process. We have 15 years old and 16 years old youth players who are training and playing with the men. Our Albion SC players are given the opportunity, experience and the knowledge of working with our NPSL team and this a valuable experience that they’re not going to pick up, even in the DA.
Diane Scavuzzo: How much do you think San Diego loves soccer?
Ziggy Korytoski: I think San Diego is a huge soccer town.
I think that the one thing that people go to is a winner and I think it’s pretty clear that we’re a winning culture. Noah’s done a tremendous job of laying the foundation over the years.
We’ve had great success.
We’ve had 3,000 people cheering in the stands for us. We’ve won the league two out of three years. We’ve played in a U.S. Open Cup. We’re proud of what we have accomplished and determined to do more but I think our winning soccer culture is a big draw at the end of the day.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are your goals for this season?
Ziggy Korytoski: The immediate goal is to build the foundation of the Founder’s Cup throughout the NPSL.
We want to qualify for the U.S. Open Cup this season and we want to win that national championship.
Then, as we get into the Founder’s Cup, we want to go out from the very beginning and be the top team in the league.
We want ASC San Diego to set the standard.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you like best about coaching your team?
Ziggy Korytoski: I love to teach. I love the ability to go out there and work with players and get them to buy into a certain vision, a certain style, a certain identity … being a part of something that’s bigger than themselves and see it all come together.
There are thousands of ways to play the game of soccer, but as a coach, you have a vision and ultimately the challenge is can you get players to buy in so that your vision becomes the reality?
Diane Scavuzzo: Are you still looking for more players? If there’s a really talented player out there, do you have room on your roster?
Ziggy Korytoski: We are always looking for players.
We got a lot of calls always. Recently, during the winter’s Arctic Blast that came through the Midwest and the Northeast, players were calling from all across the country. I think that a lot of players recognize that San Diego’s a very special place to be training and to play.
For us, it is all about if they have the talent to represent our city.
Credit Photo Michelle & Keith Dereld, other images Diane Scavuzzo