Soccer News: Carli Lloyd and James Galanis Join Coaching Staff
Last month, the Medford Strikers Soccer Club announced the addition of Carli Lloyd, a current member of the U.S. Women’s National team, two-time Olympic gold medalist and midfielder of the Houston Dash. A Strikers player in her youth, Lloyd is joining the coaching staff as the Mental Toughness Coach.
The Medford Strikers Soccer Club is a premier non-profit organization in South Jersey dedicated to producing elite soccer players and teaching members the life skills they need to excel in life after soccer. The Strikers serve over 125 players from age 7 to 18 from South Jersey, Central Jersey and the Philadelphia suburbs.
For more than 25 years, the Strikers have helped thousands of young aspiring soccer players go on to play at the collegiate level and beyond. The club has won 22 State Cup championships and continues to play at the national level.
SoccerToday had the chance to connect with Lloyd, currently competing in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and James Galanis, the club’s technical director and Lloyd’s long-term coach and mentor.
Diane Scavuzzo: How did you get started playing soccer and when did you know it would play a key role in your life?
Carli Lloyd: I started playing when I was 5 years old. My parents took me to the local team and I fell in love with soccer immediately. At 13 is when I realized how much I loved playing soccer. I gave up other sports and focused just on soccer.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are some of the ways you manage the intense pressure of being a high profile player and viewed as a ‘leader’ of the USWNT?
Carli Lloyd: I spend a lot of time focusing on myself. I don’t read what is written on forums, blogs and social media. I just make sure I’m improving daily and ready to play my next game. As a veteran I make sure that the young players that come into the WNT feel comfortable and I always try to give them advice. I feel it’s very important to help the next generation.
Diane Scavuzzo: Can you describe a hard life lesson you’ve learned from the game?
Carli Lloyd: You have to put in time on your own. Relying on your club coach or training with your team is not enough.
Diane Scavuzzo: With so many opportunities available to you, why did you choose to return to the Strikers to offer your expertise?
Carli Lloyd: I have always trained at the Medford Strikers. For the last 12 years the Medford Strikers has allowed me to train on their fields and train with their teams. The training I have received while training with their teams has helped my throughout my professional career. Joining the coaching staff and becoming a Mental Toughness coach for all their players is an honor. I am hoping to inspire and help the Medford Strikers players go on and become great soccer players and people.
Diane Scavuzzo: How did the USYS ODP program help you when you were a youth player?
Carli Lloyd: ODP was great. It gave me the opportunity to play with and against other high-level soccer players. The level of competition was high and it helped me improve my game. Definitely a great experience!
Diane Scavuzzo: Where do you keep your Olympic goal medals?
Carli Lloyd: My medals are locked away in a safe place.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is the philosophy of your club?
James Galanis: Medford Strikers is a small club that specializes in developing players that can go on and play at the highest level. Patiently we build players that are capable of playing college soccer and beyond. Our club has a unique training curriculum called the Team Development Program that is broken up into 3 progressive programs. The Junior, Youth and Senior programs. In the Junior program our teams focus is building the basic skills through skill and 1 v 1 activities designed to build a solid foundation of skill. In the Youth phase our teams focus on skills in motion and basic tactical concepts and in our Senior phase our teams focus on tactical awareness, physical power and mental toughness.
Diane Scavuzzo: How, if at all, have your programs changed over the past decade?
James Galanis: I became Technical Director in 2006. I immediately changed the philosophy of the club by introducing the Team Development Program. Our teams work under one curriculum and train at the same time. This allows our teams to work together and help each other improve. Training together and under one curriculum has also created a family like environment throughout the club.
Diane Scavuzzo: In your experience, what recommendations do you have for parents of youth soccer players?
James Galanis: Be supportive of any type of performance your child has. Every time your child plays there are positives and negatives that come out of each performance. Find these positives and negatives and uses them as a tool to make your child into a better soccer player and person.
Diane Scavuzzo: How does your club differentiate between rec and travel soccer?
James Galanis: All our players are fully committed to soccer. They have identified that soccer is their favorite sport and treat it is their favorite sport. Our coaches are all professionals and all our players and teams seek to play at the highest level.
Visit NJYouthSoccer.com to learn more about the organization’s recreation, travel, Olympic Development (ODP) and community service programs.