Phil Salvagio Head Coach / Owner of the San Diego Sockers
SoccerToday SOCCER NEWS INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVE
The San Diego Sockers are America’s Finest City’s professional soccer team and play fast-paced indoor soccer at the Valley View Casino Center — great for sports fans and families alike, going to a Sockers game is a great night of entertainment. And, for youth soccer players, watching the Sockers pass the ball, score goals and defend their quest for their 15th National Championship is not only fun, it is a great learning experience.
Soccer News: For the 2017/18 Major Arena Soccer League season, SoccerToday will be bringing you all the best in soccer coverage of the San Diego Sockers.
Our exclusive interview series will bring you inside the minds of players, coaches, and management, as the Sockers begin the hunt for their 15th championship. Next, in the series is San Diego Sockers’, Head Coach Phil Salvagio.
The Sockers are on a 7- game winning streak and are enjoying a great start to the regular 2017/18 MASL season.
Diane Scavuzzo: How would you describe the season so far?
Phil Salvagio: Excellent — the season is great, we have won 7 games straight. We have won some one-goal games, which shows we have the character to win the tough games. I am especially proud of my goalies — and we have not even played at our best yet.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is the team chemistry like this year?
Phil Salvagio: This is probably the best Sockers’ team — from day one.
“The fun is back.”
The players are a group that like each other and that is important when it gets rough and a tight team makes a difference. We are all sticking together and we will do whatever we need to do to win.
Diane Scavuzzo: What gets you up in the morning?
Phil Salvagio: I love this game. I love the locker room.
Diane Scavuzzo: What does it take to win?
Phil Salvagio: Having a good goal scorer and great goalkeeper — and these are hard to come by, but if you do — you have a winning combination.
Diane Scavuzzo: The Sockers have a reserve team, Sockers 2. This is the official development team and they play in the MASL 2 Developmental League. You have been giving players from the development team opportunities to play with the first team ….
Phil Salvagio: Yes, the Sockers 2 players are getting shots to play and with 8 games in January, we will provide a few more changes.
We are committed to developing players. If you can develop your own players who play in your style — it is great.
This is a great experience for these players – it takes about 40 or 50 games before you actually ‘get it’ and understand the full impact of being an indoor player.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you mean by ‘Get It’?
Phil Salvagio: It takes time playing in the game to learn when to take advantage of changes, when to sit back and how to read the game — what plays we are playing.
You are not just an athlete and good soccer player. An experienced player puts the time into knowing who he is going to play against. If your right leg is dominant, then the opposition is going to be standing on your right foot all night, You have to recognize the opposition is reading you and you have to be able to change your style of play.
Diane Scavuzzo: When you were a professional goalkeeper for the Sockers, did you imagine that one day you would own the soccer team?
Phil Salvagio: It was always a dream — A dream that has come true.
Diane Scavuzzo: How do you describe yourself as a coach?
Phil Salvagio: I am a nice person off the field but on the field, well, let’s just say I am really two different people. I judge a player by their ability and if you don’t reach that level, we have issues.
Diane Scavuzzo: How do you motivate your players?
Phil Salvagio: I don’t. These are professionals — it is their job to play.
Diane Scavuzzo: Who are your mentors?
Phil Salvagio: Brian Quinn — I love his intensity and his training. He is very demanding and it is his way or no way — he was very hard.
Ron Newman is another mentor. He let the players’ play. If you didn’t play well, you were not here.
Diane Scavuzzo: As a businessman and the head coach/owner of the Sockers, this must be an extremely busy time for you …
Phil Salvagio: It is a lot of hours. Basically, I am never home from October through March between the insurance company and Sockers, it is all day and all night.
Diane Scavuzzo: The Sockers are the only professional soccer team in San Diego. What do you think about the possibility of an MLS team coming to America’s Finest City?
Phil Salvagio: It could be beneficial or it could hurt us. The MLS and the MASL play opposite seasons, so if we worked together, we could give sports fans a chance to be soccer fans all year long. If we shared the younger players, it would be excellent for both of us.
For San Diego Sockers ticket information, please visit the Sockers‘ website.