Pro Soccer Player Brian Farber on SKLZ Goalshot
Brian Farber, the midfielder whose sixth season with the San Diego Sockers just ended. This former League MVP is also the designer for SKLZ’s line of soccer products and has established himself as a successful business person. What are this thoughts on training to be the best you can be and how soccer has changed since he first started play? And, what does a pro midfielder have to do with training products? We wanted to know!
“Great scorers have the ability to focus their vision on a small target and hit it through a crowd, under pressure and with one or multiple defenders on them. The Goalshot helps players easily identify the places on the goal where they have the greatest chances of scoring, giving players the reps they need to build the muscle memory and visualization that increase their scoring percentages,” says Brian Farber, the midfielder whose sixth season with the San Diego Sockers just ended. This former League MVP is also the designer for SKLZ‘s line of soccer products and has established himself as a successful business person.
Diane Scavuzzo: Goalshot is a cool product, but first, when did you start playing soccer?
Brian Farber: When I was four years old I played recreational soccer in a small town called Sandpoint, Idaho. Eventually I joined the Sandpoint Strikers playing U12 as a nine year old.
Diane Scavuzzo: Where have you played professional soccer?
Brian Farber: I have been playing professionally for 12 years. After finishing school at Oregon State, I walked onto the California Cougars of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL).
I ultimately finished with the most goals and points in franchise history and earned a league MVP in 2009.
Diane Scavuzzo: Do you coach youth soccer?
Brian Farber: I love to coach, but with my full time position running the SKLZ global soccer line it’s difficult to commit to a team all year. I have partnered with some of the San Diego Sockers players to create an soccer training program in Encinitas called Next Level Footballers Academy. It is a way for me to coach on the weekends and adjust my schedule when I am traveling for work. It is also a great way to test products in development and see what the kids think of the ideas, which is key since they are the target market.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is your coaching philosophy?
Brian Farber: That’s a good question, if I were running a team my answer would be more tactical focused but — coaching in our academy and building products that don’t currently exist to help players improve — changes my thinking.
My coaching philosophy is focused on each player’s weaknesses. The reason they get overlooked in tryouts and the reason they don’t feel confident, and helping build those weaknesses up to become strengths and not something to hide from.
I have seen first hand how a player who develops their weak foot just a little can become a more confident and a complete player in a few sessions, — or, working with a particular product for a few days. I love to see players advance and become more confident in themselves.
Diane Scavuzzo: What makes a coach successful?
Brian Farber: Maybe it’s the psychology major in me but I would say a coach who understands their players well is what normally leads to a successful coach.
Every athlete is different and they all learn differently. If you can recognize what motivates your players then you will always get their best effort and that’s never a bad thing.
I have had amazing coaches in my career and those who connected with their players had the whole locker room on their side ready for battle each game.
Diane Scavuzzo: How has soccer changed since you first stated playing?
Brian Farber: Tons, I used to play full field 11v11 on a huge field and there were only dads for coaches. Now every soccer club has former professional players and licensed coaches who can teach players. Back when was a youth soccer player, we just ran around and kicked the ball and hoped it went in. I don’t think I had a coach who actually had played the game until I was in college.
Diane Scavuzzo: How does your Goalshot help train soccer players? What makes it different than other training tools that emphasize shooting at the corners of the next? Or just hanging up something on the net to aim at?
Brian Farber: The Goalshot is the first product to teach composure in front of the goal as well as focus on the scoring zones that will significantly improve their chance to score. The size and shape of the scoring zones are backed by data from a top league in the world. Every shot, save and goal was tracked where it scored and that created the shape of the net and size of the scoring zones.
That’s a small glimpse of how we think about the athletes needs. Using the Goalshot vs. placing a red training vest or something in the goal is simple. Right now, if you train with a training vest you are looking at something that wont be there in a game. If you train with a Goalshot you quickly develop the skill to look at the top and bottom corners of the goals and not a random object placed in there.
Once you find yourself in front of the goal in a game without the Goalshot you will quickly focus on the scoring zones that you have trained to find all week and increase your chance to score by four times in some situations.
Goalshot also teaches you to not look at the keeper, which is a common mistake with youth soccer players. The Goalshot will change the way goal-scores shoot and they will become better finishers.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is the Goalshot challenge?
Brian Farber: The game that SKLZ is launching called the Clockwork Finishing Challenge was created one day by Matt Clare and myself. We became addicted to the game and knew it would be the same for every other soccer player who sees it. It is simple – just shoot and get the ball into the corner openings of the Goalshot in the specific rotation — with all 15 balls, or as many as you can. Try it. It is a lot of fun.
Diane Scavuzzo: Is soccer growing in the USA?
Brian Farber: Soccer is rapidly growing in every market. The number of high level youth soccer clubs and academies are helping to create more soccer fans. MLS has plans of expanding to 28 teams in the near future and all of this is good for the game. The new futsal league – the FPL – is big, the indoor league has become more organized and is doing well.
Diane Scavuzzo: What makes a player successful?
Brian Farber: If a player can learn and adjust their game then they will always have an opportunity to advance.
Diane Scavuzzo: If you could pick any superpower, what would it be and why?
Brian Farber: Easy, I want to able to fly like Superman.
Diane Scavuzzo: Who is your favorite soccer team? Who do you root for behind closed doors?
Brian Farber: Besides the obvious teams like the U.S. National Teams and Portland Timbers, I root for Barcelona and Arsenal. This year I am rooting for Leicester City because it’s an amazing story and I don’t want the Spurs to win.
Diane Scavuzzo: Who was your greatest role model or mentor?
Brian Farber: I have had many great coaches and role models in my career and they have all impacted my style of coaching but one coach in particular was super impactful. Bill Eisenwinter was my club coach and later became my college coach. Eisenwinter was a father figure during a time when I had two losses in my family. I pulled back my verbal commitment and passed on Div 1 soccer to play for him at a junior college closer to my family. The decision worked well and he helped me earn a scholarship to Oregon State. I would not change my decision for the world. A couple months after I went to Oregon State, Bill was killed in a car accident on the way to state cup and I have a tattoo of his initials on my foot to never forget him. It is amazing how much I remember his lessons to this day.