HELSINKI -- Giuseppe “Joe” Funicello, owner and director of SoccerViza, is on the verge of joining an elite group of coaches by taking his second step towards obtaining his UEFA Professional Coaching License (presented by the Finnish Football Federation).
“My goal is to coach professionally,” Funicello said. “I’d also like SoccerViza to own a professional club and getting this license is necessary. I want an environment where our youth players have an opportunity to demonstrate what they have on a bigger stage.”
Having already coached professionally in 2016 for Vestri FC (Iceland), Funicello has the experience under his name. After finishing fourth in their league, extensions were being presented, however, the Norwalk-native flew back home expecting to grow his company – SoccerViza.
From the U.S.A to Finland:
To obtain his Professional Coaching License, Funicello needs to successfully complete three different coaching segments.
In April, before his first trip, Funicello and the rest of the family at the SoccerViza headquarters were preparing for a record-breaking number of players that were soon to be at tryouts throughout the month of May. Leaving for Finland only meant that Funicello had to trust the rest of the SV family to properly finalize what was left on the agendas.
On April 25, Funicello began his quest arriving in Helsinki, Finland, for his first of three coaching segments.
“You’re always a little nervous doing something new, but I was also excited.” Funicello said. “Even for our youth programs, this license is valuable because it’s continued education.”
After arrival, Funicello was in full attendance for his coaching courses, however, he was constantly in contact with the necessary people to ensure responsibilities and deadlines were met at the SV headquarters. Although days were long, due to time differences, Funicello said he was more than ready to learn.
“It was very enjoyable,” Funicello said. “Trip 1 focused on the physical aspect of the game for example: how muscles work and how the body moves. They taught us that in Europe you train movements and not muscles.”
Funicello said he also noticed a different mentality and energy among European coaches as opposed to the coaches in the United States.
“Here in the U.S. the coaching is more like you’re a drill sergeant. They tell you to ‘do this and do that.’ In Europe, they want to know your knowledge of the game, why you coach a certain way, and why you make certain decisions. They ask you questions like ‘What do you think of a 4-3-3?’ and ‘Why wouldn’t this work?’. In Europe they want to see and test your opinion and knowledge of the game. It was very cool.”
After completing his first segment of the Professional Coaching License, on April 30, Joe Funicello came back to an occupied schedule for the month of May.
Tryouts were about to commence and so was the planning for SVFC’s Memorial Day tournaments. Additionally, SoccerViza’s upcoming professional combine in Toronto, Canada, was rapidly gaining attention.
Among all important dates there was one that had Funicello’s attention – May 16.
On that date, Funicello departed for Finland, once again, for his second of three segments to obtain his Professional Coaching License. Funicello said he was excited for the next segment in his coaching course because this time he was going to work with Finland’s youth national teams (boys and girls).
“Trip 2 was more about coaching, “Funicello said. “They evaluated your on-field presence and you were required to demonstrate how well you can execute a session based on a given topic.”
The ex-coach for Vestri FC said although he’s seen most of any given situation, he still learned something new.
“I knew there were different roles under the head coach, but I learned there are more staff members than I thought. Teams have a staff member for every little thing. Equipment, statistics, data analysts, scouts, and more.”
Building connections and having a relationship with soon-to-be professional coaches was also fun according to Funicello.
After coming back on May 21, Funicello jumped back into tryouts and continued to prepare for the Toronto combine.
“There’s a third segment I have yet to complete,” Funicello said. “For the third portion, the Finnish Football Federation will come to the U.S and evaluate me for a week in practice and games.”