Recently, our new Upper School and sports cinematographer Geff Olinda caught up with SIMA Coach Eduardo Adrian Frisicaro and learned about where his love of soccer started, his goals for the SIMA program, and why he loves being an Eagle! Check out the interview below!
My entire life I have been interested in the business side of the soccer industry. In 2005 I was given the opportunity to lead REHD, an organization dedicated to soccer player formation. I was given this opportunity because of my ability to scout young talent and manage companies. REHD is now a program for soccer development, which is used today by many teams and organizations all over Latin America and has the support of Leo Messi – one of the best soccer players in the world.
How did growing up in Cordoba, Argentina spark your passion for the sport?
As you may know, Argentina is a country that loves soccer! No one can escape from soccer in Argentina. What motivated me the most was to see so many talented youngsters not having the opportunity to show off their soccer talent. I was determined to create economic and athletic opportunities for them and groom the next Maradona [another well-known soccer player]. With the support of great names in the soccer industry such as Guillermo Hoyos and Jorge Messi (Leo Messi’s father) we were able to achieve many milestones in the industry.
Why Montverde Academy?
Simply put, it is the best soccer development program in the United States and we understand the importance of investing in players both academically and athletically.
What have you brought in the program since you have arrived here?
I was able to bring players with tremendous ability to play which have been critical in winning tournaments such as MAST in 2016, which was a great success for me and the entire club.
Where do you see the SIMA program in 5 years?
I see it as the cradle of the best players in the United States and it’s a place where if we keep on working hard, we will produce players for the US National team.
What are the benefits of having a good relationship with the players you coach and the staff that is directly and indirectly involved in the program?
It’s always important to get along with everyone. My philosophy has always been that each person has a role in a club, no one is more important the other. If we all do our respective job well, then the entire club will win.
How do you plan to emulate the soccer passion and atmosphere experienced in Argentina and South America and how do you believe soccer can become a bigger and more popular sport here in the states?
I believe that soccer can become a favorite sport in the US by working on two things:
Grooming good players at young age and creating a favorable culture for soccer to thrive by organizing important tournaments here on US soil. In this past year I have had the opportunity to do both and we have reached an impressive milestone. We’ve began this work by organizing two tournaments, the Continental Challenge Cup and the EuroAmerican Challenge Cup that welcomed to Orlando three of the best teams in Europe and Latin America (Sevilla F.C., River Plate, Independiente Santa Fe). I lead both tournaments with the sponsorship of La Liga and Torneos, these tournaments were historic because aside from the Copa America Centenario, the last international soccer tournament played in American territory was the 1994 World Cup. More of these types of events are necessary in order to create passion for soccer. And the other element is to build players the way that we have been doing here at SIMA, combining the speed and work ethic American players are known for with the European tactics that I have been able to implement here at SIMA.
Is there a particular player that you have coached or managed that stands out and followed up on having a professional career?
Many players that I have managed have reached the big leagues. I was there when Leo Messi was beginning his career. I played a critical role in promoting his image when he was just beginning. There’s also Alex Rodriguez from A.C. Cesena which today plays at Sampdoria, as well as Derlis David Meza Colli which has signed a very important contract at Cerro Porteno which plays the Libertadores Cup. I discovered these players when they were 17 years old.
Throughout your career, what coach or player had an impact on you, not only in the field, but in the outside life?
In my case, it was neither a player nor a coach, I believe that Jorge Messi, Leo Messi’s father, was always a tremendous support for me. He opened many doors and taught me a lot.
Talk to me about your experience at Jacksonville Armada (a soccer club in Jacksonville). What did you accomplish while there?
I loved working with the Armada. It was the first time that I put my knowledge to test in the United States and we had a lot of success. It was very pleasant to build an organization from the ground up. I signed very good players and was able to play an important role in the hiring structure of a new club.
How did you know Messi? What was your relationship to him?
I was there when he began in the Barcelona B youth team, I managed the coaching staff. Later on I was able to lead REDH as Executive Manager which Leo is a sponsor of. I also lead the Leo Messi Foundation which does work worldwide.
What’s the reaction of people and players when you have pictures with renowned players and coaches that are known in the international level?
Well, some of them admire that in such a short time I was able to influence so many important players and clubs. When one does a good job, he’s referred to others, and this way I have been able to get to the top of the soccer industry.
What is your mentality within soccer and life?
Don’t judge a book by its cover, many thought that Messi was too ill as a child to be a good player (Messi had a growth hormone deficiency problem). Also, don’t think that your dreams are unreachable. There are many players that I have managed that no one would take a second look at but today they are in the big leagues.
How important is to start teaching soccer techniques and values as sportsmanship and teamwork to players as young as possible?
Soccer is a team sport. Teams that have great success are those that understand how to have a good team flow. A great example of this is Germany.
What is your advice for a player/coach that is just beginning their soccer career?
Be patient, invest time in studying the art of soccer and ask a lot of questions to those that know more.
What are your plans for the future?
I hope to continue to be an important part of the SIMA program here at Montverde Academy and to foster the growth of soccer here in the US.