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Manteca FC teams continue practicing via Zoom
MFC remote training
Manteca FC Rebels 05 coach James Burns meets with players via the Zoom video-conferencing app. - photo by Contributed

The Manteca FC Courage 08 and Rebels Red 05 soccer teams are staying ahead of the game as Californians continue sheltering in place.

Most of the players are enrolled at Manteca Unified schools and “returned” to class from a distance on Monday, but they are already accustomed to receiving instruction remotely at this point. 

That's because they've been meeting multiple times per week via the Zoom video-conferencing app.

Courage coach Jay Mamorno looked for ways to continue training his players after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the statewide

MFC remote training
Jolie Baker of the Manteca FC Courage 08 works on her foot skills in front of a laptop as coach Jay Mamorno watches remotely via Zoom. - photo by Contributed
shelter-in place order on March 19. He formulated a plan to do so with live and recorded videos and shared the idea with Burns, coach of the Rebels.

Both teams are going into their third week of distance training. 

“It has been a really good way to keep me connected with the players,” Mamorno said. “It's a way for me to make sure they're still getting touches on the ball and doing some of our workouts correctly. It's also a great way to keep the team as a team. It gives them a chance to talk to each other and socialize and just be together as a team again.”

Each session lasts roughly an hour and consists of individual ball-control drills and core-strength training. Players are also given weekly assignments to perform cardio workouts on their own.

Mamorno said he'll soon incorporate more tactics-based sessions with a whiteboard and bring in guest trainers for Zoom conferences. Burns supplements training with minute-long tutorials uploaded to YouTube.  

“Development, especially at younger age groups, is so critical with this much time away from the field,” Mamorno said. “Obviously, this is something we have never dealt with before. We went from being on the field three days a week every week for an entire year to this.

“Our team motto right now is 'One Step Ahead.' We want to make sure we're a team that constantly works, and the girls bought in. They definitely love doing this.”

Players and coaches wanted to continue building off their success of the past year, even if they are unable to compete together again for the remainder of the spring season. Both teams have earned their stripes competing within the NorCal National Premier League structure. Burns' Rebels Red are currently ninth nationally and second in Northern California in the under-15 boys rankings.

"We have climbed this high because we want to outwork every team in our age group," Burns said. "That doesn't stop now just because we're on shelter-in-place orders. We've just found different ways to further our development.

"I'm proud of the boys' commitment. The easy thing would be to pull up stakes and call it a lost cause, but we beleive better days are ahead. And when they come, we'll be ready."