July-August 2016


By | July-August 2016 | No Comments

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Plaza sports teams have the best fans.  Academy players’ family and friends keep spirits up with their cheerleading. It’s common to see signs and pride t-shirts with players’ names.

PARENTS: next time you bring your favorite soccer player to Plaza for their practice or a game, bring a sign or noisemaker and let them know you’re proud of their hard work on the field!


By | July-August 2016 | No Comments

Reach a new level of fitness by training like a soccer player 


Now, you can train like a soccer player to unlock your own cardiovascular and muscular potential! A soccer player’s fitness is the result of a carefully planned training regimen that Plaza Sports Center has modified to be attainable to any individual. You can train the way pro athletes do and see great results in your health and physique even if you’ve never touched a soccer ball in your life! “We do soccer drills, but we don’t teach you how to play soccer,” says SoccerFit coach Luis. Welcome to Plaza Sports Center‘s SoccerFit training program – your new favorite workout!


led by coach Luis and coach Christina Valdez means that you will be guided towards your fitness goals and the team spirit will keep you motivated – but coach Luis always finds a way to provide individualized attention. “We have people rotating at stations, so everyone gets a good workout,” he says. “We do use a soccer ball for some exercises, but the goal is weight-loss and toning without stressing the muscles. We do a lot of whole-body workouts, like pushups, crabwalk, bear crawl, squats, lunges.” These drills are routine to anyone who has played on a sports team, but the boot-camp style classes are welcoming to everyone from beginners to exercise to those already used to a higher level of intensity.


It won’t happen at SoccerFit. Everyone is encouraged to take charge of their workout and exercise at their own pace; just sit out if you need to take a break, catch your breath, and jump back in when you’re ready. “We start everybody off slow,” says coach Luis. “As we get older, if we haven’t done exercise in a long time, we forget how, so we show people how to run and exercise correctly.”

COACH LUIS HAS OVER 15 YEARS OF FITNESS EXPERIENCE, so he knows that SoccerFit is going to help you lose weight, get more condition-ing, strength, and improve your balance. “You’re working out your whole body,” explains coach Luis. “The number one thing people need is conditioning and cardiovascular training, which is the focus of SoccerFit.

THE SOCCERFIT GROUP WORKOUT holds a similar philosophy to cross-fit, another recently popular exercise plan. However, cross-fit practitioners lift weight while they do a workout; be-ginners to exercise should not attempt to exert their muscles this way. “In cross-fit, you can
damage your body by doing too much repetition and too much weight. Your body gets tired, and you lose form. When you lose form, you can hurt yourself. You pull your back, knees, or shoulders – common injuries in crossfit,” says coach Luis.

PLAZA SPORTS CENTER’S SOCCERFIT CLASS IS A BETTER ALTERNATIVE; it is divided into conditioning, lower body, upper, and full body. The hour-long SoccerFit class does not utilize weights, instead relying on resistance from each individual’s’ own body, which greatly reduces the chance for an injury. He converts cross-fit enthusiasts after they experience the low-impact, highly-successful program at Plaza Sports Center, which takes place on covered artificial turf fields. Are you looking for a change? Try a free SoccerFit trial class today!

SPORTS CENTER COMPLEX REDUCES IMPACT ON KNEES EVEN FURTHER,and the cover provides shade that makes exercising quite comfortable, especially in the mornings and evenings when there is a nice breeze. Add the variety of music to which SoccerFit is set, and you have a rockin’ workout. “We have music depending on what we’re doing,” says Coach Christina. “Some people need more motivation for certain exercises. For example, if they struggle when doing legs, we’ll play some hard rock.  For cardiovascular exercises we go with fast paced tunes.”

IMPORTANT FACTORS IN THE SUCCESS RATE OF ANY EXERCISE REGIMEN can’t happen during the hour-long SoccerFit class, but Coach Luis does  what he can to make sure his trainees go home aware of what they need to do when they’re away: eat right. Each member of the SoccerFit training group gets help with nutrition, meal plans, and record-keeping. “We take measurements every few weeks; that keeps people motivated when they  see the changes,” says Coach Luis.

EVERYBODY WILL SEE RESULTS, BUT SOME ARE DRAMATIC. Coach Luis has already seen tremendous success with his trainees. He has seen one man drop six pounds in only four days! Another SoccerFit devotee lost 19 pounds in three weeks, but so far the record is 36 pounds shed in a month.
“We have classes all morning long (every hour from 5 a.m. until 10 a.m. ) so you can always make it,” says coach Luis. Classes are flexible, so even if you’re running late you can still get your workout in. And we just started an evening class at 7:30pm. No matter the hour, SoccerFit group attendees can count on the support of their coaches. They send group texts to encourage participation and is proud when a full class shows up to work hard. Luis and Christina are happy to share their expertise with the Rio Grande Valley through Plaza Sports Center’s SoccerFit classes.
“We care a lot about our people,” say coach Luis & Christina.

PERFECT FOR PLAZA MOMS Is your child participating in our summer soccer academy? SoccerFIT is perfect for you! Bring your young soccer player, and they can do their summer camp while you train to great music that keeps you energized. You can pick them up at the end of the day as usual – but your workout will already be complete!


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Little Toros is the perfect activity for kids

Plaza Sports Center offers classes for children as young as three years old. Since children at these ages are still learning to move quickly without falling, the focus of these practices is coordination. The littlest soccer players are not quite scoring goals or even connecting with the ball every time, but they are still developing control over their bodies that they will need before working their way up to learning technique. “We can’t teach the child to play soccer if they can’t stand on their own feet,” says Coach Ivan, who works with the smallest children. “First we have to learn to crawl before we walk and run on the field.”

Coaches play a vital role in teaching discipline in the sport, from making children do practices they don’t feel like doing to explaining why they’re now out of the game after a bad play. They will learn more than how to run or kick correctly at the  Plaza Sports Center. Soccer, and playing on a team, builds character.  “We are not just an  academy,” says Coach Chava, another children’s coach at Plaza Sports Center. “We are a center for athletic formation. Part of that is being a good sport.”

Academia y liga infantil

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El futbol no es cuestión de privilegios, sino de derechos. El futbol es el lenguaje universal de millones de personas en todo el mundo, incluidos niños, niñas y adolescentes, independien-temente de su lugar de origen, idioma que hablen o religión a la que pertenezcan. El futbol es el deporte más popular del mundo. En muchos lugares, como Europa y Sudamérica, el futbol es mucho más que un juego, es un estado de vida. Cada vez son más los niños que se apuntan a escuelas de futbol con el objetivo y el sueño de convertirse en un astro del llamado “deporte rey”. La afición es cada día mas grande y las niñas también están conquistando espacios en esta disciplina.

Nuestro centro de formación, RGV Toros, no busca tener equipos con jugadores de diferentes planteles ni mucho menos formar selecciones para competir. Nuestra idea es crear la necesidad que el jugador reciba no solo una formacion practica, si no tambien conceptual, de manera que el joven aprenda los fundamentos del deporte y entienda lo que hace y no acate simplemente la orden del entrenador. Esto cobrara en juego vital importacia ya que estara expuesto a situaciones que debera resolver rapida y eficazmente. Por lo tanto, deber-emos formar jugadores con capacidad de analisis, para leer rapidamente el juego y tomar la decision más acertada y después ejecutar tecnicamente en forma correcta.

Es así como cada jugador se va adaptando a nuestro estilo y va creando un Sistema de juego que desarrollan con el paso del tiempo. Es como si se encendiera un botón dentro de los jugadores al escuchar el silbato de un coach al igual que el del árbitro. Esto es lo que hace a nuestra academia única en el Valle, que nuestra intención si es ganar campeonatos, pero formando jugadores, para que lleguen a ser campeones dentro y fuera de las canchas. Si existe una clave para tener éxito en lo que se ha emprendi-do, esa se llama disciplina. Con ese principio fue creada nuestra liga infantil de futbol y así lo hemos mantenido en sus tres anos de operación. Se ve todo en nuestras ligas de futbol infantil que cada sábado y domingo enciende las emociones. Se siente la pasión y los sentimientos se ponen a flor de piel cada fin de semana al ver a estos Gigantes de las Canchas entrar por la puerta. Tenemos dos tipos de ligas, de un lado están las que incentivos a la competencia con el triunfo como único objetivo. Del otro, y avanzando con fuerza, apuntan a la formación mas allá de los resultados. Es el aprendizaje de habilidades donde los resultados llegan como consecuencia de un proceso, en el cual los compañeros y los rivales son amigos con los que se compite y también se comparten experiencias, errores, frustraciones y también ejemplos. Poco a poco se ha ido metalizando a los entrenadores y padres de familia que la disciplina no es solo llegar temprano, sino respetar a todos quienes están involucrados en la compe-tencia, incluidos sus rivales. Por lo general al final de cada juego se ensena que vencedores y vencidos deben estrecharse las manos porque lo que hubo fue juego de futbol y nada mas ya después todo vuelve a la normalidad. El futbol es un acontecimiento social, deportivo y cultural de dimensiones muy importantes en la vida de muchas sociedades. Así, para quitarle presiones a los chicos, el futbol infantil toma un rumbo con mas formación y educativa. Por eso te invitamos a nuestra Academia RGV Toros y formar parte de la familia en el mejor centro de formación del Valle de Texas. Si ya tienes tu equipo infantil inscríbelo a nuestras ligas de sábados y domingos. Siente la experiencia de jugar en las mejores instalaciones del Valle del Rio Grande, donde solo juegan los mejores!


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Coach Lindsay Vera is the newest addition to the Plaza Sports Center team of coaches, and she is dedicated to helping the RGV’s girls meet their fullest potential both on and off the field. “I think I was just born to play soccer,” says Coach Lindsay. 

The Houston, TX native has played soccer all her life. “It was one of the first sports I ever tried, and I was good at it. I didn’t know how to quit, so I haven’t!” After playing soc-cer with diligence through her childhood and high school, Lindsay played at North Carolina State University, a college division 1 ACC. “It is arguably one of the best conferences for college women’s soccer,” says Lindsay. She was named All-ACC for a third-straight season in 2008. At the time, Lindsay stood among the all-time great players in North Car-olina program history with 27 goals and 67 ca-reer points, according to the “gopack” online news blog. “She started all 20 games for the NC Wolfpack and converted three game-win-ning goals in 2008,” the blog reports. After college, Lindsay was drafted profes-sionally for a women’s professional soccer league in Boston. “They were only picking 70 players in the country, and I was one of them. I was the 43rd pick out of 70 to the Boston Breakers. I played with them and also New Jersey Sky Blue,” she says. Coach Lindsay’s experience is invaluable to the girls training with her at Plaza Sports Center because she has lived what many of them aspire to. Fun fact: Coach Lindsay was once the star of a bus wrap! Her photo was on the side of the bus that carried her college team to victo-ry after victory.

Girls of Soccer

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New soccer program at Plaza helps girls grow their skills.

Did you know that the first national women’s soccer league in the U.S. wasn’t established until 1995, or that women’s soccer wasn’t an Olympic event until 1996?  

We have come quite a way since then; the United States is now regard-ed as one of the top countries in the world for women’s soccer. The U.S. team won the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and more women and girls are showing an interest in playing soccer competitively. However, much like the beginnings of organized women’s soccer in the United States, opportunities for fe-male soccer players in the Rio Grande Valley are lagging behind what is typically offered for male players.
“There are individual teams for girls, and we see the great work and effort parents and coaches are doing as individuals,” says Alma Caso, CEO of Plaza Sports Center. “But it’s hard for girls to find teams of the same levels, and we want to help them play competitively.” Whether a league or intramural team, the first step for any soccer player is finding a group to play with that is at a level that loosely matches their own and shares a similar goal. For players who want to go as far as possible with their athletic careers, it is vital that they keep pushing them-selves to get better at the sport by training the right way and playing against challenging opponents. It may be hard for girls seeking chal-lenging competitors to meet them on the field if they aren’t part of a league.

beginners and less-competitive female players also want to play with others of similar skill in a way that is not overwhelming. Currently, there ar-en’t as many girls’ classes and teams for beginners as you find for boys, so young girls are often not introduced to the sport until a much later age.
“Teaching young girls the technique they need to learn when they’re young matters,” says Coach Lindsay Vera, “ so when they get to play at high school, they are already are as good as they can possibly be.” (You can read more about the benefits of train-ing early in life on page 12.) Dedicat-ed players who are showing success on a high school team could develop their skills further and possibly be drafted for a college team, like Lind-say was, and later even a professional team, which she also experienced. Caso says there is a need in the Valley for dedicated attention to our female players. Some girls’ teams around the valley are a mix of casual and competitive players, which could be frustrating for players who have different skill levels and goals. Female players of all levels may find their potential stifled from a lack of dedicat-ed attention and focused competition. Plaza Sports Center wants to correct that by offering a dedicated girls’ league to help girls of all levels find a team to play on and open  the door for competition among female teams. Bringing Coach Lindsay to Plaza was a first step to supporting girls in the Valley who have aspirations of playing soccer. With the U.S. women’s team playing so well, and a coach like herself close at hand, she thinks girls have many role models to look up to. “We have the best coaches and resources to train girls. It’s an awesome opportunity that Plaza is providing  here with the Academy,” says coach Lindsay. Even if they don’t plan to play professionally, the sport is especially beneficial to girls for many rea-sons. Like the boys who play and train at Plaza, girl soccer players become dedicated and disciplined to accomplish their goals. In addition to the health benefits of exercise, sun, and fresh air, soccer helps girls build confidence in themselves and each other – both on and off the field. “When you’re out there on the field, everyone gets put in the spotlight,” says Lindsay. “Early on, you get used to being under pressure.” If you can handle the intensity of a soccer match, you can handle anything. Being on a team also allows girls to practice communication and forming bonds, which is vital in pre-teen and teenage years when bullying can be an issue. “Soccer forces girls to work together on the field despite their personalities off the field; they have to be friends while they’re playing to become a team. It helps them appreciate the differences  in each other,” says Coach Lindsay. “They end up being friends with more types of people.” Soccer also becomes a social network that you take everywhere you go. More RGV girls are head-ing off to college on soccer scholarships every year, which is awesome and a testament to the growth of the local soccer scene. Lindsay shares that when she moved away for college (where she played on the university team), she felt less homesick because she automatically had a group of 30 friends – her new teammates. “When school starts, it’s much less overwhelming when you have some teammates in your classes to hang out with and study with,” says Lindsay. “It’s like a little family.”