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Meet Hector Galan of B-Elite Soccer Academy Houston in West Houston

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hector Galan.

Hector, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I began training youth soccer because I realized I had a passion for training kids. I didn’t want to keep playing, but rather I wanted to focus more on understanding and teaching important soccer concepts. I had the option to focus on professional players or development of kids. Ultimately, I enjoy teaching the fundamentals and helping individual players find their success. I began training at the age of 18 at a club that was top 3 in Catalonia, Spain, called Gramenet. I coached kids U7-U12. This club was interesting because it was almost a highly coveted volunteer role. The reason coaches wanted to work there is because it was high-quality training and really focused on development of the individual player and less the business soccer.

In a short period of time, my teams were gaining visibility and we were winning tournaments. That’s when 2nd most important club in Catalonia, CF Damm, came along and recruited me to be a head coach (U12). In two years, we got to the final of the state cup and we lost 1-0 to FC Barcelona La Masia (their top team), a team that had beaten 5-0 Madrid that year.

The top club, FC Barcelona, then recruited me to join their international team of coaches for year-round soccer camps throughout all of Europe. I coached in Croatia, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. I was sent to teach the soccer values of Barcelona throughout the continent. It was valuable because I was able to understand that every child from different cultures understand and learn in different ways and getting a common language of soccer through to them was very rewarding experience. I also started doing coaching clinics for coaches from different countries, teaching the FC Barcelona soccer methodology. I had to explain different phases of child development and how they can be most effective in player improvement based on skill-level and age. Helping understand that the game of soccer is a holistic game that you need to work all aspects of player development starting at a young age: technical, tactical, physical, mental, and emotional. It is not just technical and tactical but rather the development of a holistic, smart, and mature player.

The governing body of soccer in Spain, comparable to US Soccer Federation in the USA, had a job opening in China for a Director of Coaching/Technical Director for the Chinese Soccer Federation. At this time, China wanted to include soccer in their educational curriculum and hired Spanish leadership to help grow soccer in China. We started with 0 kids and in less than one year, we had 600 kids playing in my academy. We coached several high-level kids, one of which was recruited by Chelsea Football Club in England. Many others were recruited by Spanish clubs and played in youth pro teams across Spain.

In Spain, I had coached a US player that was on the National Team and on Barcelona’s second team and I knew that there was a lot of untapped potential in the United States. So, when the Director of FC Barcelona in Rio, Brazil called me because he wanted to start a youth soccer academy in the USA, I was very interested. In 2016, I came to Dallas, TX and started working for B-Elite. In Dallas, I trained many kids that went on to play at various Developmental Academy teams like FC Dallas, Solar, and Dallas Texans. I have a solid relationship with FC Dallas and provided feedback on their methodology, style of play, and guest-coached their top-level youth teams on occasion. It was a great experience to see how elite clubs and teams train in the USA and work with influential leaders in US Soccer like Luchi Gonzalez (FC Dallas MLS head Coach) and Chris Hayden (FC Dallas MLS Youth Academy Director). Through internal transfer with B-Elite Soccer Academy.

I came to Houston and have been here since January 2020. I am very pleased with all the great things Houston has to offer, the nice people, and most of all, the soccer potential in this great city. In this short time, and despite setbacks with COVID-19, we have seen incredible improvement. Not just with soccer skills – soccer is a tool to teach values. Using something that kids enjoy and love to teach valuable lessons that will help them succeed in all aspects of life. I’ve already seen behavior adjustments, improvement in focus and motivation, and obviously progress in the development of soccer skills. It is very rewarding to witness how our young players learn and improve.

Has it been a smooth road?
Every opportunity I’ve had has presented unique challenges and obstacles to overcome. Understanding how different the infrastructure for soccer is in every country and finding the best ways to get through to kids and parents of different cultures is not easy, but the ability to earn their respect, attention, and trust of the kids and families makes it worthwhile. Ultimately, we want to create positive change. For example, understanding the differences in the way that youth soccer in Spain and the United States differ – both having pros and cons. United States offers many more opportunities for our young players to continue to play even if they aren’t professional level. Navigating and understanding the path to college through sports is a really nice option for these well-rounded kids. In Spain, some kids have to stop studying to try to pursue soccer at the next level.

We’d love to hear more about B-Elite Soccer Academy Houston.
B-Elite is a youth soccer club that brings experienced soccer directors from top-clubs in Spain to teach local coaches a soccer methodology from Spain. Soccer from Spain is unique because we teach players to make quick decisions and understand the game in all the different game situations around all parts of the field. We teach soccer from the fundamentals through to complex concepts based on age and development level. We also train using game-like situations, which generally always include a ball, teammate, and opponent. It is a very team-based approach to individual improvement. There are many situations in the game of soccer where a player will have to use their knowledge and intuition in order to make the best decision. We challenge them to use their physical and mental abilities to put themselves and their teammates in the best situation to achieve success.

Above all, we teach these skills and life values while making sure the kids are having fun. Kids inherently want to be challenged and find success. Our individual improvement philosophy is making sure that each player will be the best holistic player and person they can be when they reach 18 years old. This keeps them engaged, healthy, focused, and happy. We are most proud of seeing incremental improvement. When our kids grasp concepts, and our teams begin connecting. Although we like to win, winning and losing isn’t everything and these are all concepts that need to be taught and help the kids grow as members of society. It’s not overnight, but everyday there is feedback and steps toward improvements.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
My favorite thing about Houston is that it is a very international city. There are people from all kinds of cultures and we can learn from each and every diverse background. I can also generally find some of my comfort foods from Spain. Due to this diversity, I believe that the people in Houston have been very welcoming and very nice. I feel very at home in Houston. What I like least about Houston… Traffic is less than ideal in Houston, but it really isn’t that bad in comparison to some other major cities in the world where I’ve worked.

Pricing:

  • Boys and Girls ages 5-17 for $60/mo for June and July 2020. We understand that many families have been adversely affected by the pandemic and we want to try to give back to the community.
  • Regular pricing starting August is dependent on age and level, but ranges from $95-$145/mo for two practices a week.
  • We also offer sibling discounts (10% off per child), scholarships, and financial assistance.

Contact Info:

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