Coach Rapha discusses his soccer journey and his experience with Soccer Youth

This week’s Coach Spotlight features Raphael Meneses. Coach Meneses, otherwise known as Coach Rapha, is originally from Santa Catarina, Brazil. He grew up playing youth soccer in Brazil from the age of seven years old up until he was 19. Coach Rapha played for Avaí FC, one of the biggest clubs in his country, and is proud to have defended for the team. Coach Rapha moved to Nebraska to begin playing for Midland University, which is where his coaching career began as well. Currently, Coach Rapha coaches and plays soccer on the weekends and enjoys the lovely weather in Florida.

SY: When did you start coaching?

Coach Rapha: “I started my coaching career at the same time I started my college career as a soccer player. I was brought in from Brazil to play for a college in Nebraska and I started coaching as a work study job for my soccer program at the time.”

SY: Where have you coached since then?

Coach Rapha: “I spent all of my college career as an assistant coach for Midland University. I then coached high school for Dr. Phillips High School around Orlando, Florida. As far as youth soccer I have coached several soccer academies including Tampa Bay United, Ronaldo Academy, and Ney Franco Soccer Academy.”

SY: What would be your overall thoughts on Soccer Youth?

Coach Rapha: “Soccer Youth is the best experience I have ever had when it comes to soccer. The environment and experience that Soccer Youth creates for its players is so unique that it will benefit those who are involved for the rest of their soccer careers. Not only the perspective of being coached by different and well experienced coaches, but also to play among players from many different locations across the world.”

SY: Could you describe the overall vibe of a Soccer Youth event?

Coach Rapha: “Soccer Youth means making new friendships, building community, and having tons of fun. In addition to all that, it is definitely a weekend to look forward to in terms of developing your soccer skills and achieving the next level.”

Coach Rapha, along with the other fantastic Soccer Youth coaches, will be at the All-American series throughout the summer. With eighteen events scheduled for the summer, Soccer Youth will be all around the country to help kids grow and realize their soccer potential!