Raber presents at Soccer Champions Coaches Clinic


A group of soccer coaches from around the Northeast recently got a glimpse into what it's like to be a member of MCLA's women's soccer team as they learned from Trailblazers Head Coach Deb Raber at the Soccer Champions Coaches' Clinic (SCCC). There, she taught alongside Head Coach Tony DiCicco, who coached the United States women's national soccer team during the time they won the Olympic gold medal in 1996 and the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Raber, head coach for the Trailblazers' women's soccer team, was asked to coach the coaches at the annual event by DiCicco and University of Connecticut Head Coach Ray Reid, the most successful active head coach among all NCAA Division I college soccer coaches.

"It was an honor to be invited by coaches Tony DiCicco and Ray Reid," Raber said. "I have attended the clinic in the past and had always wanted to be a presenter. Working side by side with Tony is always a great opportunity."

At the SCCC, Raber instructed coaches of all levels - from youth coaches and premier travel coaches to those who coach high school and college. She and DiCicco conducted a goalkeeper course at the Clinic, which was held at the Mohegan Sun Convention Center. There, she assisted him during a classroom session and for two of the field sessions.

"I did a solo presentation on angle play and an introduction to breakaways," she explained. "Working alongside Tony is always great. His knowledge of the world's game and the goalkeeper position is endless. I'm always looking to learn, and when I see him and the other coaches present it's great to pick up new cues or ideas."

Raber got to know DiCicco through various soccer coaching courses she's taken through the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), where she was invited to be on both the field players staff and the goalkeeper staffs.

Because DiCicco is the director of goalkeeper education for the NSCAA, Raber often is in contact with him, and they work together when they instruct courses.

While the SCCC is much smaller than the annual NSCAA national convention, it's very well attended and gives coaches who can't get to the larger convention an opportunity for professional development, Raber explained.

Her participation in the SCCC and the NSCAA helps to promote MCLA and its athletics department, she said.

"It's not every day someone gets introduced as a co-presenter with a World Cup and Olympic gold medal head coach. Also, looking over the list of presenters for the SCCC, there are some big time names and incredibly accomplished coaches on this list. To see MCLA alongside some of those associations is huge in my mind," she said.

"Coaching coaches is a blast," Raber added. "Not only to I get to share what has been shared with me by others, but the collegial atmosphere and discussions that occur allow me to increase my own knowledge. I love paying forward the information I have learned by some amazing coaches."