SOCATOTS & Brazilian Soccer Schools have a long and illustrious history dating back to the the formation of the latter way back in 1996. This predates current Global Head Coach Will Partington and majority owner Rupert Lowe's involvement and below we will explore this story further.
Founder and former owner Simon Clifford’s fact finding mission to Brazil with only a £6,000 loan after a chance meeting with Brazilian international Juninho and his father, resulted in what we think is a training system that gives committed and hardworking participants the best chance at succeeding as not only professional footballers but well-rounded individuals.
"I don't want to copy Brazil, that would be pointless, I wanted us to be better" Simon Clifford in Sao Paulo, 1997
The first Brazilian Soccer School was started in 1996, in Leeds, by Simon Clifford after with Brazilian star Juninho led to the discovery of the game of Futebol de Salão. Simon had become friends with the Brazilian during his first spell at Middlesborough FC and managed to persuade him to come down to the school that he taught at (Corpus Christ in Halton Moor, Leeds) to take part in a health week initiative that the school were running.
Juninho got involved with the football coaching that Simon was running for the school team, enjoyed it but at the end of the session he asked Simon, "When do the children play Futebol de Salão?" At this point Simon had no idea what the game was or its importance in the culture of Brazilian football. Juninho explained that children in Brazil were brought up first playing only with a small, heavy ball with no bounce (Futebol de Salão) before moving on to conventional football in their teenage years. Juninho was astounded that it was not also played in the UK and Simon was fascinated by the explanation of the game. Juninho arranged for some Futebol de Salão balls to be sent over for Simon to use. The benefits to children's technique were very easy to see and prompted Simon's initial trip to Brazil to discover exactly what lay behind Brazil's historical dominance of world football.
The rest as they say is history – the Brazilian Soccer Schools programme took from Brazil some key aspects of development, most notably the game of Futebol de Salão, a determination to surpass even the Brazilian's in terms of technical development and a strengthened belief that children should spend more time actually training and practicing their skills rather than merely playing matches.
"I used to train at Brazilian Soccer Schools two or three times a week. We used a small ball, which was supposed to improve technique and touch, and it was a good thing to do, especially being a defender, as the better you are on the ball the better it is for your game." Micah Richards
The Brazilian Soccer Schools syllabus covers every area of football and whilst our coaching is by no means exclusively Brazilian. The central aim of Brazilian Soccer Schools is to encourage children to spend longer working with the ball practicing and developing their skills. Everything that we do has this in mind and at Brazilian Soccer Schools training sessions almost all of the time will be spent working with the ball at your feet.
There are 4 key aspects:
Emphasis on Individual Skills
Futebol de Salão
Increased time training
Physical, Mental & Tactical Training
"I cannot believe what I see with Brazilian Soccer Schools and SOCATOTS, it is amazing, it is something completely different and very special. It will have so many benefits for football and for kids in general. Socially, physically and technically I can see this, having such a positive influence for future generations across the world." Carlos Alberto
Simon founded and added another completely new and original programme to his burgeoning organisation in 2003: SOCATOTS. This programme has since broken down conventional wisdom that children of such a young age are too young to be taught.
SOCATOTS was the world's first and now leading provider of football-related physical development activities for young children aged between six months and five years. It offers a unique approach designed around systematic training sessions involving parents' active participation. SOCATOTS, together with Brazilian Soccer Schools has subsequently developed to be a unique and structured training programme for children from 6 months - 18 years old.
The next chapter in the history of the organisation came in December 2012 when Rupert Lowe, ex Chairman of Southampton FC and FA board member took full control and ownership over from Simon Clifford. A statement from Rupert at the time explained:
“Simon Clifford has asked me to help restore the fortunes of SOCATOTS & Brazilian Soccer Schools. When Simon approached me I was well aware of the excellence of the coaching programme that he had developed.
We worked together with Sir Clive Woodward when I was chairman of Southampton Football Club.
I had built up the Academy which had produced players such as Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain IN& Adam Lallana, along with many others. The integration of SOCATOTS & Brazilian Soccer Schools would have helped to hone and improve our very talented young players further but, as is often the case in football, we were not able to complete our long-term plan.”
Under the new ownership structure plans are in place to undergo the next stage of expansion and we are very grateful for the continued hard work and support of the current family of franchisees who are helping to transport such a wonderful development product to children across the UK and beyond.