If you’re a soccer player, you probably started your career at an academy as a kid. Soccer academies are great for developing young players and teaching them the mental and physical skills needed to succeed in the sport.
Tony Basha knows this all too well. As the technical director of the Australasian Soccer Academy – based in Sydney’s Western Suburbs – Basha has produced several professional players, and is dedicated to making ASA the #1 academy in Australia.
Currently, Basha is touring Europe with his academy. ASA took on the academy teams of FC Milan and Torino FC in Italy; as well as Leganes, Atletico Madrid, Getafe, and Real Madrid in Spain. Basha took ASA’s youth teams to a Real Madrid game in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, and some of his players even attended trials with Getafe. Another highlight of this tour was an ASA player signing a deal in Malta.
Basha is also the head coach of Rydalmere Lions F.C, who play in the New South Wales NPL3, and they’ve just won the club championship. Inusports caught up with Basha in an effort to uncover some of his advices and achievements as a coach, academy director, and agent.
What is your biggest accomplishment in sports?
My biggest accomplishment in sports is probably producing five A-league players, one that went on to play for the “Socceroos”, and two playing for the young “Socceroos,” the national team. So that would be a highlight.
What are one or two things you do in training that are keys to success?
A lot of games. Small side games with objectives. Short sharp drills is also important.
What would be your ultimate achievement?
My ultimate achievement… to be coaching at a professional club one day, that’s something that I aspire to be doing.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Probably my dad. My dad used to be a coach when he was younger, and I started following what he’d done, and I became a coach. So probably him.
What is the best part of your job?
Working with players, giving players opportunities, giving players a breath of fresh air, and giving them a future. And seeing players succeed – is why we do the job.
Do you have a saying or motto you live your life by?
Yeah – if you can’t run, you can’t play.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
Work hard, don’t ever give up.
When did you become interested in sports?
When I was 4 years old I started playing football. I played with my dad and older brothers.
How did you get to where you are?
A lot of hard work you know, started from the bottom and now we’ve got a very good academy, and we’ve got a good name, obviously producing a lot of players in the academy. Hard work, trust, being honest, and caring about the players. That’s why we’re here, where we are now.
How do you resolve conflict?
That’s a good question. Conflict between players? You know, get them together and take them out. For a drink, or dinner, and just solve it that way.
What do you do at Australasian Soccer Academy?
We try to produce the best young players, give them the correct training, make them believe in themselves, basically, and give them hope.
What is the best advice you would give to someone who wants to become a professional coach?
If you want to coach, you’ve got to care for the players. If it’s all about you, you won’t be successful. You’ve got to give the players first priority and everything is all about the players.
As a coach, what do you look for in a player that you would want to sign?
I like skillful players – players that can beat their opposition 1v1. Also players need to have good attitude and listen to instructions. They must be coachable and want to learn. I have a saying. “You can’t put brains in statues “.
As an agent or scout, what do you look for in a player that you would want to sign?
Respectable, hard working, honest – they’re the players I like.
Advice for players that want to make it to the next level?
Work hard, be honest, don’t go out and party, be professional, warm down properly, stretch, and be honest with yourself at the end of the day. Don’t kid yourself, because a lot of players that we do see they like to party; they think they’re doing the right thing but they’re not. So they got to get their head down, bums up, and work hard.
Any healthy foods that you recommend athletes?
A lot of fruit, veggies, and obviously a lot of pasta before a game. Drink a lot of water and get away from all the soft drinks – all the Powerade, the Gatorade. They’re not good for you.
What do you think about Inusports?
Very good. I cant wait till it grows, I know its going to be a very successful website and I’m looking forward to seeing players get somewhere with all of the connections in the site.
For more on Tony Basha, visit the ASA’s website.