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Player Preparation at The ICEF – An inside look with The ICEF’s Head of Performance

Player Preparation at The ICEF – An inside look with The ICEF’s Head of Performance

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ICEF International Center of European Football - Boarding soccer academy in Europe

The ICEF’s Head of Performance, Stephane Caterina, gives us insight into his role at the Academy and how he prepares The ICEF student-athletes to achieve an ideal physical condition that translates to success on the field.

Career and Background

Boasting an extensive background and impressive career path in player preparation, Stephane Caterina arrives at The ICEF with Degrees in Physical Preparation and Football Video Analysis combined with a Master’s Degree in Physical Preparation and Nutrition.

Stephane’s Notable Past Experiences:

  • Head of Performance at the training center of professional club, Amiens SC, training center and U13 coach (3 years)
  • Owned and operated a private physical preparation center and was responsible for training professional athletes (3 years)
  • Head of Physical Preparation at the Academy of professional club, US Creteil (1 year), and Head of Creteil’s Football School U6 to U9 categories (3 years)
  • Assistant Physical Trainer at Paris Saint-Germain handball, and head of performance at the Paris Saint-Germain training center (2 years)
  • Head of Performance for all academies of Strive Football group (ICEF, PSG Academy USA) and clubs (FC Miami City and Thonon Evian Grand Genève) since July 2020

Role at The ICEF

I manage the annual collective and individual athletic planning, athletic evaluation and testing, and manage/monitor the nutrition plan to ensure The ICEF performance project is implemented.

Stephane’s main role is to implement the performance program. At the start of the season, The ICEF’s technical staff sets certain objectives in regards to the physical condition they want each player to reach. Stephane then creates the physical preparation plan that the players will follow throughout the year to achieve those objectives.

Some of Stephane’s daily tasks include:

  • Preparing the athletic training sessions on the field that focus on speed, endurance and agility.
  • Planning the sessions at the fitness center that focus on strength and power
  • Monitoring players physical sessions
  • Collecting and recording improvements made by players

Stephane also creates, manages and monitors the nutritional plan that players follow, ensuring players are receiving the ideal diet and hydration they need to maximize their training and competition. Stephane and the technical team provide a holistic education regarding physical preparation and nutrition, so players can learn and understand the links between nutrition, physical preparation and on-field training.

Player Performance Process

According to Stephane, the most important part of the process is the daily communication and relationship with the Head Coach. “The daily relationship with the Head Coach is crucial to organize the athletic and technical programs to avoid interference and avoid risking the player’s development.”

A normal week for players in terms of physical preparation includes three strength training sessions, two athletic sessions focused on conditioning on the field, one speed and agility session, and one specific individualized session.

Stephane is able to create a busy, intense, yet rewarding schedule due to the players at the residency this year. “This year, there is a lot of talent and determination within the residents. They all want to achieve their dreams and give themselves the means to succeed.”

The player is at the center of the project.

Success at The ICEF and Beyond

At The ICEF, talent is only a portion of what is needed to succeed. With vast experience around professional clubs, training centers and academies, Stephane understands that it is much more than talent that will lead players to reach the next level. “To succeed at The ICEF, players need to put in a lot of work, they need to have great listening skills and an exemplary attitude to stay fit, and they need to have a lot of determination to become professional player”

Having such an experienced trainer allows us at The ICEF to provide the most professional environment and training sessions possible. The sessions Stephane develops, based on the best practices of the UEFA and FFF methodologies, give the residents a taste of what being a professional football player is like. Through the player preparation programs implemented at The ICEF, players are able to accelerate their development and eventually, make the transition to the next level seamlessly.

There is no magic formula to reach the next level. You need a little talent, a lot of rigor and a lot of determination.