Why Athletic Development?
During the soccer season, the main focus is to grow in technical ability and tactical
awareness, which leaves little room during a training session to work on athleticism. The goal of
our Athletic Development Program is to highlight a different aspect of an athlete’s total growth.
In this program, we begin to introduce movements that emphasize speed, agility, conditioning,
strength, and power in a way that is conducive to the demands of soccer. One must be fast, to
explode past an opponent, one must be quick, to change direction and play out of pressure, one
must be fit, to keep playing at a high level without getting tired, one must be strong, to not get
pushed off the ball, and one must be explosive, to drive into the ground and jump forcefully. In
order to achieve these outcomes, the program covers:
- Specific techniques to improve sprinting, acceleration, change of direction, and quickness
- Movements to improve core control, stability, and balance
- Movements to increase speed, strength, and power
- Body weight and resistance exercises to increase strength in our upper and lower body
- Flexibility and range of motion through multiple joints including shoulders, hips, and ankles
- Endurance and conditioning through fun games and competitions
Athletic Development is an 6-week program that spans the duration of the soccer off-
season, June-July and December-January, with three one-hour sessions a week: two during the
week and one on Saturday mornings. Depending on the level your child is enrolled in, sessions are either held on the turf at Gamble Rodgers Middle Schoool or at Salomon Services Fitness Facility.
Casey O’Linn, MS, CSCS. Our fearless leader! Casey received his MA in Sport and Exercise
Management from Ohio State University in 2003. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning
Specialist with the NSCA and a Certified Speed and Agility coach through Athletes
Acceleration. "This type of training is one that I value in making our soccer athletes develop into
Sal Ropero, NSCA-CPT, CSCS, ATC/L. Fitness professional with over 20 years experience
serving the St. Augustine community. Sal earned his B.S. in Health Science at the University of
North Florida. He also holds an M.S. in Sports Medicine from Nova Southeastern University,
qualifying him as the perfect coach to work with elite level athletes. "A positive fitness influence
in the community, building strong bodies and strong minds one athlete at a time."
Kailey Gellerstedt, MS. After playing youth soccer in St. Augustine, Kailey went on to be a top
player with the Pedro Menendez Varsity team, and then on to Armstrong State University where
she played for four years on their women's team. Kailey holds a Master of Science in Sports
Medicine and a Bachelor of Science in Human Performance and Fitness Management. “I am
very fortunate to have made it through my soccer career without any major injuries. I definitely
would attribute that to many years of strength and movement training.”
"We cannot begin to thank you enough for providing this opportunity for the players to have such a fabulous experience with Coach Sal. First, it has been a great experience for Cole to workout with players that are playing on the Academy and Armanda teams. It has been such a confidence booster. It has been so exciting to watch Cole's enthusiasm grow for these weekly workouts. Not only will this help him in the upcoming spring soccer season, but it has been a game changer for his golf game. We would appreciate any opportunity to join the off-season workouts in the future.