Rodolfo Rodriguez: A Life Behind The Ball

From coaching Maradona in Rosario, Argentina, till guiding a 5-year-old boy, little Luca, in Miami, Rodolfo, the visible face of the Boca Juniors Soccer Academy in North Miami Beach, tells us what is behind this ambitious sporting project.

How did the Boca Club start in Miami?
We started playing on the beach with 15 kids, while completing the soccer fields. The fundamental vision is to grow an Academy. Today we have more than 200, among boys and girls. We are training teams that are competing in categories from U6 to U17.

What is the vision for the immediate future?
First, begin to compete. But we have to make a base of players who can compete. This year we are in nearby tournaments, we wanted to make a formative task. Next year, we are in three categories recreational, elite level, and a third one step before Elite. According to the amount, quality will come.
We are also opening a headquarter in Broward, because these fields are already too small for us. There are many kids who come from Kendall, Weston and we want to be closer.

How is the parental response and involvement?
Very good! It is one of the fundamental forces of the business: We have the company, parents, kids and coaches. Here, parents have a lot of commitment.

What are the nationalities of the Kids in Boca?
We have a high percentage of Latino kids. The idea of the city and SGD is to balance with more American boys and give them an opportunity. Generally, those kids don’t understand soccer, but when teaching, they absorb very quickly.

How do you do during summer time?
We don’t want the boys to stop for a long time. We want them to get used to train during the week and compete on weekends like in other countries. Now we enter a new league, “Miami Club Champions League,” which begins with 9 teams and from the month of July starts a competition format for 10 months with more teams. That is to say, in Boca we will compete continuously.

Age: 71
Born: Buenos Aires
Jobs: Boca, San Lorenzo, News All Boys, Vélez Sarfield,
Studies: Physical trainer
Superior Sports University, Cologne, Germany
Friends: Ruggeri, Maradona, Ramón Díaz, Gustavo Quintero, Pochettino, Tata Martino, Gareca…

12 synthetic-grass soccer fields
200 players
2 Boca academies in USA (Miami and New Jersey)
10 years of agreement between Boca y North Miami Beach
10 countries with Boca Juniors presence
60 Boca soccer academies exist around the world

“Miami is the perfect place for this kind of projects”

“Soccer is growing a lot in the US, and not just for Latin Americans. In Argentina we’ve been playing soccer for the last hundred years, so it’s a perfect match.”

Daniel Rotsztain
Presidente de SDG.
Soccer Development Group
(In statements to the Miami New Times Weekly)