Originally from Italy, Nic Vidali knows a thing or two about soccer. He considers it his passion: he said he was “born and raised” in his hometown soccer club and even played at the semi-professional level until he was injured.
Soccer is still a big part of Nic’s life. Based in Atlanta, he moved here from Italy in 1992 for a job in high level trade show production, expos and event marketing. He was working for huge companies and even helped plan the Olympics when they were held in Atlanta in 1996.
For Nic, his love of the game comes from the teamwork soccer fosters.
“You have to build something bigger than yourself, but you also have to maintain your individuality,” he said. “At the end of the day you need to help make a difference for your team, either by handling your opponents or being superior by being faster or better. That’s your individual skill, but that’s not enough. You still have to connect with your teammates to go even further.”
When he’s working with young players on the teams he coaches, Nic tries to instill this idea in each of their practices. Nic said not only does he help them realize their individual potential and foster connections between all the players to create a well-rounded, functioning team, he also tries to use soccer to impart life skills.
“You can gain foot skills as you put in the hours, but the character you develop in soccer is something you carry with you all your life, in job interviews and other places,” he said. “That they can compete in a good way and build self-esteem and be sure about themselves, that’s important.”
Despite his success in his industry and with his coaching, he missed soccer being a larger part of his life. He was coaching his daughter’s soccer team, working with young players and playing in a league there in Atlanta, but he wanted to do more.
Then he ran into EUHERE Sports at an expo for soccer coaches 3 years ago.
“I was inspired by the design and the simplicity of how you could set it up and all of that,” he said. “I like to test a product before I work with it. That’s the foundation of how I work in general. I was impressed with how stable it is and how easy it is to set up.”
It was a match made in heaven. Nic wanted to incorporate more soccer into his life, and EUHERE Sports needed a regional rep who could help in Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. Nic’s been with us ever since.
As a youth soccer coach and someone intimate with the game, Nic has a unique perspective on how Revolutionary Soccer Rinks and Revolutionary Soccer Arenas can make a difference for players.
“There is a psychological impact on kids when they’re in this perimeter,” he explained. “There are kids who feel lost on the field because they can’t see the perimeter. These kids are great players, they can do everything, but you put them on the field and they’re lost - they disappear. You put them inside those rinks, in a tight space, and the kids develop a strong self-esteem. Once they have that, they can translate it on a bigger field.”
Nic has his own Revolutionary Soccer Rink in his backyard, something he said more parents should do when their young kids express and interest in the sport. He likens it to basketball: homes all over the nation have a basketball hoop and sometimes even a court in their driveway. Few have soccer goals or a dedicated area for children to practice soccer, hockey, lacrosse, or other sports that can benefit from enclosed practice areas.
He also uses the Revolutionary Rinks with his own teams. He’s seen firsthand how it’s improved the confidence of kids, helped them make better first touches, mastered spatial awareness and increased quick decision making, all of which fosters the teamwork aspect Nic loves.
“Because the game is very fast, you can’t dribble the ball all the time,” Nic said. “You have to have the spatial awareness and look around to see where your teammates are moving. You can’t just be quick with your feet, you have to be quick with your thinking.”
Growing up in Italy, Nic said he’s surprised more people in America haven’t adopted using small, enclosed areas to practice and train in. He remembers using similar products in Italy to improve his own skills as a player.
In fact, Nic said in a full size, 11 vs. 11 practice game that lasts 90 minutes, players only touch the soccer ball for about 2 minutes or less. In the Revolutionary Soccer Rinks, players touch the ball for around 10 minutes, getting in close to 100 more touches than on a large field. This helps young players quickly improve skills that might takes days for them to grasp in larger scrimmages.
“There’s a lot of plusses in having small sided game, and this is why in Europe the Rinks are very, very well embraced,” Nic said. “Finally US Youth Soccer is starting to implement this more, so we are getting more into smaller fields. But it took decades of people saying, ‘You need to do it!’ And they’re still not there, but we’re getting started.”