Petke Explains Why He Missed Real Salt Lake’s Loss To LAFC

Jun 21, 2019, 6:30 PM | Updated: 6:38 pm
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News...
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It’s hard to imagine a set of circumstances any more difficult than the ones that Real Salt Lake faced against LAFC in the U.S. Open Cup almost two weeks ago.

The game, which did not count towards the standings in the Major League Soccer regular season ended up in a 3-0 RSL loss and elimination from the tournament.

Still, RSL came into the game with its back up against the wall. Not only were several players, including Albert Rusnak and Jefferson Savarino away from the team, several players were off at a nearby U.S. U-23 camp. On top of it all, head coach Mike Petke had to go to a mandatory coaching certification out of state.

RSL didn’t have much of a chance in that match against LAFC, the top team in MLS. The replacement players had flashes of brilliance but ultimately they were outclassed by the class of the league.

Where Was Petke?

Although it seems strange that Petke missed the opportunity to coach to have a training on coaching, he explained the importance of the certification meeting in Minnesota on the Mike Petke Coaches Show to his co-host Brian Dunseth.

“It’s very extensive,” said Petke. “I had to do a 45-minute presentation my first day that I was there that I prepared for a while and I have to do an hour presentation for my final one. It’s very intensive.”

Coaching certification wasn’t always as demanding. Petke recalled the old days when coaches would gather for a multi-day retreat, where the coaches could hang and mingle before dedicating 45 minutes of one day to have a training meeting.

Now, that’s not the case and the certification is much more rigid. It’s now a 5-day, 12-hours per day meeting with qualified instructors to get everyone up to the standards that U.S. Soccer demands. Instructors include facility and teachers from Harvard.

It’s not as much talking about tactics and on-field strategy as much as it is learning more about leadership and creating high-performance environments, according to Petke.

“This is more like ‘you’re a coach now, how do you manage everything in your realm,’” explained Petke. “It’s incredibly knowledgeable and beneficial for me.”

The best part of the training, in Petke’s mind, is interacting and learning from his fellow coaches. One memorable exchange happened when he and Houston’s coach exchanged scouting reports and compared how they had prepared for each other earlier in the season.

“It was awesome,” said Petke. “There is no secret in this league. You play these teams and you see them every week, it’s not a secret that I had.”

Although, Petke made it clear he did not reveal the actual game plan to Houston coach Wilmer Cabrera prior to their 1-1 tie.

With Petke back on the sidelines, RSL will travel to face the Chicago Fire on Saturday at 6 p.m. The match will be streamed live on or on the KSL TV app.

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