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Carlos Zavala will be our primary coach.  He has extensive experience as a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) National Instructor, as an Executive Director, and as a Director of Coaching.  He has been involved in coaching, managing, and leading soccer clubs, uninterrupted, since the early 90's.  Some of his career highlights include:

  • USSF National Educator

  • Executive Director, Director of Coaching, Coach for 30+ years

  • Played in over 550 professional games in Mexico (Club Deportivo Toluca) and the U.S.

  • Four time professional champion, including the U.S. Open Cup in 1999

  • USSF A and USSF Professional B Licenses

  • Professional All-Star player in 1996, 2001

  • Community Service Award recipient (2001), and Team Leadership Award recipient (2002)

  • NCAA Division I (CSLA -4 years), and Varsity Soccer (Saddleback HS - 4 years)

  • For his entire career highlights, click here

Carlos' Story

Hello, everyone!

I grew up in Santa Ana, CA, where I attended Washington Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary, Lathrop Jr. High, and Saddleback High School.  During my youth, I grew up playing for some of the best local teams in the Orange County area.  I was also playing for the CA-South State and Regional teams under Norm Jackson and Clyde Best.  After a successful high school soccer career at SHS, I received a full ride to attend Cal State Los Angeles, under Leo Cuellar, where I studied Kinesiology as an undergrad.

At CSLA, I played from 1988-1991, where I set several records, of which a few of them still stand.  Playing for Leo was an amazing experience.  His knowledge of the game, coaching philosophy and methodology was exactly what catapulted my skill level to the professional level.  After my senior year at CSLA, Leo sent me to Club Deportivo Toluca, where I debuted in 1992, against Pumas UNAM.


My father, "Chino" Zavala, had played for Toluca from the late 50's  to the early 70's, so as you can imagine, playing in the Mexican first division, for C.D. Toluca was a dream come true for me.  Playing in Estadio Azteca, Estadio Jalisco and many others, and playing with and against several national team players from different countries were experiences that cannot be put into words.

In 1996 I returned to the U.S.  I played indoor soccer in the winter and outdoor soccer for the rest of the year.  I played for the Rochester Rhinos from 1998-2002, where we won A-League championships in 1998, 2000, 2001, including the U.S. Open Cup championship in 1999, when we defeated the Colorado Rapids in Columbus, OH.  During this time, I also played professional indoor soccer (NPSL, CISL, MISL) for several teams around the country.  In a blink of an eye and after so many unbelievable experiences, I was able to play professionally for 10 years, playing in over 550 games.

In the 2003 season, I still had one more year in my contract as a professional player, but due to the extensive playing career that I was blessed with, and wear and tear of my body, I decided to retire that year.  It was a very difficult decision, but my legs could no longer keep up at the level needed to perform.  Unlike many professional athletes, I was at peace with my decision, emotionally, and with my new life-style as a full time Director of Coaching.  At that time, I had already received my USSF Professional B License (and shortly after my USSF A License) and had already been very involved at the youth soccer level for many years.  During my transition to full time Director of Coaching, I consulted for and directed clubs in California, Michigan, Florida, New York, and Indiana.  In 2016, my family and I decided to take an Executive Director and Director of Coaching job in Northern California, where I began working  as a National Educator for the United States Soccer Federation.

Having been involved in youth soccer club management for over three decades, and being involved in so many political scenarios and decisions made by non-soccer people that hinder the development of youth soccer clubs and players, I decided to start my very own Toluca Soccer Academy.  The Toluca Soccer Academy is now based out of Orange County in Southern California and will be run the proper way, by soccer business people; not by business minded people who lack the understanding of the building blocks and the developmental framework of a soccer player.

Now that I am in Southern California, I will continue as a USSF National Educator, and am excited to start training with our youth academy.  I look forward to meeting our new players and inspiring them as they grow and develop with us.

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