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Play On: Q&A with Techne Futbol Creator, former professional player & NWSLPA Executive Director, Yael Averbuch

By Gigi Gray, 04/29/20, 2:00PM CDT

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Huw Williams asks Yael Averbuch a series of questions in our sixth Play On interview.

ABOUT YAEL AVERBUCH

Yael played collegiate soccer at The University of North Carolina (UNC) where she won two National Championships. In addition to winning several awards in college, her jersey #17 was retired at UNC following her career there. Averbuch has played professionally for 10+ years for various clubs around the U.S. and overseas and holds 26 caps on the USWNT. In 2016, she created the Techne Futbol training app. She also serves as the NWSL Players Association Executive Director.

1. Let’s start with asking how you guys are staying safe and handling these challenging times?

 I typically work from home so it hasn't been too, too much of a change for me. And the fact that I can work on Techne Futbol right from my computer has kept me very busy. Really, I try to limit any time spent outside my apartment at the moment, outside of getting out for some fresh air when I can. So between work and finding creative ways to stay active, my days are very full.

2. You have a passion for individual training. How did that start?

 From a young age I had wonderful coaches who challenged me to work on various aspects of technique. I find the fact that you can do things on your own to get better very empowering and I have always been drawn to attending to all the details of adding skills to my "tool box." Initially, learning things like juggling where I could keep track of my scores/records and work to improve them over time was very motivating to me.

3. How did the concept of the Techne app develop? 

Techne is based on all the things that I did on my own over the years that I credit with allowing me to play at the highest level. It's also based on how I developed an individual relationship with the ball and the game, which is why I think I'll always love the sport, long beyond my years playing. I started off sharing training ideas on YouTube but then wanted to give players actual training sessions and progressions to follow and ways to compete against one another.

4. It has already been a great success and it is seemingly growing in popularity daily. How does that make you feel?

 It's very rewarding! I love to hear from the players using the app and to know that I can support others to work towards achieving their goals. I have a very ambitious vision for what the app and company can be, so I see this as just the start.

5. How much did Anson’s “competitive cauldron” influence all of this? 

The Leaderboards in the app come directly from my time at UNC. Anson would rank us in EVERYTHING we did, and although it can be stressful to see how you match up, it's also very freeing because there are no secrets or mysteries as to who is the best or who needs to improve something.

6. You have played professionally in Russia, Sweden and the US as well as for highly regarded coaches both at home and abroad. I think you also represented Arsenal on a preseason tour to China perhaps? Can you briefly outline some of the benefits of the different experiences?

 I'm a firm believer that as a player, it's important to be adaptable to all different environments, styles of play, and coaches. These experiences were all very different and I got to learn from playing with and against some of the best players in the world throughout my career. As a player, my personal strengths and weaknesses also fit in differently every place I went so it was cool to be able to reinvent myself and figure out how I could best impact the team I was on at any given time. I learned a lot about different cultures, tactics, and ways of training from all of these experiences.

7. You were an important part of our 2015 championship team here in KC. What are your thoughts and memories of our city? I LOVED Kansas City and miss it a lot! My professional career was full of ups and downs and coming to FCKC was certainly a highlight. It was my favorite club that I represented as a pro and there was such a special group of people - both on the staff and in the locker room. I get very nostalgic thinking about my time in Kansas City. I really loved living there and started to consider it home. I also very much appreciated the fan base and soccer culture in the city.

8. What’s next for you? I have said many times that you would be a perfect candidate to execute a national technical development program for the Federation. Do you plan on getting into the coaching side of the game? 

Right now I'm very busy working to grow Techne so I'm not exactly sure what else might be in store! I am passionate about working with our development system as a whole, so I'd like to have a broader impact on that down the line, but I don't know about coaching a team. I like the idea of working on our system and expectations for players at each age and level.

9. You are the Executive Director of the NWSLPA. Can you share information about this and specifically the importance of the organization?

The NWSL Players Association is the organization that represents all NWSL players. We work directly with the league to voice the interests of the players and impact their experience, as well as help to support all the players to have a great professional experience both on and off the field. Some of that work includes helping players to continue their education, get coaching licenses, and develop second sources of income while playing. The NWSLPA works really closely with the NWSL to help push things forward and make progress and also to fill some gaps to make sure the experience as a pro player in our country is sustainable for all women who make it to that level.

10. Here’s a tough “would you rather” question for you.....would you rather take on Vlatko or Lauren Holiday in an after practice free kick challenge? 

Haha! Well I'd have to say that Lauren would definitely give me more of a challenge. But if I want a confidence boost I'd have to go with Vlatko...