David Copeland-Smith is as knowledgeable and enthusiastic as one can get about the game of soccer. As a UEFA ‘A’ Licensed coach, David excels at training players one on one and in small group sessions. His emphasis on the technical aspect of the game has made him one of the premier skills specialist coaches in the United States.
A few years ago, David made the decision to focus on his one-on-one sessions and decided to create his company, “Beast Mode Soccer”.
“One-on-one sessions started to take up a majority of my time, so I thought, ‘let’s make this a real business,’” David said.
David has trained a wide variety of players, both men and women, from youth and club athletes up to college, professional, and international starters. Among this impressive list are many high-profile women who are due to suit up for their respective NWSL teams this season including Americans Abby Wambach, Sydney Leroux, Shannon Boxx, Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, Kelley O’Hara, Rachel Buehler, Allie Long, Nikki Washington, McCall Zerboni, Leslie Osborne, Nikki Krzysik, Sarah Huffman, Liz Bogus, Bianca D’Agostino, Angela Salem and Canadian internationals Emily Zurrer and Karina LeBlanc.
This past January, David coached many of these players in a series of sessions in Los Angeles alongside Mia Hamm. When asked what coaching with Mia was like, David began with a simple, “Mia Hamm is a legend.”
“Alex arranged for Mia to coach some sessions,” David said. “I was invited and I was very impressed! Mia delivers very thought-out, functional training sessions that are competitive, fun and educational. The players respond to her very well because she knows what they are going through. I learned a lot from Mia and am very thankful for the opportunity. She’s top class.”
A typical day for David involves waking up at the crack of dawn to prepare for the day’s sessions.
“Each night I write a ‘to do’ list for the following morning so I will go through that,” David said. “It usually means writing sessions for our players who are not based in LA and writing sessions for the players we have during the day.”
Sound thorough? David is. He continues his mornings by updating each of his players’ profiles on his database, citing he likes to track everything they do during his sessions, including touches and moves done. In addition to the one professional or college player and the two to three high school players he trains in LA each day, he advises players all around the globe on a daily basis.
“I genuinely eat, sleep and breathe Beast Mode Soccer,” David said.
When starting to train a new player, nothing is overlooked. He starts with an evaluation of what they need to work on and then plans their improvement. Only when the planning stage is over does execution of the sessions begin.
David credits New Zealand international and 2011 WPS Champion Ali Riley with the name ‘Beast Mode Soccer’. Having trained Riley for over six years, David once remarked that she trained ‘like a beast’ after a session years ago. The name was born when Riley turned back at him and said “Beast Mode!”
“The name embodies everything our sessions are about,” David said. “Going that extra mile, training your weaknesses as well as your strengths, going all out! That’s what Beast Mode Soccer is all about!”
In addition to checking emails throughout the day and booking training sessions, sometimes months in advance, David is very active on social media and says he is constantly promoting Beast Mode Soccer on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
If you follow David on Twitter, @Beastmodesoccer, you will know he often tweets about his ‘dream forward triangle’ of Wambach, Morgan and Christen Press.
who else is excited to see an absolutely ridiculous Press-Wambach-Morgan forward triangle? #USWNT
— Beast Mode Soccer™ (@BeastModeSoccer) January 28, 2013
David explained his reasoning for this particular three by using no less than a Star Wars analogy. He likened this combination to the three Rebel Alliance fighters flying in a triangle to blow up the Death Star – Morgan on the left, Press on the right and Wambach in the middle.
“If you’re defending that Death Star, who do you take out first? Abby? If you take out Abby, you have Alex and Press with their speed and ridiculous shooting accuracy. Do you take out Press? Then you’re left with Abby’s dominance and Alex. Do you take out Alex? Then you have Abby and Press with her ambidextrous shooting,” David said.
Less than a week after David told me about this dream forward triangle of his, it came to fruition in the USWNT’s game against Scotland on February 9th. Even though an injury to Alex Morgan forced her to leave the game in the 39th minute, fans couldn’t help but get a look into what may be the most lethal forward combination in recent USWNT history.
Despite his praises for these three (in particular, Press, who has trained with David for a year and a half) he does not discount the USWNT’s other forward talents. After Sydney Leroux’s goal in the 89th minute in the February 9th match, David tweeted “Syd is a super sub” and stated that she is an “outstanding impact player.”
When asked if there were any women he would like to work with in the future, David said he has already trained many of his favorite players, but added it would be great to see how Marta, Christine Sinclair, Homare Sawa or Caroline Seger would do in a session. “I just love working with players who like another viewpoint into their game, know they can improve, and are willing to work ridiculously hard to achieve their goals,” David said.
With regards to the NWSL, David believes the 3-year barrier that the WUSA and WPS failed to pass should be a goal for the new league as it embarks on its inaugural season. Stability is the main thing he believes the league needs to be successful.
“I think that NWSL has to know what it is,” David said. “It will start as a small league with goals to grow. This country needs a solid, professional, well-run league. Think about the amount of money invested into female soccer in this country: AYSO, to club, high school, college, soccer camps, skills training. It’s ludicrous that pro leagues have struggled here. If a player is good enough, they should be able to have the opportunity to play as a full professional.”
As for the future of Beast Mode Soccer, David says he has an exciting project that will be shot in the next few weeks. “I can’t really give it all away, but let’s just say it will allow anyone to train with Beast Mode Soccer wherever they are in the world!”
An avid Arsenal fan, you will likely find David on a field somewhere in LA with his two dogs, London and Gunner. However, he still has a dilemma to sort out before the start of the NWSL season, since there is no team in LA: “I have to figure out which team I will support!”
And the fog rolls in through 90210 twitter.com/BeastModeSocce…
— Beast Mode Soccer™ (@BeastModeSoccer) November 26, 2012
Above: David holds many of his sessions on the ‘Field of Dreams,’two tennis courts that were converted into a small-sided soccer field in Beverly Hills. The field is owned by a good friend of David’s, who happens to be a world-famous pop star.