New Soccer Training Facility Brings Scope of Player Development Under One Roof
Writer / Suzanne Huntzinger
Photographer / Amy Payne
Four billion fans and about 2,000 registered soccer clubs around the world make soccer the number one sport globally. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who is not either a fan of the World Cup Tournament or is at least aware of it. Lookout USA, because soccer’s popularity has been gaining momentum here at home since 1990.
Some folks want to make sure Indy joins the wave, and one coach is doing his best to make that happen. Attorney, entrepreneur and coach Chris McGrath just opened a soccer training facility in Westfield near Grand Park. Sogility, a name derived from combining soccer with agility, just opened November 2018.
“I founded Sogility to help build better soccer players,” McGrath says. “Our training focuses on the four pillars of the game: technical, tactical, physical and mental which we’ve incorporated that into our logo.”
Word about Sogility is already getting around. “We have more than 300 soccer player clients, and we add more every day,” he says.
Sogility is a TOCA certified training center, and it’s the centerpiece of their training. TOCA, which means “touch,” was developed by retired professional soccer athlete, Eddie Lewis. TOCA training uses a TOCA machine powered by an app with hundreds of pre-programmed exercises. The machine delivers balls at various speeds, intervals, trajectories and angles for a highly targeted, individualized workout.
“Its small ball technology allows the trainer to craft sessions aimed at improving elements of the player’s first and second touch, be that receiving, passing, shooting or dribbling,” McGrath says. “We believe that first touch is foundational. A good first touch allows players to make better decisions and be more effective on the pitch. That makes the game more fun.”
Players get best in class athlete development at Sogility, with certified trainers who conduct the TOCA touch training sessions along with position-specific development and fun play opportunities. Sogility also offers the IFAST Studio to support technical development. Players can receive group, semi-private or private athlete development.
“The training isn’t aimed at making better soccer moves, but it helps with body awareness, position and movement in a way that results in better athlete movement,” McGrath says. “That may sound fluffy, and it’s really much more scientific, but players these days need to move like they did when mom told them to go out and play and be home when the sun goes down. IFAST helps with that, and helps players move better on the pitch.”
Sogility also offers mental development program Always Play On. The program developed by Rob Bell is a great program for players and parents alike.
Whether you choose individual or small group training, you’re truly in for a treat. The opportunities for workshops and specialized skill development are endless. The Jon Busch Goalkeeping workshop is just one of their popular workshops. Busch is a 21-year Major League Soccer (MLS) professional, and he shares his experience in private, group and clinic sessions at Sogility. IU standout, MLS and United Soccer League (USL) veteran from Indy Eleven, Brad Ring, leads the field player development with weekly TOCA plus and small group sessions. Jason Perry, Butler Men’s Assistant Coach delivers popup T3 training sessions at the facility as well. Sogility also offers open play nights on Fridays for high schoolers and tournaments. Their League play program and summer camps are in development.
For someone who has put together a world-class soccer training facility, one might expect McGrath to eat, sleep and breathe soccer. But he balances soccer with a whole net full of interests. Of course, McGrath spent plenty of time on the soccer field. Starting at age 12, he played soccer in his hometown of Hermon, Maine, and then moved on to play at the high school level as a goalkeeper and then in college at Marquette University.
After college, he continued playing, but he spent time growing his career.
“I’m a lifelong entrepreneur, business attorney and mediator,” he says. “I got my start as an entrepreneur in auto racing, a journey that has included team ownership, sports marketing, management and event promotion. I’ve also owned and operated residential and commercial real estate. I helped found and was the managing attorney of a law firm for 12 years. I’m now a business attorney and mediator.”
Though McGrath was focused on business interests, his love of the game continued to grow. After playing for many years as an adult, he discovered the joy of coaching, and he’s now the Head Coach of Guerin Catholic Boys Soccer Program.
The love of the game wasn’t the only motivator for starting Sogility. The husband and father of three spawned the idea from personal experience.
“My daughter is a college player, and throughout her club and high school career I watched her often drive from our home in Noblesville to three places for speed & agility training, position specific work and then to team training,” he says. “Having all the training under one roof makes it more efficient for our player clients. That’s important in a busy world. Plus, the location off highway 31 is conveniently accessible and within close proximity to Grand Park.”
In the short amount of time since opening, McGrath and his team have already scored dozens of winning goals. Building a winning team is one of them.
“We’re building a great team,” he says. “That includes former college coach, Alex Collier, as our TOCA expert. He directs our trainers, manages the facility and curates curriculum. Jason Brown directs our sales effort. He introduced me to TOCA years ago, so when this project started gaining steam, I wanted him to be a part of it.”
No matter which skill development program you choose at Sogility, you’ll get something more valuable than any skill drill.
“Many people speak of the love of the game,” McGrath says. “To us, that means delivering soccer opportunities that are fun, delivered by caring, experienced, growth-oriented people. Sogility builds better soccer players, and in turn builds better people.”
See what Sogility can do to help step up your game. Visit them online at sogility.net to learn more about their programs or call them at 317-399-7914. Sogility is located at 16462 South Park Drive, Suite A in Westfield.