ROCKVILLE — There’s not much more you can do than add a world-class player to your coaching staff.
Solano Community College has done just that, announcing recently the school has signed on Sissi to be an assistant coach to Jeff Cardinal.
Sissi, pronounced Cee-Cee, is a former Brazilian national player that played for her country in the World Cup. She’s coming off a stint as a coach at Los Positas College in Livermore.
“It’s like getting the female Pelé in the program,” Cardinal said. ” In terms of a person like her and her playing experience, she’s played at the highest level, one of best females to ever play the game. For the players to learn from her experience, to get to learn from her every day. Those type of people have the experience that you can feed off of and learn all you can.”
After serving as coach at Los Positas part-time, Sissi said she wouldn’t be considered when the school decided to hire a full-time coach.
“I’ve been working at Los Positas as a part-time head coach,” Sissi said. “They hired a full-time coach and I didn’t meet their criteria. I don’t have a masters in Kinesiology.
“The men’s coach told me to contract Jeff. We already played against each other a couple of times. So I already met him. I contacted him and was very excited. I know they have a good program and I’m looking forward to it.”
Sissi was a member of the Brazilian national team from 1989-2000, but that is just one of her many accolades.
In 1997, she was named the Best Female Futsal Player, then in 1999 was earned FIFA’s Golden Boot Award and was voted second best player in the world.
The same year she was named the best female player in South America, then came to the United States and played for the San Jose Cyber Rays from 2001-04.
In bringing her aboard, Cardinal wants to tap into both her playing and coaching experience.
“I think I’m going to go to her and find out what her philosophies are,” the coach said. “I would like to have her come in and it will be like having two head coaches. I kind of want to see how that would work out, have her play a lead role. I don’t want to call her an assistant coach. I want us to work together, let her make some decisions.”
That would be just fine with Sissi.
“If that’s what he wants, I am ready to do whatever he wants me do,” Sissi said. “I’ve been a head coach and an assistant coach. I would like to have that 50-50 style, but if he wants to make the decisions, that’s fine. I’m ready to do whatever. If it’s good for the program, I’m ready.”
Cardinal also knows with a reputation like Sissi’s, the soccer program and the school will both benefit.
“I think her name can attract players,” Cardinal said. “Once the community finds out who this is, what a level she’s at, it can help the program. We’ve been doing pretty well and she’s had success.
“Putting this all together can really elevate the program and get to the next level. With her name, that will help our recruiting. It’s an unbelievable opportunity. We want to take advantage of this.”
The new addition to SCC’s soccer staff is familiar with Cardinal’s style and wants to help feed off that.
“I think we both share the same passion,” Sissi said. “I want them to play like professionals even though they are student-athletes. . . . He has the passion ands is very dedicated.
“It will be a year to get to know Jeff and know the players and we’ll go from there. It’s nothing new to me but I’m willing to learn something new, too, and get the chance to meet the players.”
Sissi also knows her wealth of experience on the pitch and on the sidelines will only make the transition easier.
“I’ve had the chance to play with and against the best players in the world,” she said. “When I was in Brazil, I also coached. Even though I’ve been a coach, I was lucky to also get involved to watch a lot of coaches. My experience brings something to the program. I bring in a lot of stuff I can help with.”
World-class experience being at the top of the list.
Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.