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Growing From Experience: The Path Taken by 2014 Clinician Miguel Cardoso

Posted by NSCAA on Dec 17, 2013 in Events 0 Comments

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Miguel Cardoso is currently FC Shakhtar's U21 head coach and is a holder of a UEFA Pro License. Cardoso is a former assistant coach for Deportivo La Coruna, Sporting CP, and SC Braga as well as the former fitness coach for CF Os Belenenses and SC Braga. In his time with SC Braga, the club reached the 2010-11 Europa League Final.

Cardoso is scheduled to present two field sessions at the 2014 NSCAA Convention in Philadelphia.


On June 10, 2013 a new head coach of FC Shakhtar’s youth team was announced. That new coach was Miguel Cardoso.

Appearing in several European competitions and regularly participating in the UEFA Champions League, FC Shakhtar Donetsk is the top Ukrainian football club from the city of Donetsk. Built on a strong foundation of history and philosophy, as well as a clear vision of the future, the club is leading the way in the Ukraine. 

Winning the league the last five years in a row, FC Shakhtar is currently the premier club in the Ukraine. Shakhtar has also become one of the top European clubs outside of Europe’s big four.

It speaks to the kind of coach and soccer mind that Cardoso is that a club of the highest caliber would seek out the Portuguese coach to run their U21 team. There is no coach better qualified to take on the challenge than Cardoso, as he assumed the position in April 2013.

Cardoso was ready for the task of coaching at FC Shakhtar. “Any challenge, if you make the proper daily analyses, can make you grow. Coaching the highest level football in Europe, having the chance to play Champions League and Europa League games, managing different tasks among the technical team, from match analyses to preparation of training sessions and its real operationalization, has made me grow.”

Cardoso came to Shakhtar after working under Domingos Paciencia as an assistant coach for the Spanish club Deportivo (La Coruna), SC Braga, and Academica Coimbra. Before that he was a fitness coach for both SC Braga and CF “Os Belenenses” and Cardoso got some of his earliest experience as a youth coach for FC Porto. All of these experiences have helped him to grow.

When Cardoso speaks of his early days at FC Porto, he speaks about the club’s coaching philosophies and the invaluable impact it had on his understanding of coaching. “The club’s philosophy regarding the coaching staff, didn’t allow coaches to separate the different aspects of team performance both in the role of coaches and also in the way we should build up the contents, the exercises for the training sessions. Those years gave me a good background in terms of understanding the training as an integrated process as opposed to developing the different parts of the athlete or the team by themselves.”

It’s clear that FC Porto’s club philosophies had an impact on Cardoso, but it might just be Cardoso that leaves the impact on Shakhtar this time around. As one of Shakhtar’s four core values is “Knowledge: There is always a better way to do things.” This is exactly what Cardoso brings to the table for Shakhtar with his coaching experience-knowledge.

During his career, Cardoso has had firsthand experience in every position on a coaching staff as he has spent significant time at the highest levels of the game in Portugal, Spain, and the Ukraine. This allows him to see the game in a different light than others can, as he says, “football is too much of a game to be a science, but implies too much science to be just a game.”

Cardoso will be presenting two field sessions in Philadelphia. The first will be “Team Building-Creating a Defensive Pattern,” and the second of which will be “Offensive and Defensive Transitions”. Defense is something that Cardoso feels passionately about. “I believe that defensive organization is the base for achieving high levels of performance in football. Like it is common to say 'a good house needs good foundations,' so if you can have the team organized on defense. I'm confident that we can not only prevent major problems with our goal, but also make good offensive transitions either in terms of deep or wide actions. Also another expression is quite useful to characterize what I think: Offense wins games but defense win championships!”

Cardoso's first field session, “Team Building-Creating a Defensive Pattern” will be Friday, Jan. 17 at 1 p.m. and his second field session, "Offensive and Defensive Transitions” will be Saturday, Jan. 18 at 12:45 p.m.

Register for the 2014 Convention online, then add Cardoso's field sessions to your personalized Convention schedule.

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