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Meet Matthew Railla of MJR Keeper Academy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Matthew Railla.

Hi Matthew, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I started coaching soccer when I was playing in college back in 2009. I initially wanted to start coaching goalkeepers because I wanted to be totally engulfed in the sport and the position so that even when I wasn’t playing myself, I was teaching others. This would help instill the concepts and the techniques of the game into my mind because I was explaining them to others. I would spend hours every day after school watching my goalkeeper coach, Ian Feuer, train goalkeepers and learn how to coach, both physically and psychologically.

As I finished college soccer and continued my playing career playing for amateur teams in Los Angeles, I continued coaching. I became the goalkeeper coach for a high school, several club teams and started to acquire my own 1-on-1 clients. The more I coached, the more I enjoyed teaching young athletes not only to improve their skills as goalkeepers but to also improve their confidence in themselves. I love the process of seeing them grow and become better athletes and people. It gave me immense joy to see my clients excited to show up to training and work hard and learn.

In 2013, I moved to Northern California to work in the wine industry after sustaining a leg injury that prevented me from playing for six months. Soon after moving up there, I connected with the head coach at Sonoma State University, Marcus Ziemer, and became the Men’s Soccer Goalkeeper Coach. I coached their goalkeepers for 6 years as well as the Women’s goalkeepers for 1 year. I absolutely loved working with the mens and womens goalkeepers and helping them maximize their potential. It was an amazing process because I would get to work with the goalkeepers for an extended period of time and really instill all of the physical and mental components of goalkeeping.

In the Fall of 2021, I decided to move back to Los Angeles and really focus on building my own goalkeeper academy and started MJR Keeper Academy. My focus is working with young athletes 1-on-1 and help them achieve their goals and dreams no matter how big or small. In this time I released a podcast for goalkeepers, “Goalkeeper Secrets” where I focus on the mental aspects of being a goalkeeper. In addition, I wrote a free e-book titled “The 10 Goalkeeper Secrets” that I give to my clients and any goalkeepers that are interested in learning more about goalkeeping. I have also written a long-form book, “The Mindful Keeper” that I have not released yet, but I believe will be an amazing book for goalkeepers of all ages to use to conquer the mental side of the position.

Since moving to LA, I have built my academy to have well over 10 clients and I also work with Culver City Football Club as their goalkeeper coach. I also do virtual sessions with goalkeepers in other states where I can break down their game footage and help improve their game.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
No, it definitely has not been a smooth road. In the beginning, the struggle was learning the ins and outs of coaching. There was so much for me to learn and how to work with young athletes, how to manage their personalities and how to get the best out of them. I made many mistakes in the beginning and had to grow as a person to understand those mistakes and learn from them. I needed to put in the time and keep going no matter how difficult it got. Even when it seems I wasn’t getting through to a client or felt like I was helping them make any progress, I had to trust in my process of getting through to them.

Also, coaching at the college level at the beginning was intimidating and it took me a while to really be confident in my abilities and decisions as a coach. I was working with older goalkeepers who were looking to me for guidance in so many areas and I had to earn their respect. It was a challenging time, but I needed that experience to help me grow and become a better coach.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
MJR Keeper Academy specializes in 1 on 1 goalkeeper sessions to maximize the physical and mental training. Group and camp training sessions are also available to allow us to create more game-realistic drills and situations. All training sessions focus on recreating game scenarios that allow the keeper to make mistakes and learn. I am dedicated to creating “mindful keepers” who are able to conquer the mental side of the game and reach their full potential!

I am most proud of being able to help young athletes be their best selves and provide them with knowledge and support to achieve their goals and dreams. MJR Keeper Academy is dedicated to providing not only the highest quality goalkeeper training but also creating mindful athletes who respect the game and themselves.

So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
People can support me by spreading the word about MJR Keeper Academy to people they know who have children who are goalkeepers. People who offer services or have products related to soccer and goalkeeping can collaborate with me by advertising through my services or being part of an event together.

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