The History And Importance Of Eduardo Berizzo’s Coaching Staff
As the saying goes, a coach is only as good as those that he surrounds himself with. This is a concept that Eduardo Berizzo understands perfectly. The Argentine has a great relationship with his coaching staff and most of them have been with him since the start of his career as a manager. Spending nearly a decade together training teams breeds understanding, trust, and, most importantly, success.
When Berizzo was in talks with Athletic to become the new manager, the biggest topic of discussion was wages. Not necessarily wages for himself, but rather for his coaching staff. Toto’s goal was to bring his entire staff with him to Bilbao and that is exactly what he did. Roberto Bonano, Mariano Uglessich, Pablo Fernández, Carlos Kisluk, and right-hand man Ernesto Marucci have all followed Berizzo to the San Mamés.
Looking back at the beginning of Berizzo’s coaching career puts things into perspective. He got his start as an assistant for the Chilean National Team under Marcelo Bielsa, who had also coached him as a player. The two were close and learned a lot from each other. Berizzo took his first managerial role at Estudiantes de La Plata and it was there that he began to form his trusted staff.
Assistant Coach Ernesto Marucci, Second Assistant Roberto Bonano, and Goalkeeping Coach Carlos Kisluk were all members Berizzo’s first coaching staff and have stayed loyal throughout. They followed Berizzo to O’Higgins the next season and were joined by Physical Conditioning Coach Pablo Fernández. The four coaches perfectly understood what Toto demanded of them, the team, and the players. He believed in his staff and trusted them to carry out his orders which they did with precision.
Berizzo achieved a lot at O’Higgins and caught the eye of Celta Vigo in 2014. When the Argentine made the decision to accept their proposal all of his staff followed and the group continued to find success, this time in La Liga. When Berizzo announced that he would be leaving Celta in the summer of 2017 the fans were heartbroken but gave him a lovely sendoff to show their affection and appreciation for everything he had done for the club.
The exit from Celta also coincided with Ernesto Valverde’s decision to leave Athletic Club. Berizzo was considered for the job, but the decision was made to name Kuko Ziganda the new coach. In response, Toto accepted an offer from Sevilla where his staff followed him yet again. This time a new name was added to the staff. Mariano Uglessich, who had played under Berizzo at O’Higgins and had just retired from football, joined the group at Sevilla as a third assistant coach.
As most know, Berizzo’s time at Sevilla did not go according to plan. A few months into the season he was diagnosed with cancer and had to take a leave of absence. Ernesto Marucci coached the team in his place and in December, after returning from his battle with cancer, Berizzo was relieved of his duties. The Argentine did not rush into a new job and made the decision to wait until the summer for the right position to open up. Meanwhile, his staff stayed loyal and waited as well.
Around January or February Athletic first made contact with Berizzo and it was the job that he had been waiting for. Toto had learned a lot about the Basque giants through his close relationship with Bielsa and had grown to love the way the club was run. From the focus on youth development and holding to a unique identity to the wonderful fans and atmosphere around the city, it was Berizzo’s dream job. He was named the new manager in late May and brought his trusted five-man staff with him to the San Mamés.
The importance of Berizzo’s staff is already evident in his first week of training at Lezama. Each day, under Toto’s direction, his assistants take groups of players to other fields to work on specific things. The staff knows what the manager expects from everyone and are able to carry out his plans with meticulous precision. As usual, Berizzo will oversee certain parts of training while at other times he will move around from group to group and give correction and encouragement. Bringing the team together for larger drills allows for even more teaching.
Berizzo has planned out every detail of each training session and his staff play a big role in carrying that out. The six coaches work as one to accomplish a singular goal and it is paying off in a big way. The players are catching on to things really quickly which has allowed Berizzo to already begin implementing his system. Every day the team is getting better and Athletic look poised for a strong season.
Every manager is different, whether in personality or coaching style. Some prefer to be very hands on while others thrive on delegating. Throughout his coaching career Berizzo has found a beautiful balance between the two and always values the opinions and ideas of his assistants. He has built a staff that work together as one, with great relationships, which has played a major role in his success since taking his first job at Estudiantes. Eduardo Berizzo, and his coach staff, has brought hope and expectations back to Athletic Club fans and there is reason to be excited about the season to come.