Athletic Recovery & Performance Podcast

Steve Tashjian-US Men's National Team Head Performance Specialist

August 22, 2020 Steve Tashjian Season 1 Episode 12
Athletic Recovery & Performance Podcast
Steve Tashjian-US Men's National Team Head Performance Specialist
Chapters
Athletic Recovery & Performance Podcast
Steve Tashjian-US Men's National Team Head Performance Specialist
Aug 22, 2020 Season 1 Episode 12
Steve Tashjian

🎧 Podcast episode #13  Iron sharpens Iron

Steve Tashjian is the US Men’s National soccer team Head Performance Specialist.  Steve started his career as a Physical Therapist and S & C coach in Pasadena.  Steve had some early connections with the LA Galaxy with early mentor Jim Listin(@jimlistonfc) who is the co-founder of CATZ physical therapy and now the Director of Sports Science with Toronto FC which lead him down a path where he now finds himself with the US National Team.

Steve has a unique journey who is one of the few, if not only, Head of Performance in the US who also has journeyed through Europe as Head of Sports Science with Everton Football Club from 2009-2014.

In 2014 Steve came back to the Columbus Crew to work under coach Gregg Berhalter and when Gregg was hired to coach the National Team Steve also joined his team.  The U.S. Men’s National Team learned its schedule for the Final Round of 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying following the official draw at FIFA House in Zurich, Switzerland, on Wednesday. The USMNT will open its 14-game Final Round World Cup Qualifying slate in June 2021 away to an undetermined opponent.

 This podcast takes us through Steve’s journey and how he has developed the philosophies he has today as he helps the team prepare for the 2021 qualifying matches.  We also go into detail on the challenges he and his team have collaborating with players and other clubs where these players spend most of their time training.  Lastly, we talk about the upsides of the Covid pandemic and how it has allowed his team to become better partners with these clubs and athletes as they launch a completely updated communication and data sharing system.  If you are a soccer geek this podcast is for you!

 Steve Tashjian

Steve’s Twitter @ussoccer_mnt

Please find Anthony Kjenstad and firefly™
Email:  [email protected]
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/athleticrecoveryandperformance/notifications/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/fireflyrecovery
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fireflyrecovery/
Website: https://recoveryfirefly.com/

Show Notes Transcript

🎧 Podcast episode #13  Iron sharpens Iron

Steve Tashjian is the US Men’s National soccer team Head Performance Specialist.  Steve started his career as a Physical Therapist and S & C coach in Pasadena.  Steve had some early connections with the LA Galaxy with early mentor Jim Listin(@jimlistonfc) who is the co-founder of CATZ physical therapy and now the Director of Sports Science with Toronto FC which lead him down a path where he now finds himself with the US National Team.

Steve has a unique journey who is one of the few, if not only, Head of Performance in the US who also has journeyed through Europe as Head of Sports Science with Everton Football Club from 2009-2014.

In 2014 Steve came back to the Columbus Crew to work under coach Gregg Berhalter and when Gregg was hired to coach the National Team Steve also joined his team.  The U.S. Men’s National Team learned its schedule for the Final Round of 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying following the official draw at FIFA House in Zurich, Switzerland, on Wednesday. The USMNT will open its 14-game Final Round World Cup Qualifying slate in June 2021 away to an undetermined opponent.

 This podcast takes us through Steve’s journey and how he has developed the philosophies he has today as he helps the team prepare for the 2021 qualifying matches.  We also go into detail on the challenges he and his team have collaborating with players and other clubs where these players spend most of their time training.  Lastly, we talk about the upsides of the Covid pandemic and how it has allowed his team to become better partners with these clubs and athletes as they launch a completely updated communication and data sharing system.  If you are a soccer geek this podcast is for you!

 Steve Tashjian

Steve’s Twitter @ussoccer_mnt

Please find Anthony Kjenstad and firefly™
Email:  [email protected]
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/athleticrecoveryandperformance/notifications/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/fireflyrecovery
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fireflyrecovery/
Website: https://recoveryfirefly.com/

Anthony Kjenstad :

Hello, my name is Anthony Kjenstad and welcome to the Athletic Recovery and Performance podcast. In this podcast you'll follow my journey of understanding the science behind recovering performance and the technologies that help us get there. I will be interviewing athletes and the behind the scenes professionals that help these athletes reach optimal performance and recovery. In this podcast, I get to speak with Steve Tashjian. He is the US men's national soccer team head performance specialist. Steve started his career as a physical therapist and strength and conditioning coach in Pasadena when he got an opportunity to work under early mentor Jim Liston with the LA Galaxy. Steve has a unique journey and is one of the few if not only head of performance in the US who is also journey through Europe as head of sports science with Everton football club from 2019 to 14. This podcast takes us through Steve's journey and how he has developed philosophies has today as he helps the US men's national team prepare for the 2021 qualifying matches. If you're a soccer fanatic, this is the podcast For you, so are you. Are you based out of Chicago now? Right?

Steve Tashjian :

No, they let me stay in Columbus man. So all the good, yeah, I'm still in Columbus. And we we said we try it and see how things are working and so far so good. Both sides are happy so that that was a real blessing. I'm grateful that they gave me the opportunity to try that out. So that's where we're at man still in Columbus, Ohio.

Anthony Kjenstad :

Nice, nice. Well, um, you know, I'll kind of just jump into it. The goal of this podcast is not to promote me or Firefly or anything like that. It's really just my background in orthopaedics of 20 years selling DME was trying to understand how to sell better how to understand what my customer wanted, but also just dive down in to the site of everything. So, you know, at Kerlan Jobe, they were kind enough to let me sit in all the fellowship talks. Every week, I bring in bagels and coffee and I sit in the back room and I learned about posterior lateral corner and do some, I'm selling braces to that stuff, but I don't really always know why I'm bracing it, and what they're looking for. So, I spent my 20 years of my first career figuring, you know, how do I fit? How do I, how am I the best partner? And now firefly(www.recoveryfirefly.com) is a is a side product of(www.gekodevices.com) geko, which is a medical technology that was developed to prevent blood clots after surgery. Correct. And, you know, when I got thrust into this performance world and selling this technology, and I'm trying to learn, where do I fit? How do I fit? What's important? What I realized is, I don't know a lot about sports. I mean, yeah, foundationally I know. You know, baseball plays this many games, but I don't really understand the travel schedule. I don't understand the dynamics of the training room. I don't understand who I'm selling to. Like, who's my customer, if I'm selling recovery, is it's the sports scientist. If they ave one is it the athletic trainer? Is it strength and conditioning? Some of them get along, some of them don't get a lot, you know, just that role, political. So, in this downtime of COVID, I said, you know, I'm in these cool conversations. I think my buddies would like to hear these conversations. I'm trying to go a little deeper, develop relationships, but also understand what your day to day looks like and how can I fit in with what I have and what maybe I'm looking at in the future. So that's kind of the goal podcast I think interesting for you and understanding kind of your journey. You started off as a physical therapist, actually in a local clinic, right across Dr. Adamson's since group sounded like got a little bit of a stint with the LA Galaxy while you were there. And then your first real role into performance was with the Columbus Crew at a strength and conditioning level. Walk me through how you got there. How do you start off at PT and ended up in a strength and conditioning role and then kind of where you're at now if you could walk me through that journey.

Steve Tashjian :

Yeah, it's like anything else, man, you don't see it coming. You know, it's it's one thing kind of leads to another. And that very first role I had when I got out of PT school. Fit what I was looking for I knew I had a very functional philosophy from a PT perspective. I knew I had a passion for strength coaching as well. What would now be called more performance coaching than anything else. And all of it was wrapped up into one role really, in that first facility I worked in. I was, you know, assisting Jim Liston at the time, he was the head fitness coach with the LA Galaxy who was my boss and I could be on the field with him in the mornings, I'm gonna be treating patients in the afternoons and working with athletes in the evenings like it was all encompassing in that first role, and that filled my first year at school. Then I had a stint there where we had I had my own practice with some business partners down in San Diego private facility, strengthen conditioning and physical therapy facility down in San Diego. And right about the time when I was starting to look at, you know, whether it was time to move on the head coach that was in LA when I was in LA had now moved to Columbus, Zigi Schmid. And he needed a head fitness coach. There's some communication that took place between you know, mutual friends and the next thing you know, next thing I knew I was in Columbus, so a lot of it was the people I knew the circumstances I was in the opportunities that present themselves. My wife was from Ohio. So going to Columbus made a lot of sense. And and that's how I got from, you know, from a graduate student in Southern California to you know, a head fitness coach in Columbus and and enlisting, then from there it was just, you know, you you start to you just start to you know iron sharpens iron, right you're you're you're working at your craft, you're making mistakes, you're having some success and then you're slowly you know, increasing your knowledge in improving your skill set. And we spent a couple of pre seasons in the in the UK when I was with Columbus the first time around. And a lot of the time we spent in the UK was either it was in and around Everton's training facility, and we were either playing them playing the reserves in a preseason game or we're, you know, the following year in 2008. We actually use their training ground for a week as our home training ground during preseason while we were there and you just got to know some people all day and names all of a sudden became familiar faces become familiar and then the opportunity popped up. And again circumstance was that David Moyes wanted an American fitness coach trying to staff and he was working with athletes performance at the time. And my name popped up you know, long story short, even though I probably wasn't the strongest candidate on paper, because I was a physical therapist, I think it's separated me from the other performance coaches and because I was American, you know, that the manager wanted an American fitness coach. So I found myself in England, you know, and then had five great years in the UK, and spent a lot of time there. really fine tuning, you know, different elements of the skill set necessary to become performance director, you know, I had the opportunity to lead sports science departments to be the director of kind of end stage rehabilitation to work in conjunction with a with a very unified Performance Team, where there was no titles, it was just roles and responsibilities. Everybody, you know, this one team, a philosophy in terms of how to address performance. And that gave me a whole perspective on, you know, what it took to lead a group like that. And then you start to just kind of think about if, if I was in that role, and I was leading a team like that, what would be my identity, what would be my philosophy and over time you develop that understanding, and then when you get an opportunity, be like, Okay, I know how to do if I had the chance. And when I came back to the States, I got that opportunity. We didn't plan on coming back to Columbus. But that, you know, that became the opportunity that was most advantageous for us as a family and I met Gregg Berhalter for the first time in the new ownership group. And you know, the club even though it was the same club, it was totally different environment and atmosphere and I was really excited but then in you know, we found ourselves in Columbus again, but now with a different role now having the opportunity to be Performance Director and now implement, you know, the things I said I would implement if I ever had the chance. And slowly but surely you, you work your way through the challenges of that particular type of environment. And you find yourself in a position where I feel like I have an identity of who I am as a performance director now. And we had for four and a half great years in Columbus together. And then when Gregg move on to the national team, he asked me to go with him. And that's how I've arrived with the US men's national team now. I've been there since January 2019. And we're ramping up to hopefully get started again here in October, you know, within these unprecedented times, planning on how we're going to qualify for a World Cup.

Anthony Kjenstad :

And that goal, World Cup if correct me if I'm wrong is 2026. Right. So you've got 2022 Oh, got it. Yeah. So you've got it. Yeah. Now know you've got camps coming up here traditionally in I believe, October November, how was your MLS change of their season going to affect some of the players that may have came from the MLS and the Premier League Are you going to have any negative effect on these camps are you had to move them around?

Steve Tashjian :

We're restricted and moving them around because the government FIFA, the governing body has to decide how that's going to happen. And then that trickles down to our region, which is called CONCACAF(CONCACAF.com) and the committee at CONCACAF has to decide how that applies to us in our region. And those things are we're starting to get more answers to what that looks like. And it's giving us some more clarity. The way the leagues have shaped have shaken out, it actually does affect. You know how we're going to form these rosters for these camps. I do believe it's going to affect it on a pretty significant level. The Premier League is going to start their new season at a double time then the Bundesliga is in Germany and it's going to start at a different time than France. It's going to start at a different time than Italy in Spain so now you've got all these leagues so usually start at a somewhat similar timeframe, all starting at different times. And usually the September window is, is timed pretty well, most legal start sometime in the middle of August. They've got a couple of games under their belt with their teams in the September window comes. And you've got this mix of MLS players and European bass players, you form roster and you play your September game for September Windows has has been canceled for us. And now as we look towards October, what we're really trying to navigate is what are our travel restrictions going to be? You know, there's several countries that we can't travel to currently, and if the camp was tomorrow, we couldn't go to Europe in many areas a year we can't go. And then the other thing is, you know, our team's afraid to come to the United States. We haven't quite gotten have everything under control here in the US. And I could see national teams choosing not to play games in the US. And then the other. You know, the other constraint is let's say everything's let's say everything's level pecking, and we want to pick our roster. Now you've got a player at a certain club, and on an individual level, the club doesn't want the player to come to the United States, for fear of contraction of virus, whatever it might be. We're gonna have to navigate through all this. But we've between our head coach, our technical director, Brian McBride, you know, sporting director, Ernie Stewart, the timing, the organization, the decisions for final rosters, and what it's going to look like is being handled by really smart people. And, you know, in the end, I'm in a position where I'm just waiting for instructions so I can step in and fulfill my role and, you know, get a group of guys on the field, start training up Haven't coached in a long time, and I'm starting to get the itch to, to blow a whistle. And

Anthony Kjenstad :

Believe me, I'm on the sales side. And I'm going a little crazy because I'm still 90% in the medical world. And the beautiful thing is nobody, I'm competing with nobody because nobody's out selling so I'm not losing customers. But I'm also finding the right time of when you when when do you open the door? And then when you go back into the clinic setting and stuff, so it's so it's interesting. So I was doing a little research on you. And I thought it was interesting and my journey into the sports performance world that when you went to Everest when you said there, there wasn't a high performance culture there and you had to develop one and you had to sell one to 2530 athletes on where do you think the high performance culture sits inside the MLS? And different proteins in the US I feel like they're still A lot of work to do. There's still an adoption with some groups and almost no adoption with other groups. What do you feel? You know? Is it because the roll you mean you got there one way, right? through physical therapy through connections, etc? Maybe somebody like a club Brewer, who I interviewed a couple weeks ago, he went through a strength and conditioning role to get where he's at is, is it because there's no direct path? And then secondary to that? in the European culture, there is no like athletic trainer, right, where in the US, there are a big component of the medical side. kind of explain where you think high performance is right now. And where you see it going?

Steve Tashjian :

Yeah, I think the starting point is that you can achieve high performance in a lot of with a lot of different organizational structures. I think That's important to point out. And there's I definitely have a preference of what I think is the the best way to get there. But the most important thing from the start is that there's an understanding and a commitment to it from the top down. The most difficult environments are where the, the powers above you have a certain pocket and place where they want you to stay. And if you don't have any access to anything other than that bubble, they've put you in, you're being you're being blocked from the ability to affect things on a greater level. The In my opinion, the number one thing that leads to high performance environments is the integration, the collaboration, the the communication, the clear communication And planning and understanding of roles that takes place in an environment where there are no barriers. There is no, you know, doors don't close. Instead, you know, you're you're uniquely involved in understanding areas that maybe in conventional old school setups, you'd have no place. You know, those are those are really important aspects, not just in the sporting world. I mean, that's, that's corporate one on one, you know, we started to see that make its way into sport, but it started in manufacturing. You know, the Toyota and Japanese car manufacturers started to show us what high performance looked like, because of the collaborative nature of the way they worked, because of the team first philosophy that they all had, and then that started to bleed in the military. And you, you know, you start to get this, you know, decentralized command type of thought process where it's about enabling people to lead. It's about a group of really diverse, highly skilled individuals coming together to solve a single problem, there's usually some sort of individual directing that whole process. But those on the team all uniquely have the ability to lead. They're all required to lead something. But when they come together as a group, there, they're all required to allow their unique skill set to make everybody better. And any, any time in my opinion, there are rules or structure organizational structures that block any of those things from happening, it becomes difficult to create optimal high performance environments. That that's that might be what's missing in, in certain places at times. I've seen, you know, I've seen places where it's, it's clear that there's titles, and there's hierarchies. And but because of the people it works, right? Not necessarily because of the structure, I think there are, there's clearly the opportunity for any structure to be successful. But what you do is you become more and more reliant on people making it work. Whereas I think you can start to tweak things out at times where the structure provides a certain stability, still going to depend on people. But the structure maybe can make it easier to identify the problems that are preventing you from being as optimal as possible and maybe a little bit more transparent. And that's sometimes what gets missed no matter what It's gonna come down to people. But sometimes you can make it harder on those people based on maybe the lack of efficiency of the system, lack of efficiency of the organizational structure.

Anthony Kjenstad :

And this may be just the sales guy and me but it's sometimes it also seems like a lack of you might hire the right people or a right person, but maybe you don't put some additional budget behind it to action and a timing behind it because nothing happens overnight. Right? I mean, yeah, it almost feels like the way I see performance and strength and conditioning bounce around the league that everybody has like a three year timeline, and then it's off, they're out to, you know, to the next. It's almost like watching reps in sales. You know, they're like, okay, they're always got their foot in the next bucket. Do you think sometimes these clubs are making a mistake by not putting not only a budget a bigger budget behind it, but a longer timeline for for people like yourself to be effective.

Steve Tashjian :

I actually think we get a little bit more stability when it comes to the performance roles than it does, you know, the technical staff roles, the coaching roles. I don't think budget guarantees your success. I don't think budget shows. I don't think budget is the sole way for an organization to show support either. I think the importance of support is the main is the main point, you know, from the top down. You know, do you give individuals the freedom to be innovative? Do you give people the freedom where possible to make moves and have agility? Those those things are really important. Budgets are fantastic. You it definitely opens up your world, but smaller budgets makes you a better problem solver. And I think more innovation comes from small budgets than it does from big budgets. So in that particular regard, I can see where budget helps the process, but it's not vital. And, you know, I think more than anything else, the support that we want to see from from a performance perspective is more of the freedom to be heard more have the freedom to have an effect. Because what we're what we're most concerned about, from a, you know, a pure if I have my performance coach hat on and I'm talking from, you know, pure of heart would be, we just want to, you know, raise the awareness of human potential, right, I mean, that that's really what this is optimal human performance as an, we don't know what that ceiling looks like. But to get closer and closer to the ceiling, you need less than less restriction and you need more and more freedom. And what that looks like within a given organization, you know, changes based on the organization's emphasis, whether it's winning games, or it's making sales, either way changes, but the the overall freedom for innovation, the freedom to be a team member have the freedom to take the lead when it's appropriate, the freedom to support when it's appropriate, but also the freedom to be, you know, to have the ability to be a fly on the wall and listen, sometimes is all we're asking at times when we don't even get that then that's, I've seen that in different environments I've been in and it's made big, big differences. But yes,

Anthony Kjenstad :

it happens start interrupted happens to me a lot in sales. I've helped products come to market. And it's hard to be involved in a lot of conversations that you don't even want to be involved in necessarily, but you want to be a fly on the wall. boots in the street, right and you know, It's just it's interesting, how are two, both sides relate so much to business in which you're doing your It's so frustrating being the boots on the street and really kind of having a gauge of what the customer wants, which is your athlete. Right, and then not being a part of some of these higher end conversations where decisions are being made in a box. Yeah. And then it actually comes to be applied. It doesn't fit.

Unknown Speaker :

Right. Yeah. So it happens. Yeah.

Anthony Kjenstad :

So you know, I've heard you say high performance model is designed to solve problems and and direct skilled and diverse team. What are your high perform? What were your high performance questions when that you were trying to answer when you joined the US men's national team, and and have things changed post COVID? Are there additional questions that you're challenged with now that you're working through?

Steve Tashjian :

Yeah, that's a great question. That's a great question. I think we came in at an interesting time, because Because as a federation, we we failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. And coming into this particular period, this training cycle, I think we had a good idea of where we, where we needed to be as a culture. We wanted players to continue to be really passionate about being part of the national team. The there was, there's some transition periods that you were navigated by some, some very, very selfless people, as we as we came out of 2018, and it was time for clarity and some clarity and direction. You know, we had intern positions and it's difficult To establish direction when when when, you know your role as an intern role. And then when we came in, it was like, Alright, these are permanent positions. And now I felt like the players, the community, everybody wanted clarity, and they wanted to know direction. And I think that has to start, in our opinion, you know, you've got to get into the, into the environment and from a player's perspective, you have to start to really lay the foundation for what we're going to be about. And that was that was I think the the, Greg did an amazing job with Ernie and the folks that were a part of the first year was, we've got to be really clear about what our identity is going to be. And I can't I mean, I remember coming home from our first camp in January of 2000. It was a four week camp. And I remember telling my wife, that was the most satisfying four weeks I've had in my career, just just to know how much work was put into the, you know, the, the process of developing what we thought we wanted to be, and then opening it up for the players to have their input. And to watch it all come together. It was was really, really cool. I mean, that, you know, to, to be a part of that was was a blessing. And when we left that, I thought, the, you know, I thought we had done something really special from from laying the groundwork, and then you just try to build on that throughout the rest of it. And I think we have seen an identity come to the, you know, come to the forefront of who we are as a group. We built that brotherhood again, you know, and I follow the guys on social media and they're there, it doesn't matter if they're playing MLS, or they're playing in Europe, doesn't matter if they're 30 years old, or if they're 18. There is a connection, there's a support, there's always an awareness. There's always an awareness of who's doing what, who's done, well, who needs, you know, who needs a quick message to say, hey, it's gonna be okay. I'm watching guys who go through certain types of injuries that their longer term and watch the support that comes from around the globe from this, you know, this group of players that now was bonded together through a certain identity. And I think that was probably from the from the outset, was was the we wanted to train we needed to get stuff done on the field, but even the things we did on the field was really about driving home the identity really, in we came out of that camp, and I've I don't think I've ever been as as buzzin as I was When I came home from that January came

Anthony Kjenstad :

one, I think one of the mantras that you when you took this position that I listened to you talk about was just over communicating with the clubs that these players belong to. And talk about how that works. When you see an injury, one of your players goes down and they may play for a premier league team. You get involved in those decisions, and you help communicate with those other performance departments on best options are things you've seen that may have helped that maybe they're not looking at, is there a collaboration there? When it comes to that? Or if you see a player, maybe make a tweet on Twitter that says, maybe there's a mental aware or a health thing do you? Do you get involved in that and kind of keep your team around that?

Steve Tashjian :

Our performance department us again, we're a group of guys with different roles and responsibilities and those those individuals on the Performance Team who and whose roles are medically based. Ron Schulte who's our head athletic trainer and leads the medical efforts for our performance team and his staff Kenny, he and the other folks on the medical side, George champion's Chief Medical Officer Byron Patterson, you know, guys that are heavily burdened and Obama who I'm sure you know, ya know, they're all they're all a part of a process that is normal in club and international team relationships. But, you know, we, we know, we need the clubs, because they, they train, they do a majority of the training throughout the year for players, we have them very limited timeframes, and we have them during these international windows, but a majority of their training and care takes place with their clubs and when something like an injury does take place. There is an understood communication. Even if the injury is minor when they become when they become more severe, then you know Ron and George and Bert will get involved in the process of saying, Hey, you know, what's the plan in general how you guys feeling? And then they, in certain instances will, through a collaborative effort, maybe get a second opinion here in the United States, you know, some of us the player, the player might want to come and have a second second opinion in the United States side, where are we gonna have surgery? Do we have surgery who's going to do it? Those types of things are natural part of the relationships that you find between clubs and international teams. So I would say that it's definitely part of the normal process. From my perspective, the communication that takes place while the players healthy is extremely important. We want to be extremely transparent from an National Team perspective. I've been on the other side. And I've been in a position where our players leave on national team duty, and I hear nothing from the national teams. And it's difficult, it's difficult because you want to plan for what's appropriate for when they returned to you. You want to have, you want to have the most transparent, clean, collaborative, streamlined process for the player. It's not for me, it's for the player. So we feel like if we maintain a player first perspective, which is a big part of our culture, as a staff, then that is the right filter for us to to pass through when we want to make decisions. And the one thing we've gotten out of this COVID period is, as a performance staff, we've been able to reevaluate everything we do, including how we interact with clubs. And we'll we're pretty much You know, maybe three, four days away from having a massive outreach to these clubs to reconnect and introduce some of these new platforms that are that are going to share information in a transparent way for clubs in a way that I don't think has ever been done before. And I remember when I was on the club side, thinking, just would love to have more information about how my players doing. We don't want to be super invasive either. When the players with their national teams, I don't want to be calling you every three days because you guys have a job to do now too. And, but if there was a more passive process, that led to an occasional phone call to just have clarity, I don't I mean, I think that's massively necessary. So we're looking to provide more of a we want more access, for performance coaches at clubs, to be able to access things through portal dashboards just so they can see and communicate and exchange information as quickly as possible. And that's been, I think, an emphasis from the start. So when you mentioned some of the things that we've said as a staff, whether it be myself, Darcy Norman, Ron tional, about really wanting to open up the communication and be really transparent, what we're referring to is just this quest to be a very streamline player first partner, in the way in which we get this individual to perform at a high level, regardless of who they're with that that's the key. And the communication part of it is massive, massive,

Anthony Kjenstad :

the beautiful thing is you've learned to deal with working remotely with these athletes as opposed to like the clubs who have them in their, in their facilities all the time. So I would assume you're going to be a thought leader and you guys are going to really be able to show a lot of innovation. Have to these clubs and make the exchange of communication better. You know, everybody wants to talk about the negative of COVID. But But I think there's some positives that I've heard around COVID. In the NBA bubble they've had, they've gotten to know the players better. They've gotten to know the gyms better. They've gotten to know the coaches better, because they're all in a bubble and they, they have to live in that space. What are the positives in your mind that are going to come out of this? As far as changes in the training room or changes the way that you interact with your athletes or, or even maybe they're more acceptance to be monitored or have a wearable that might detect that early stages of COVID? Or some of the things you're hearing about these different technologies? What are the positives that you think that come out of come out of this?

Steve Tashjian :

I think first and foremost, I can speak exclusively to, to us as a national team. We were we We were pretty proactive in making sure that we came out of this period. And that was, you know, we we made progress. So, you know, there's no way we would have had time to rebuild platforms and create new models to the level that we are able to do it in the last three to four months. Jordan Webb, who is our head of data science has been really busy. He's worked really hard to create new platforms for us to use to exchange information to visualize information in a different way and to plan better. And that's been a massive part of, of the way we've been able to progress. We've taken a really deep look at what information we have available to us to greater assess based on metal medical history based on availability trends, based on in in camp and out of Camp screenings. Or do we have individuals who are more at risk from an availability standpoint because of these variables, medical history, so on and so forth. And that tool allows us it, it updates itself on a regular basis for us to see how this list changes over time. But it gives us the ability to focus our attention quickly to the people and players that we need to focus our attention to. And that's going to ebb and flow and change over time. But now we can action our communication with clubs and be more efficient in how we prioritize that communication. And, and really deep dive with the club and say here, what this is what we're seeing, what are you guys seeing how can we collaboratively monitor this, so that maybe now there's a consistent metric, maybe you're measuring something very specific with him at the club, maybe we need to measure it here. And we'll we'll carry that same measure. When they're in camp with us, the other side of it may be we identify something that they haven't seen. And then we create, maybe it's because we're monitoring it in camp. And now made, we translate that to something that they continue to monitor while they're at their club. And now we're exchanging metrics that are apples for apples, and we can track things over time together as a group, this period has given us the opportunity to create some really cool platforms that I think aren't fluff, they're going to make us better. And that's the big thing. Jordan builds something now, I can build camps, before they even happen. And we can now have load projections. And those load projections then can be, we can overlay the information that comes from the club. So if I get four weeks of GPS data from the club, and I can process that four weeks of data from an acute chronic load perspective, and I can see how that's going to project over the camp that I've already built. Now all of a sudden, you might see on an individual level, specific date. That could be that could put a specific player at risk. And then we can modify that day we can monitor it as it comes closer. And maybe I already have three days notice to myself to my coaching staff that we're going to have to watch this specific player as we approach Match Day minus three HDMI as to whatever it might be based on what they've done for four weeks with their club. And that's what we want to communicate to the club's, you know, and this is this is all about the player period. And that's, I think that period, it's been super productive for us to be able to use that period to do that. And where is that happening elsewhere? It's hard for me to evaluate that. But overall, I know that, in my communication with fellow colleagues, a lot of the emphasis in this period has been about what let's reevaluate everything we're doing and seeing how we can make it better.

Anthony Kjenstad :

Awesome, would you would you say that the players now are more open, I don't know how the MLS rates to me A MLB or an NBA in regards to player compliance, but you think this time has opened them up a little bit more to the monitoring isn't to monitor just a monitor, it's, it's to make you a better athlete and are they you feel like this is an opening them up to seen that side of it a little differently. I imagine

Steve Tashjian :

it's got to have a positive effect. It's hard to speak to the other environments and we're lucky in our environment, that our players are fantastic. They there is an understanding in our culture that one, the monitoring, we do results in, in planning it, it's directly affects how we move forward. And we've never had issues. The compliance has been really fantastic. So but I think it's also because they understood this that's just the way we operate. And then in other in other circumstances where we Maybe it wasn't a part of the culture before this, these times, I imagined that, you know, you could see players their paradigm shift could could happen, you know, this could be a catalyst for it would, it would make sense, but I have no real, I can't tangibly really tell you much about what's happening in other bubbles. But you know, there was a lot of data sharing taking place in the MLS bubble. And collectively, the monitoring was to keep everybody safe. And I imagine that that will have a positive influence on the mindset of the players.

Anthony Kjenstad :

Well, hey, I do appreciate your time. I've had you for 42 minutes and I've appreciated the journey into what you guys are doing so any last remarks, any any any comments on kind of your your run the 2022 and then I'll let you go.

Steve Tashjian :

Now, I think it's going to be the thing I'm excited about is We're going to come out of this period and we want to see whether we've done the work to be further ahead than other Federation's, you know, this is a, this is crunch time now who Kaka calf is released, what the next, you know, two years, two and a half years is going to look like as we lead to the 2022 World Cup and pretty much from January on, you know, we're in international competitions, that means something, these aren't going to be friendlies anymore and qualifying is, you know, something that we can touch now we can reach out and touch it. So what we're hoping is, you know, that we've, we've done the work necessary to put ourselves in really good position to be further ahead and, and have a great chance at at, you know, playing in Qatar in 2022. So that's the emphasis. Let's, let's see, let's see how good we were, you know, did we make a difference? Did we progress We're about to find out.

Anthony Kjenstad :

Well, it looks like the team you guys have put together is phenomenal. So I see nothing but upside in where you guys are going. And, again, I truly appreciate your time. opening my eyes a little bit to what keeps you up at night. And thanks so much for for being a partner with us and anything I can do in the in the future, please let me know.

Steve Tashjian :

No worries, man. If you're in that sprinter and you swing through Columbus, just give me a little BP buck. I'll come out front. I'll bring you some coffee. Sounds good.

Anthony Kjenstad :

Thanks a lot for your time, Steve. I appreciate it.

Steve Tashjian :

All right. All right. Thanks, buddy.

Anthony Kjenstad :

Have a good one. All right. Well, podcastle 12 in the books, I hope you guys are still enjoying the content and haven't tuned me out yet. I enjoy doing this and I hope some of these podcasts have given you guys some thoughts on what it is to be in High Performance Base And out of that podcast, I really actually got some good perspective on just basic Running a business and building a team around your business. So I hope you guys enjoyed that as well. Again if you do have time I would certainly appreciate you guys going on to Apple podcasts and giving a review. And also subscribing certainly helps the ego out here on an island developed in this on my own but hope you guys are enjoying it and hope you have a great day.