Tommy Buono has long held onto the idea that he’d someday find a way to use his passion for soccer to give back to the youth in the Winchester community, though finding the necessary time has proved a hindrance to taking on such an endeavor. A recent toe injury put an extended halt on his playing career, and it was the break he needed to lay the foundation for his own private training program.
Buono, who has spent the past three years overseas after graduating from Sherando High School in 2015, was in Winchester rehabbing the injury over Christmas break when Tommy’s Technical Training finally came to fruition. He launched a website – TommysTechnicalTraining.com – around two months ago and plans to hold his first sessions with his new clients once he returns home for the summer at the end of May.
Since graduating from high school, Buono has attended Marbella United FC, a full-time soccer academy located in Marbella, Spain, that offers U.S. accredited education to its student-athletes.
The creation of Tommy’s Technical Training (TTT) doesn’t signal the end of Buono’s pursuit of a professional playing career, he said, but will instead be a summertime side project – at least for now – for the former Sherando standout.
“I’m still putting whatever I can into following my dreams,” Buono said in a phone interview from Spain on Thursday morning, “but this is something that I kind of want to see how it does in Winchester, because if I can get it up and kind of build a little bit of a base for it then I would like to maybe in the future turn that into something that could really be beneficial.”
Buono’s plan for TTT is to offer personalized training sessions to local players between the ages of 8 and 18 years old. Running such a program is a first for the 20-year-old, though he said he’s worked youth soccer camps at Shenandoah University and in Northern Virginia in the past.
Buono hopes that his extensive playing experience – Marbella United FC competes against a mixture of amateur and professional clubs throughout Europe, according to the club’s website, and Buono’s also competing with a team in Leesburg over the summer – translates into rewarding one-on-one training sessions with each of his trainees.
“I’d like to kind of give back to Winchester. That’s where I started,” Buono said. “I feel like Winchester has a lot of potential. I’ve learned a lot of things that I wish I would’ve known as a kid growing up in Winchester, so I feel that there are a lot of things that I can give to the youth to kind of let them be a step ahead of the game. That’s the opportunity I wish I had, too.”
A talented forward who finished his high school career tied for second on Sherando’s career goals scoring list, Buono said his goal is to teach young players the “key elements” that all good soccer players possess regardless of what position they play.
“With soccer we have 11 players on the field and they all play different positions, but everybody needs the technical skill,” he said. “They need to be one with the ball. No matter whether you’re a defender or you’re an attacking player, you still need to be good with the ball in tight areas.”
However, Buono added that each session would contain personalized elements catered to each player’s role on the field. For example, Buono said one of his first clients plays left back.
“So maybe I won’t focus on so much, say, shooting or dribbling one-on-one with players, but I’ll definitely work on his passing, playing simple, taking not as many touches on the ball in the defensive half of the field,” Buono said. “And depending on the player, just kind of adapting the technical skill to certain players. So kind of designing like a little program depending on how many sessions they want.”
Buono’s website lists four different training packages, with the number of hour-long sessions ranging from two to 12.
Mountain View Christian Academy will serve as the primary location for Tommy’s Technical Training, though Buono said he’s hoping to secure a second facility by next week in order to add some more flexibility.
Buono, who noted that he’s trying to make the program as professional as possible within a short period of time, said he’s received some positive feedback about the venture.
“I already have interest with players, so I already have clients that I’ll be training and have scheduled sessions over the summer already,” he said. “I think the overall feedback is good. I haven’t really put it out there yet too much though.”