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About Us

Welcome to Cantera Futbol, an organization dedicated to bringing the highest standard and most progressive training methods from some of Spain's top youth academies. Our mission is to help educate young soccer players in a unique environment and methodology. The idea is to teach games technical and tactical aspects in a way that is easy for the player to understand and apply. The Cantera method also works with a holistic approach in terms of character development as a key pillar of its philosophy. In addition, we provide a unique pathway for players looking to continue their coaching education in Spain. We invite you to contact us if want to know more about our services.

Cantera more than futbol...


Soccer creates a unique forum to help children develop a strong character and sense of independent thinking. Our training method encourages them to make decisions and come to conclusions based on guided discovery.

We also keep our parents informed of the content and objectives of our training to empower them to learn the method and reinforce it when they watch their children play. This creates a powerful "team" between the player, coach and, most important, parents which is needed in order to create a very positive environment for the child to learn the game. Our coaches are trained in the guided discovery method, encouraging the player to be independent and empowered through the process of asking and answering questions. Our goal is for the player to develop a growth mindset, which will help them have success on and off the field.


Cantera Futbol will look to create a positive learning environment with an emphasis on education, organization and leadership. We offer each player the opportunity to develop a passion for the game with a focus on creativity, technical confidence and tactical understanding, as well as being part of an environment where personal positive character development concepts are being constantly developed and influenced.

Mark Lugris

Meet the Directors

Mark Lugris

Technical Director  

Mark Lugris has a wide range of coaching experience for more than 20 years. As a Puerto Rican Soccer Hall of Fame inductee (2014), Mark's distinguished playing career is the cornerstone of his soccer education. As ENY State Champion with Hicksville Americans and two-time NY City and State Champion at Holy Cross High school in Queens. Mark was offered a scholarship to Fordham University (78-82).

After 4 successful years at Fordham University, Mark was the 20th pick in the 1982 NASL draft by the NY Cosmos. His professional playing career spanned 12 years with stops Houston, Columbus, MISL Champion Dallas Sidekicks, Toronto and Spain. Mark also played internationally representing Puerto Rico in 3 World Cups - (90-94-98) and 5 Caribbean Cups (92-93-95-97-99) reaching the finals in 1993 and achieving PRNT highest ever a FIFA ranking of 93rd in the world.

As a result of these accomplishments, Mark was inducted into the Fordham Athletic Hall of Fame and named NY City Soccer Gala Honoree (2014) Through his wealth of playing experience, Mark was exposed to many different coaching philosophies and management styles. He continues his soccer education by visiting top academies in Europe like Athletic de Bilbao and Futbol Club Barcelona and bases his methodology on the Royal Spanish Football Federations principles of how to teach the game to young players. Mark continues to strive to transfer his wealth of soccer experience to all players and coaches.

Alex Mendolia

Alex Mendolia

Director of International Affairs / College Assistance

Alex Mendolia is currently the Assistant Coach of Sky Blue FC of the NWSL, after returning from coaching overseas in Spain for EF Huesca pro youth academy and U.D. San Lorenzo del Flumen professional team of the Spanish 3rd Division. Before Spain, Coach Alex was the Head Men's Soccer Coach of St. Joseph's College for 2 years, leading the Golden Eagles to 7-1-1 and Conference Finals in his final Season. Prior to St. Joseph's, Alex spent three seasons as an Assistant for the LIU Post Men's soccer programs before at Stony Brook University in 2015. At Stony Brook University, Mendolia was the Assistant Coach for the Women's program. Before Stony Brook, in his three seasons with the LIU Post Men's Soccer Team, the Pioneers won three East Coast Conference regular season championships, two ECC Championships, an East Regional Championship and made three NCAA Tournament appearances. They achieved a no. 1 ranking in two of his three seasons, going 52-9-4 over the three-year span.

Before his time at LIU Post, Mendolia spent a season as the Assistant Men's Soccer Coach at Farmingdale State College, his alma mater. Mendolia played four seasons at Farmingdale, earning All-Skyline honors as well as scholar-athlete accolades, and he also captained the Rams during his senior season.

Mendolia has a wide range of youth coaching experience, working with all ages from 5-18 years old. Alex was recognized as the Coach of the Year title From Stony Brook Soccer Club in 2011 and 2012. He currently serves on the ODP Regional Staff for the East Region and partakes in several Regional events annually. Moreover, he has coached internationally in Cameroon, Ireland and Spain for youth soccer organizations over the years and has studied at the academies of professional soccer clubs such as Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Getafe CF, EF SD Huesca, Rayo Vallecano, Villarreal CF as well as the Spanish Federation in Madrid.

Mendolia received his Bachelor's Degree in Business Management Technology from Farmingdale State College and a Master's Degree in Soccer Coaching Education from Ohio University. He also holds several UEFA, USSF licenses, NSCAA Advanced National and Goalkeeping diplomas.


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