Toe-to-toe with a Pro

Learning soccer moves at Futebol Form and Fitness with Brian Kallman.
Futebol Form and Fitness founder Brian Kallman on the soccer field with his son, Kingsley.

Brian Kallman is an alumnus of Woodbury High School, a retired professional soccer player and, as of last January, an entrepreneur. The New Year was an eventful one for Kallman, marking both the end of his professional career with Minnesota United FC, and the start of Futebol Form & Fitness (FFF), a Woodbury-based soccer training company that offers customized skills-based and aerobic training for athletes of all ages and abilities.

Kallman says there was little need for post-retirement soul-searching: “I’ve always known that [coaching] would be my next step.” Indeed, Kallman has been preparing to make that step for years, with coaching experience that spanned his college years at Jacksonville and Creighton Universities, as well as his nine years playing for the Minnesota Thunder and Minnesota United FC. Since 2010, Kallman has been a regular face on the fields in Woodbury, coaching club teams such as Woodbury Soccer Club. He is also assistant varsity coach and head JV coach at Woodbury High School.

At FFF, Kallman hopes to offer his clients something that traditional team competition typically does not. “Even a great coach doesn’t really know all the right moves,” he points out. Bringing to bear his nine years of professional play, Kallman is well-suited to supply an alternative. FFF’s model of personalized, “development-side” training from an insider’s perspective has been quick to catch on. Now approaching its one-year anniversary, the company has served more than 115 young athletes between the ages of 6 and 17. “I have a passion for teaching the right techniques—and especially teaching them young. That can make a big difference,” Kallman says.

Two young Woodbury athletes know that difference first-hand. Kevin Lee, a 16-year-old center defender at Minnesota Thunder Academy, and Izzy Weiss, a 10-year-old playing for Woodbury Soccer Club, work with Kallman at FFF. Izzy raves about the progress she has seen in herself and her teammates. “It’s really amazing how much we have improved because of him,” she says. “[He’s taught us] to do things I never thought I could do. It’s incredible how fast we can move our feet.”

Lee, a high school sophomore who has been working with Kallman for seven years, has his sights set on Division I college soccer. His long-standing relationship with Kallman has been a literal game-changer. “Before I started training with Brian, I wasn’t a very aggressive defender,” Lee says. “We’ve done a lot of one-on-one work with that.”

Lee adds that FFF has also improved his “general attitude” on the field. “Before, if I made a mistake, my level would go down for the rest of the game. I would be angry. Brian taught me that everyone makes mistakes. What sets a good player apart from a great one is being able to move on when you [do].”

“I never tell people, ‘I’ll make your kid the best,’” Kallman says. “But I do guarantee improvement. It’s a matter of putting the work in.” If Kallman’s coaching philosophy could be summed up in word, that’s it: Work. That’s why the FFF method comprises both a focus on form and a focus on fitness. The latter, Kallman says, is vital to enhancing coordination, speed and power. To that end, he often incorporates aerobic workouts like plyometrics, a type of high-octane exercise popularized by elite athletes, into training sessions.

Kallman also hopes to see FFF grow into a family business, and with a family tree like his, there’s no shortage of talent to pick from. All five of Kallman’s siblings have played soccer, four of them at a Division I level. His youngest brother, Brent, still plays professionally for Minnesota United FC. Meanwhile, the next generation is already up and dribbling. Kallman reports that his 3-year-old son, Kingsley, is soccer-crazed. “Whenever we drive by the field, he wants to play. Doesn’t matter if I just had a 9-hour day out there; I can’t say no.”

Futebol Form & Fitness

Training sessions, individual or group, can be adapted to any age or experience level. Sessions are held at Stonemill Farm’s north field in the warm weather; FFF shares space with the Woodbury Soccer Club during the winter. For more information, go to the website here.