Dr. Saenz working for Hull City AFC
Chiropractor Jesse Saenz works with Republic FC during the USL season, but is spending the offseason working full time for League Championship’s Hull City AFC
Continuing to improve and grow on and off the pitch during the offseason is a vital for Sacramento Republic FC.
Head Coach and Technical Director Paul Buckle and Director of Football Graham Smith are scouting players both locally and around the world, while players continue to train with Strength and Conditioning Coach Luke Rayfield at Results Physical Therapy And Training Center. Meanwhile, at Republic FC Headquarters, the Team Store is prepping to unveil the new kit for 2016 on Saturday while ticket sales continues to push towards their season ticket goals for next season.
However, for Republic FC Chiropractor Jesse Saenz, DC, there is no offseason. During the USL offseason, Saenz is working for Hull City AFC during their League Championship (England) season as the first team chiropractor.
After the conclusion of Republic FC’s season in September, Saenz traded Sacramento rivers for English skies. Working for Hull City AFC is not only an opportunity to work for another club, but an opportunity to really immerse himself in football culture.
“Entire communities revolve around their football clubs. It’s the topic of conversation for people on the street, at work and in the pubs. Football is what’s on the TV and in the newspapers. It’s fantastic to be immersed in it,” said Saenz. “I absolutely see Sacramento going this direction.”
A crucial part of Republic FC’s medical team, Saenz spends much of Republic FC’s offseason as a consultant to teams across the United States and around the globe. He has served as the American delegate to the World Football Medicine Conference, and has previously served as the Team Physician for Team USA Skydiving at the FAI World Parachuting Championships in Dubai and also served on the medical team for the USA Track & Field 2014 National Championship.
However, spending the winter working in England gives Saenz the unique opportunity to work with some of the top medical experts in football and bring those best practices back to Republic FC.
Founded in 1904, Hull City AFC have spent the majority of their existence playing in the League Championship, but have spent several recent spells in the Premier League. The club even reached the FA Cup Final in 2014, falling 3-2 to Arsenal in a dramatic extra time finish. Currently in the League Championship, former Manchester United players Steve Bruce and Mick Phelan lead Hull City as the club’s manager and assistant manager, respectively.
At Hull City AFC, Saenz trains and works under Head of Medical Services Rob Price, who formerly was the head physiotherapist for Liverpool FC. As the first team chiropractor—a role Saenz also occupies at Republic FC— Saenz’s duties include providing chiropractic care and injury treatment for the first team. It’s an invaluable opportunity for Saenz to study some of latest methods of evidence-based rehabilitation and on-field rehab fitness in the sport, techniques he hopes to bring back to Republic FC in 2016.
“Every day I work with an elite medical staff comprised of physiotherapists, soft tissue therapists, club doctors, strength and conditioning coaches, and sports scientists,” said Saenz about his daily routine with Hull City AFC. “I’m continually learning from each of them and it’s fantastic to see how the pieces all fit together – especially as Republic FC grows towards MLS.”
For Saenz, one of the most unique opportunities of working for an English side is getting to see the similarities and differences between European and American club operations and culture.
The biggest difference between England and Sacramento (aside from the weather of course, Saenz joked) is distance clubs are required to travel, which makes a considerable impact in terms of league schedules and the amount of time spent on the road.
“I mean Hull’s longest trip is south to Brighton which is 250 miles. Compare that to Republic FC. It’s 400 miles to the Republic’s nearest USL opponent [LA Galaxy II]. That’s a huge difference,” said Saenz. In fact, Republic FC’s longest trip of the 2015 season was 1,761 miles to travel to play Austin Aztex and compare that with their longest trip of the 2014 season, 2,900 miles to Wilmington, N.C.
However, despite the differences, Saenz is enjoying the similarities between Republic FC and Hull City AFC.
“I’m really looking forward to returning to Bonney Field,” said Saenz. “The atmosphere there rivals that of many European stadiums.”
Currently at the top of the League Championship table with a 10-4-2 record, Hull City AFC are widely favored to earn promotion back to the Premier League. The club is busy preparing for the Capital One Cup quarterfinals on December 1, when they travel to Etihad Stadium to play Manchester City. Kickoff is 11:45 a.m. PDT.
Saenz will return to Sacramento in February 2016 at the start of Republic FC’s preseason training.
“I’m eager to get together with our very talented staff as we take Sacramento to the next level in 2016,” said Saenz.