Coaching Soccer in High School
Junior and senior year of high school I coached four soccer teams. Having always loved soccer, coaching was a great opportunity to explore a different side of the game. And although I prefer playing, coaching is gratifying in its own ways. It was also a great way to become involved in the community.
Coaching was an involved activity that took a definite time commitment. I prepared practices twice a week and lineups for the weekend games. Although it always seems like you've never enough time once at practice, prepating drills ahead of time is more time-consuming than I had thought. On top of the prep work, I had to be reliable and always show up to practice or have the team be supervised by a parent for the alloted time. And finally it's hard to balance the success of the team with parent complaints for center forward time for their kid. Especially if you are as competitive as I am.
Fall 2000, AYSOMy first team consisted of under-12 boys. I got my bearing pretty quickly with all the aspects of coaching. We practiced twice a week and played a game on Saturday. The returns for my involvement were quick. It's a great feeling to give back directly to organizations that offered so much to you. Also being in a position of a role model helped me develop a sense of responsiblity and maturity.
The team performed well in games. I forget our record, but it was certainly winning and we went on to the playoffs, although I now forget how we faired. The team lacked superstars, but a desire to win and a strong sense of solidarity helped us win games.
Fall 2001, AYSOFrom bottom left, sitting: Tom Brubaker, Eric Madrigal, David Lee; Second row, from right: Colas Gauthier, Matthew Abdalah, Tristan Hayter, Garret Torok, Yekta Yazar; Top row, from left: Eric Cutler, Ryan Kelly, Dominic Amsden, Josh Mrozach, Lane Cowan; Not pictured: Scott Bishop, Christopher Evren.
My second team formed a year later, also an under-12 boys, AYSO team. In most ways, this season was more of the same. Practices were similar, league setups, and the opponents abilities. This team, however, possessed a little more talent, although both teams had great players. We again won most of our games, but the playoffs were rained out.
On a personal note I remember something of great significance; I broke my ankle at a practice. I broke it just in time to miss my entire high school senior-year season. I had been pencilled in as captain and center midfield. It did lead to some small consolation - it allowed me to coach Blach's junior high team.
Blach Intermediate School 2002 Season
My success with Blach's team remains one of my proudest achievments. In contrast with all other teams this team required much more commitment. The boys were in 8th grade which means thirteen and fourteen years old. On top of the stereotypical difficulty of managing boys that age, coaching at this age required more knowledge of the game and preparation of practices. My boys were beginning to develop physically and were capable of much more training and improvement.
Blach played against neighboring middle schools including my alma mater, Graham. We played each of our opponents once, losing during the regular once or twice. The postseason included quarters, semis, and a final.
The most heated and close match was the semifinal against a middle school called Cupertino. Blach held a lead until very late in the game. In fact the referee allowed play to continue once the time expired. Eventually a dubious penalty was called - one which found one of my defender's fingers bloody. Almost immediately afterwards the whistle was blown. After two scoreless overtime periods, we emerged triumphant on penalty kicks. Only later did we find out the referee was employed as a P.E. teacher at Cupertino.
After that exhilarating win we went onto the final. Down 1-0 at halftime against Kennedy Middle School, we turned it around and scored two goals to be crowned league champions. The local Los Altos Town Crier released a summary which is now archived.
Spring 2002, AYSO
My last coaching position was a great cooldown season with an AYSO spring league team. I assistant coached an under 10 team of boys. One of my mother's co-workers had a son on the team and was officially responsible, but I led many of the drills at practice. Because of their age it was largely babysitting, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. As to our success, in the last game of the season we played the number one team who beat us the first time around and crushed them by a large goal differential to secure the league title.