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The Well-Rounded Soccer Coach PDF

“Welcome to America!” shouted the tall, thin, blond, pony-tailed, blue-eyed, smiling 10-year-old girl.

She was the first player to greet me on the first team that I coached in Fairfax, Virginia.

Being an American all my life, I was surprised at the welcome, yet I had to smile at her energy and enthusiasm.

She and her teammates had heard that I would become their head coach in August of 1995.

I had just moved there in July from Clifton Park, New York.

Having coached youth and high school soccer there, I was interested in continuing my coaching career immediately.

After a few phone calls and various offers from area clubs to take on teams, I was eventually introduced to Keith Wawrzyniak and Dave Banks, both parent coaches who were coaching and managing the Braddock Road Youth Club Electra Under 11 (U11) girls’ soccer team.

Little did I know then, I would go on to coach that team through their U19 year and that numerous families from the team, including Keith and Dave, would be among my closest friends to this day.

Keith, in his humorous way, poked fun at my Indian heritage and had told the girls I was Cherokee, Navajo or Sioux (I really do not remember).

It did not occur to the girls that my parents are actually from India, the country in Asia.

Thus, I was welcomed by the girl with the blond ponytail to a country I already knew and loved.

Some years later, that same player (CJ), her teammates, Keith, Dave, and I would celebrate numerous accomplishments.

We were the Virginia State Champions twice, a Region I Finalist, elite performers

at top tournaments around the country, and we were a team that demonstrated long-term player development.

Electra, as the team was simply known, went on to develop highly successful, accomplished players at the club, high school, ODP, collegiate, and even national levels.

Given our team culture, it is no surprise that several of the girls were captains of their various teams and leaders in life off of the field, too.

From modest beginnings as a player, CJ would go on to win a HS state championship, a collegiate national championship, and off the soccer field, she developed into a wonderfully graceful, compassionate person of tremendous strength.

Many of us attended her and her teammates’ weddings, and she is just one example of many Electra alumnae you will get to meet throughout this book.

Those players and their parents are among those who lend powerful credibility to the strategies for becoming a well-rounded coach and experiencing sustained soccer coaching success that I offer in the pages that follow.

Statement from a former soccer player (Cassandra “CJ” Grose):

“On the field Ashu stands out because of his commitment to the development of each individual player and his contagious passion for the game.

Off the field Ashu stands out as a man of character, challenging those around him to live a life of integrity, kindness and continual personal growth.

As a player for Ashu I certainly developed my skills on the field as he encouraged me to never be comfortable at the level I was at, but to continue to develop into a player with the complete package of technical skills, mental toughness and a refined understanding of the game.


The primary audience for The Well Rounded Soccer Coach is soccer coaches— both genders, all ages, all levels, all experience levels from rookie to veteran.

Coaches in the United States as well as from other countries will find great value and usefulness since no other book like it currently exists.

Especially with the release of the US Soccer Coaching Curriculum and additional articles regarding player development, coaches will find this book of tremendous value because I will share proven methods 

and sessions with detail, quality, and credibility that are unmatched in publications currently available.

Secondary audiences for the book include soccer players and parents, coaches of different sports, and directors of coaching/coaching education who lead other coaches or can offer The Well-Rounded Soccer Coach as an excellent resource for professional development.


When I first contemplated writing a book on coaching soccer, there was only one person whom I wanted to write the foreword.

If he said “no,” then there would not be a foreword to this book I am sure there are critics who suspect I might have had a hidden agenda in asking Anson Dorrance to write the foreword to my book— a big name to sell more copies.

However, I am reminded of a quote, one of many quotes, that Anson has given to me during the years that I have known him (credit Aristotle for this one):

“Say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”.

In essence, one cannot worry about what others think or say.

Instead, one must choose a path that he knows to be right and true, take action and use the power of voice effectively.

Thus, it is partly because of his inspiration that I have followed through on writing The Well-Rounded Soccer Coach, and it is because of his mentorship, loyalty, support, and friendship that I asked him to be a part of this adventure.

I first met Anson Dorrance in early December of 1995.

He was presenting during the NSCAA symposium at the Carolina Inn during the NCAA Women’s Division I semi-final and final weekend in 

Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 

Like most people who followed women’s soccer, I was curious about the amazing records already established by Anson and the Tar Heels.

Their legacy was not just about astonishing statistics, but more so about the leadership skills, coaching knowledge, teaching ability, and management style.

I had seen past championships on television, read a variety of articles about the Dynasty, and I was impressed with the stream of champions who had already played and were playing for the Tar Heels—

Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Tisha Venturini, Tracey Bates, Shannon Higgins-Cirvoski, Angie Kelly, Staci 

Wilson, Robin Confer, and Cindy Parlow to name a few.

In one way or another, I would eventually meet them all, and I never failed to be impressed by their genuine role model spirit (e.g., the latter three were players who signed autographs for the young BRYC Electra team I had taken to the old Raleigh Shootout just a few weeks earlier); humility (e.g.,Shannon and I coached opposing school and club teams in the DC area and though she was a legend,she invited me to join her and her famous coaching husband at a table for dinner at one of the NSCAA conventions some years later); generosity (e.g., Tracey more than once took time via informal introductions at events or via email to respond to questions); competitiveness (e.g., the first three were long-time US Women’s National Team stalwarts who didn’t just play the game, but competed with an unmistakable fury every minute to lead teams to NCAA, Olympic and World Cup championships);toughness yet approachable (e.g., Staci is still the toughest back I have ever seen play the game,yet she took time out of her schedule to do a session with the Electra team, and the girls loved her);insightfulness (e.g., Angie was one of BRYC Electra’s first coaches at UNC team camp way back in 1996, and Robin always had good insights when she was approached about her coaching thoughts during the UNC girls’ soccer camp sessions that we both happened to work at); and loyalty (e.g., Cindy would always come back to Chapel Hill during her various stints with national team duties; she served as an assistant coach on Anson’s staff, and she continues to be a good friend who I enjoy chatting with about youth soccer and player development).

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