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The Well-Rounded Soccer Coach PDF

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.

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