Each month we feature one ASA coach to learn more about his or her background and personal story and this month we’re featuring Coach Daniel!
What programs do you coach at ASA and how long have you been coaching with our club?
When did you begin coaching? What got you interested?
I began coaching in 2009 in Queens, New York. I was actually looking for a team to play for at the time and I called a team that I found on Google. I talked to an Italian guy and asked him if he was looking for soccer players and told him that I was available any time to come try out for the team. He told me that they weren’t looking for players but that he was looking for coaches and he’d be willing to pay $20 an hour. This was much more than I was making at other side jobs and I responded with a resounding yes!
What is one of your favorite things about coaching for ASA?
There are so many great things about the club, such as being inclusive, along with having great staff and coaches who I’m friends with now. But the one thing that pleases me the most is the playing style. I love possession soccer and I feel extremely lucky to be working at a club that teaches possession style soccer with great amount of detail.
Where did you grow up and what’s your favorite soccer memory from your childhood?
I grew up in Asmara, the capital city of Eritrea. Soccer is everybody’s game back home. We played every day for at least three hours (even on weekdays). Everything we talked about was soccer… we watched soccer and played it on video games as well. For me and my friends, it was our life.
My favorite childhood soccer memory is our Saturday soccer tradition. We would wake up at 7am. We’d go to the field in our neighborhood and start playing at around 8am. Before heading to the field though, everyone would ask their mom for 10 Nakfa (our currency). Each player bet his 10 Nakfa on the team he was playing on that day. For example, if there were 13 players per team, each team would bet their 130 Nakfa on themselves. This meant that the winning team would get a total of 260 Nakfa. For a 10–12 year old kid, that was a little world cup trophy. We would play until around 2pm because that’s when the Premier League games would kick off for the weekend. They would wrap up around 8:30pm and we’d all get together to have a very heated debate. If your team got smacked it was best advised to stay home that weekend and not participate in the debate.
Another memorable childhood soccer memory (and perhaps the most organized and structured soccer for me) was playing in the championship match during senior year in high school. We lost a close 1–0 game. It was disappointing, but about 15,000 fans on the sideline made for a fantastic atmosphere. Impossible to forget.
When you’re not coaching what do you like to do in your free time?
When I’m not coaching; I’m playing FIFA, watching Arsenal play, playing badminton or going to DC to chill with friends.
Who’s your soccer hero and why?!
My hero in Soccer is Arsene Wenger.
- He wants his team to play beautiful soccer and has succeeded tremendously in my view.
- He gives young players a chance to succeed at the top level.
- He’s an absolute gent.
Thanks Daniel! We love your story of soccer Saturday’s growing up. We’re lucky you’ve landed at Alexandria Soccer with us!