Each month we feature one ASA coach to learn more about his or her background and personal story and this month (May 2019) we’re featuring Coach Jim!
What programs do you coach at ASA and how long have you been coaching with our club?
I’m currently coaching in the Academy program with the 2010 boys age group as the red team coach. I first started coaching at ASA in the spring of 2011, when I joined the coaching staff for the U9 Strikers, coached by Ryan Rich. Next year I’m excited to move to the girls side where I’ll be coaching the U9 (2011) girls red team.
When did you begin coaching? What got you interested?
I began coaching youth soccer in 2006, shortly after moving to D.C. from New Hampshire. I was connected to a family friend living in Northwest DC who needed a coach for her recreational coed U6 team playing for DC Stoddert. The Cheetahs were a blast to coach for almost 6 years. It was towards the end of my Cheetahs coaching career that I started to get more interested in what some of my co-workers (at the time) and friends were doing coaching in the travel programs at local youth clubs. I talked with Ryan Rich about some opportunities in travel programs and he said he could take me on his team as he was coaching a pool of 24 players at ASA and could use another coach.
My interest peaked once I joined ASA and got to know the club, community and opportunities to grow as a coach.
What is one of your favorite things about coaching for ASA?
First and foremost— the connection to the community. Having had the opportunity to coach so many kids in ASA programs and interact with kids at outreach events, it’s easy to see the bigger picture and recognize all the benefits that a soccer club can have on the youth in our community. I love seeing kids and their families, who I have had the privilege of coaching, and watching them grow as soccer players and more importantly as young people.
Where did you grow up and what’s your favorite soccer memory from your childhood? It could be watching soccer, playing soccer, etc.
I grew up in New Hampshire. I remember my dad, who had zero soccer background, partnering up with another local dad to start our town’s youth soccer travel program. We had kids from all over the area—mixed ages, mixed genders—all getting together to form the first travel soccer club that represented more of a region than one of our small towns. We had a ton of fun traveling all over New Hampshire, playing against teams from the ‘big cities’ and were actually pretty successful. A number of players from the newly formed, Pemi-Baker Soccer Club, had very successful high school soccer careers and a handful played at very competitive college programs.
When you’re not coaching what do you like to do in your free time?
Spend time with my family! I’m happiest when i’m with my wife and kids playing outside. My two kids Reese (3.5) and Dylan (1.5) absolutely love climbing, running, sidewalk chalk, playgrounds and yes, kicking soccer balls. My wife, Jenni, and I love playing with them and exploring the D.C. area. Every day is a new adventure with these kids, which makes it so much fun!
Who’s your soccer hero and why?
Truth be told, I didn’t really have a soccer hero growing up. There wasn’t much soccer talk with my friends as a kid, there wasn’t soccer on TV to watch or in the paper to read about. I had sports heroes who I looked up to for various reasons that still resonate with me today. When I was a kid, I was captivated by Cal Ripken and his record breaking consecutive games played streak. He displayed an unbelievable dedication to his team and the sport he loved which really stuck with me.
Today, I do have a soccer coaching hero, Pep Guardiola. I love learning about his tactics and his passion for teaching the details of the game to his players. Knowing he too is a student of the game and constantly challenging himself as a professional is admirable.
And finally….give us one fun fact about yourself.
I was honored my senior year of high school to represent the state of New Hampshire in the annual senior game against Vermont in both soccer (Lions Cup Twin State Game) and basketball (Twin State Game).
Jim, or should we say Jimmy, is currently the Deputy Director of Tournaments and Programs. As a veteran ASA coach and staffer we’re thrilled to have him on our team. Thanks Jim!