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 Lee!
What programs do you coach at ASA and how long have you been coaching with the club?
This is my my fifth year with ASA. I currently only coach in the Academy program, and my one team is 2006 Girls Red, whom I’ve been with since fall 2018. They’re a great group of girls, and we’ve had a good time both transitioning to the 11v11 model and enjoying a few laughs along the way. Prior to that, I coached the ‘06/’07/’08 Boys for three years. I really enjoyed the opportunity to form their habits both on and off the ball.
When did you begin coaching? What got you interested?
I began coaching in spring 2009 when I was a senior at the University of Mary Washington where I had the opportunity to play from 2006–2009. After my senior season concluded, I wanted to stay a part of the game and coaching seemed like a natural segue. I had a couple of teammates who had already starting forging such a path, and I was lucky to have them guide me as I started out my coaching journey.
What is one of your favorite things about coaching for ASA?
I’ll give you my two favorites: the community and the curriculum.
The community of coaches, players, and parents at ASA is truly something special. I love how tight-knit and welcoming everyone is, and how passionate the community is about soccer. Being able to serve the community in which I live brings me a great sense of pride and purpose — the fact that I’m able to do so while remaining close to the game that I love is an added bonus.
The curriculum is what initially sold me on ASA. I remember going to an ’06 Boys practice when they were U9s with Ryan Rich as their coach. After watching one of their sessions and talking at length with Ryan about the curriculum, which he played a key role in developing and still maintains and updates to this day, I was sold. It’s a truly unconventional way to teach youth soccer as far as the U.S. is concerned, but when executed correctly, it works — plain and simple.
Where did you grow up and what’s your favorite soccer memory from your childhood?
I grew up just down the road in Fairfax, VA, and played for several different clubs throughout my childhood.
My favorite soccer memories growing up were attending GMU games in the mid-late ’90s. I got to know a few of their players, who were trainers for many soccer camps and clinics that I attended in the summers and winters. They encouraged the kids to come watch them play, and every time I went I was both starstruck and proud since I felt as though I ‘knew’ them. Having some of those trainers come up and say hi after the games were some of the more defining moments for me as a kid.
When you’re not coaching what do you like to do in your free time?
My fiance, Chrissy, and I are in the midst of planning our wedding next May. When we’re not engaged in wedding planning activities, I like to watch soccer, hang out with my family and friends, and spend time with our Boston Terrier, Reggae.
Who’s your soccer hero and why?!
My soccer hero is David Kenna, who was my academy coach at McLean from 2002–2005. He taught me more about the game than any coach I ever had, and I felt a strong connection to him as a player. I often find myself using the same coaching cues that he used to use for my team. If not for him, I wouldn’t have made it to the college level — I’m forever grateful for the impact he had on me as a player.
And finally….give us one fun fact about yourself.
I took a break from coaching between 2010–2013 to pursue other hobbies — spent a couple of years as a volunteer EMT and competed as a CrossFit athlete at the regional level.