Coach of the Month: Papa Dia

Each month we feature one ASA coach to learn more about his or her background and personal story and this month (March 2019) we’re featuring Coach Papa!

What programs do you coach at ASA and how long have you been coaching with our club?

I coach the 2005 Blue Boys team and the 2002 White Boys team. I also coach in the Winter Futsal League and have coached in the Junior Academy.

Coach Papa poses with his U17 boys (left) after a pre-season tournament and chats with his 2005 futsal team (right) during the 2019 winter Futsal League.

When did you begin coaching? What got you interested?

I started coaching when I was 12 years old! I decided to be the coach for the team I was playing for. I was doing all of the talking during games and conducting the trainings and so the team voted me as the captain. We didn’t have a coach, so I just fulfilled all the roles. I admired the fact that my peers counted on me as their role model. Ever since, I have enjoyed the responsibilities and leadership that come with coaching!

Where did you grow up and what’s your favorite soccer memory from your childhood?

I grew up in France, Sannois as well as Mali, Bamako. I spent the final part of my childhood in the United States in Virginia and I have vivid soccer memories of all these places.

My favorite soccer memory from childhood is when I played with a broken arm during a tournament as I wanted to be just like Pele.

Coach Papa and his team post after a game during the 2018 Spring season.

When you’re not coaching what do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time, I like to spend time with my family, I like to watch soccer on TV and work for my organization Papadia United Soccer Heroes (PUSH). PUSH operates in Bamako, Mali and I travel there each summer to run a soccer tournament for the kids and bring equipment. The kids in this program do community service projects throughout the year and use lessons learned from soccer to stay in school and give their best.

Coach Papa talks to kids during a summer trip to Africa.

Who’s your soccer hero and why?!

Ronaldinho from Brazil is my soccer hero because soccer was fun for him and he made it fun to watch. I loved the skills he possessed on the pitch.

Coach Papa and a group of futsal superstars from pose together during the futsal league.

And finally….give us one fun fact about yourself.

I didn’t work for three days when brazil lost to Germany in the World Cup in 2014. I stayed home and shutdown!

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