Hometown: Peoria, Illinois
Currently resides in: Bloomington, Illinois
College: Heartland Community College/Illinois State University
Playing Experience: Soccer has been my main sport since I was 10 years of age. I played all the way through my freshman year of college at Heartland Community College (Men's Soccer). I played club soccer for Peoria Soccer Club, and the Morton Blaze. I started off as a keeper and eventually made my way to the offensive positions on the field. Once I got to college I played defense. I was one of two freshmen to make the varsity team in high school when I attended Peoria Christian, and that was the first time in school history that we had ever made it to state placing 4th (2009). After my freshman year I had the awesome opportunity of getting to play overseas with Challenger World Tours. When I came back to the states I transferred from Peoria Christian to Limestone Community High School where I played varsity and during my senior year became captain of the team. I loved playing college soccer, but after an injury I decided that it was best to sit out my sophomore year and focus on my studies and recovery.
What I like most about soccer: I have been in love with soccer since I was able to kick a ball. It’s one of those things that can always get me into a positive mindset. Although I love to play because of the experience and joy, I get the same thrill when it comes to coaching. I like the fact that I can help develop a athletes skills and abilities and help them achieve their goals, while leaving a positive impact on them so that they can take that on with them for the rest of their lives.
Favorite Soccer Player: Lionel Messi (Barcelona) let’s be honest he is one of the greatest players of all time and knows how to score. I have learned a lot about soccer from watching him play. I like that he plays at such a fast pace yet he can see the entire field and think a few steps ahead and make a play. He has trust in his teammates and can rely on them to help win games as well as being a team player.
Coaching Philosophy: My coaching philosophy has to be the foundation of my program. Everyone wants to win, but the only way a coach is going to make that happen is to develop a healthy relationship with the team they are coaching. I personally believe that to become a great coach you have to remember what it was like to be the athlete. Putting yourself in the athlete’s shoes is a good way to develop yourself as a coach. I can remember when I was an athlete, I played as many sports as I could. I had good and bad coaches. I can remember all of the bad coaches because of the things they could have done better, and I remember all of the good coaches because of the great things they did. You can always improve as a coach just as an athlete can improve.
One of the greatest and most spoken statements you will hear from a coach and an athlete is, “you guys are my family”, and that is exactly what I strive to create with my team, a family, although it may be overrated. A family has difficulties, but those difficulties can be worked on and fixed just as any team could. Nobody said it would be easy to become a winning team. It takes hard work and commitment. It takes physical and mental strength, and most of all it takes cooperation between teammates and coaches.
I will always play the athletes that have worked for their position in the game or competition. I may have a few star athletes, but they had to put in the hard work to be that star athlete. If I have an athlete that happens to be a star, but does not think he or she has to put in the same work the less performing athletes have put in, then they don’t deserve to be starting over them, and this may not be the mindset for all age groups and skill levels. I believe that a hard working team wins the game, and that does not always mean we will win. It means that we will not go down without a fight. Not all teams can be the best, but they can sure make their way to the top. I want to be the type of coach that creates a winning team. A coach must work with the hand that they are dealt, a coach must mold a team that strives to win whether they have the skills to win or not. A good coach must also help the athletes to prepare for the next level. I strive to be the best coach I can be and impact my players lives in a positive way.