Soccer Wire Q&A: Veteran Va. coach Ken Krieger talks tryouts
By Roger Gonzalez
Prince William Soccer, Inc.’s technical director of coaching Ken Krieger is enjoying the spring, but is focused on the summer.
With his Under-16 and U-17 Courage Red girls teams set for tryouts in early June, the coach is eager to get started and see what the 2013-14 editions of the teams will look like.
Earlier this week Krieger chatted with Soccerwire.com on all things PWSI, what he looks for in a player and how his daughter, pro player and U.S. Women’s National Teamer Ali Krieger, is doing in the new NWSL. Many thanks to coach Krieger for taking the time to speak with us.
Soccerwire.com: Coach, what do you look for in a player during tryouts?
Ken Krieger: What I look for is athletic, technically sounds individuals with a good head on their shoulders, ones that are coachable and enthusiastic about getting better. One of the things we are looking to do is teach kids how to play the game and learn the technical aspects. If you don’t have that, it is a difficult process to get to the highest level. You have to be technically sound.
SW: What advice do you offer the players during the tryouts?
KK: They need to make the ball their favorite toy. They need to work with it on a daily basis. It’s basically a simple math problem. If you need to be better, you have to work with the ball every day.
Some of the things that I have asked them to do: Hit a wall, a park bench, hit the ball hard 100 times, three times a day. That’s just simple homework. The biggest thing you can tell the players, when you go to a soccer match, do they make it look easy? Those are the ones that are technically sound. Those are the players where the ball is not the problem.
SW: Could you talk a bit about how PWSI reached out to players and families from varied ethnic and economic backgrounds?
KK: Our club is very balanced between African-American, Hispanic and Caucasian kids. It’s a very good mix. That’s why I think our club is one of the best in Virginia. We have a coach [Mayowa Owolabi, who is of Nigerian descent] who runs program for underprivileged kids. That is a program that I think that has really been successful [in reaching out].
SW: You have coached since 1978. What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in youth soccer?
KK: As we look at the landscape, I would say youth soccer has gone through a lot of changes. Just the overall interest, that has been the biggest change. It has grown to be a monster of a sport. We have been very successful with the women’s national team, and the men [have done well].
SW: Your daughter Ali Krieger is now back home in the area, playing with the NWSL’s Washington Spirit. How is she doing?
KK: They’ve tied two games and lost one. I know she is a little disappointed with that. She feels that the team is better than that. But she is loving the opportunity to play in front of her hometown crowd.