Chapter 12: MEET YOUR COACH – ROOKIE: Surviving Your Freshman Year of College Soccer
Meet your college soccer coach. He is not your club coach or your high school coach. This team is not something he does on the side to supplement the income of his real job. He has a mortgage and a car payment. He has a wife and 2.5 kids and a dog and all of them depend on him to pay the bills and put food on the table. Everything he does is centered on this one team. All of his energy is devoted to making this one team the best that it can possibly be.
His view of college soccer is much different than yours. Where you see the glory and the crowds and your picture on the website; he sees the paycheck he can’t afford to lose. If you want to know why he’s pissed off when you are thirty seconds late to a meeting, it’s because he sees the big picture and therefore the little things matter to him.
He has a job and he wants to keep it. To keep his job, the one thing he absolutely must do is win soccer games. His fate is inextricably tied to the performance of a group of teenagers. Reread that last sentence ten years from now and you’ll appreciate both the humor and agony.
Meet your coach. He serves many masters. In addition to the family that depends on him for survival, he serves a university that depends on him to set a good example; to play by the rules; to behave ethically; and to graduate players. And yes, this university depends on him to win games.
Meet your coach. He serves many masters and you aren’t one of them. He’ll do his best to look after you, to provide you with guidance and to keep you safe. He wants what’s best for you, but not at the expense of what’s best for him and his program. He has other masters.
Meet your coach. There will be days when you think he’s an idiot. Rest assured that he feels the same way about you.
Meet your coach. He would love it if his team won and you were happy, but if he has to choose just one, well, you’re out of luck. Remember, he has other masters, and the university really doesn’t care if you’re unhappy with your playing time. He is going to make his decisions based on one very simple premise: What is in the best interest of my program? Be prepared that you might not always enjoy his answer.
Meet your coach. He genuinely likes you and cares about you. He wants to see you do well. He’ll do his best to treat you fairly and to help you up when you fall. He’ll consider you family. He’ll be sad when your career is over and proud on the day you graduate.
Meet your coach. There will be many days when you are convinced that you know better than he does. You do not.
Meet your coach. He will likely be the only college soccer coach you ever have. To you, he will always be one of one. To him, you are one of many; one of many who want more from him – more of his time, more of his approval, more of his favor.
Meet your coach. In four years, you’re going to ask him to write you a letter of recommendation.
Meet your coach. No matter what you think of him, he is the one person you must please to get on the field.
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