NRFA Spotlight (August 2023)
Interview with Coach Kate: Celebrating 12 Years of Coaching Success
NRFA: How long have you been coaching? Can you share some notable experiences and achievements from your coaching career?
Coach Kate: I've been coaching for about 12 years now. It all started back when I was a college player in Pennsylvania coaching an U18 youth AYSO team. When I moved to North Carolina in 2016, I was hired as the Women’s Varsity soccer coach at Smithfield Selma High School. After that, I took over the boys Junior Varsity team in 2017 and became the Men’s Varsity soccer coach in 2018. In 2018, I had the honor of winning both the boys and girls Neuse River conference coach of the year.
Additionally, I was selected to coach the NC Powerade State games in 2019. In the same year, I joined the academy as the Head Boys coach under Keith Jenkins, and since then, I've coached the ODP East U12 girls team. More recently, I started as a volunteer coach for the Clayton High Men’s soccer team. It's been an exciting journey, and I've achieved my D coaching license from US Soccer in the past fall, with plans to pursue my C license in the coming year.
NRFA: That's quite an impressive coaching journey! Tell us about your background as a player and how it influences your coaching approach.
Coach Kate: I started playing soccer when I was just 4 years old in New York on Long Island for my local club, the North Babylon Patriot Soccer Club. My passion for the sport grew, and I played competitively from the age of 8. In high school, I had the privilege of playing and starting for all four years, receiving accolades such as all-conference and all-county player. This continued when I attended the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown on a soccer scholarship, where I played and started for four years and even captained the team for three of those years.
As a player, I was fortunate to have been coached by some amazing mentors who left lasting impressions on me. Their wisdom to "put things in my back pocket and save it for later" shaped my coaching style. I've taken the best aspects from each coach who influenced me and combined them to develop my own approach to coaching.
NRFA: It's great to see how your playing experience has contributed to your coaching philosophy. Which teams are you currently coaching this season and what goals have you set for them?
Coach Kate: This season, I'll be coaching the 2013 Red Boys team, and I'll continue as the Head Boys Academy coach as well. My main goal for these teams is not only to develop their soccer skills but also to help them grow as individuals. I believe in nurturing not just good soccer players but good people too. Instilling important values on and off the field is just as crucial as winning games.
NRFA: That's a wonderful approach to coaching. So, what's your favorite part about being part of NRFA?
Coach Kate: My favorite part about being part of NRFA is the incredible community that the club has built. The families, coaches, and staff have become like my own family. The children I've had the privilege of coaching over the years have impacted me in ways I could never have imagined. It's heartwarming to see how soccer can bring people together and create lasting connections.
NRFA: Absolutely, a strong sense of community can make a significant difference in players' lives. Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you or one you share with your players?
Coach Kate: One quote that has stuck with me since my young athlete days is "The vision of a champion is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion when nobody else is looking" by Mia Hamm. But as a coach, I always tell my soccer players, regardless of their age, that I don't just want them to be good soccer players; I want them to be good people.
NRFA: Those are powerful words to live by. Lastly, could you provide a fun fact about yourself that showcases your unique personality or interests outside of coaching?
Coach Kate: Sure! In the little time I have off the field, I enjoy hiking, reading, and collecting things. I have quite a large collection of sea glass, sea shells, and teapots, which keeps me fascinated and adds some charm to my life beyond soccer.
NRFA: Those sound like delightful hobbies! Thank you, Coach Kate, for sharing your remarkable coaching journey and experiences with us. Your dedication to both soccer and nurturing young individuals is truly commendable, and we wish you continued success in your coaching career!
Coach Kate: Thank you so much for having me. It's been a pleasure sharing my story, and I hope it inspires others to pursue their passion for coaching and making a positive impact on young athletes' lives.