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Management Spotlight: Edition Five

11/08/2018, 10:00am EST
By Matt Reed -

Sunrise United's Didden among the featured

Significant amounts of time and effort go into the lives of coaches and administrators across the United States to make Super Y League a success, including during the ongoing 2018 season.

In our Management Spotlight series, we take a look at three individuals that continue to exemplify their expertise in developing young players both on and off the field.

Here are the featured coaches and administrators for the third edition on Nov. 8, 2018.

Erik Didden

Sunrise United, Head Coach U18/19 Girls

Why did you decide to become a soccer coach?

When I moved here from my native Holland in 2001, one of the first things I had to do was go to the DMV and get my US Driver's License. The guy at the DMV was from Nigeria. When he saw my Dutch driver's license, he got all excited and asked if I had ever coached soccer. I quietly nodded and before I could even speak he smiled ear to ear and said "Great! My daughter's High School soccer team needs help! I will have the coach contact you!" This was 17 years ago, and I never looked back....

What are some of the biggest challenges of being a soccer coach?

The acts of training and coaching young athletes are exciting, fun, and almost therapeutic for me after dealing with adults all day. One of the biggest challenges I have had to learn to adjust to over the years was dealing with the over involved and/or unrealistic parents.

What do you enjoy most about coaching in the Super Y League?

Super Y is such a great vessel to keep active those players that want to continue training and playing during the summer. The roster size and flexibility is also a huge plus, as players can take the time off they need without feeling the pressure to have to be at every game. The highlight of course every year is the Super Y Finals!

What are a couple of your favorite moments from the Super Y League season?

One of the most memorable moments for me this year was when playing the '10' position really clicked for one of our 11 year old players. All the hard work she had put in, all the questions she had asked, it all came together and she really excelled. Those are the moments that us coaches do what we do. 

What do you enjoy most outside of soccer and why?

There is a life outside of soccer? I enjoy traveling, relaxing outdoors, and spending time with my daughters and foster daughters.

Jack Coulton

Atlanta Metros, Head Coach U16/17 Boys

Why did you decide to become a soccer coach?

There was no real defining moment, but more of a transition from Collegiate Soccer into Full-Time Coaching. I have always wanted a career relatable to sports and teaching. Soccer is a sport I have loved and after playing, I have been lucky enough to stay in the game professionally as a Coach and Leader. I have always been told, “Find a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life” and that is true today. I am extremely lucky to share this passion with many young athletes that love the sport and have a willingness to compete and learn. 

What are some of the biggest challenges of being a soccer coach?

One of the biggest challenges is keeping young minds engaged in sport when there are many other competing priorities. You only have to look at the popularity of smartphones, tablets and video games that can conflict with a players time or priorities. 

What do you enjoy most about coaching in the Super Y League. 

There are many aspects to the Super Y League that make it enjoyable for players, parents, teams and coaches. The level of competition is high, the organizational side is top drawer, players are given great exposure nationally, and those fortunate enough are able to compete in National Finals. 

What are a couple of your favorite moments from the Super Y League season?

Would have to be the goals and watching the players compete. From our 2008's, to the 2002's, it has been a pleasure to watch them compete and flourish in the Super Y league. 

What do you enjoy most outside of soccer and why?

Outside of soccer, I like to spend time on the golf course. It gives a great opportunity to switch off, socialize and compete in a different environment. 

Marco Bernardini

Michigan Rush, U15 Boys & U16/17 Girls Head Coach

Why did you decide to become a soccer coach?

I love soccer and I love people. It was also a way to stay around the game as much as possible so it was a perfect match!

What are some of the biggest challenges of being a soccer coach?

The biggest challenge coaching youth soccer for me will always be aligning the expectations of players, parents, and coach. We all want the same thing, but sometimes have different or unrealistic understandings of the process or timeline to get there. The challenge then is finding the best ways to effectively communicate those expectations together in order to create the best possible environment for players and teams to develop in. 

What do you enjoy most about coaching in the Super Y League?

I enjoyed the opportunity for the players to continue playing throughout the summer as well as the opportunity to compete for the chance to go down to Florida for the National Finals. It made each game meaningful to the players and they really enjoyed it.

What are a couple of your favorite moments from the Super Y League season?

My favorite moment has to be celebrating with my u15 boys team after winning the last game of the season to win the league and qualify for the National Finals. Another favorite moment of mine would have to be sharing the news to my u17 girls team that we had qualified for the National Finals and would be going down to Florida (they really liked that part!). Everyone was really happy and we are all excited to travel down to Florida during the winter months to compete for a National Championship!

What do you enjoy most outside of soccer and why?

I don't get a lot of it, but any time away from soccer I do get, I like to spend it with my wife, friends, and family. It doesn't matter what we do, I'm just happy to be with the people I love and care about the most in this world! 

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