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Steve Abdo

Head Coach 2005 Girls Green (Premier Fall Season)

Coach Steve has over 15 years coaching experience with multiple age groups from U9 to U18.  His coaching experience includes Head Coach and Assistant Coach responsibilities for boys’ and girls’ teams with AYSO, Kalamazoo Kingdom, and Portage Soccer Club. His teams have played at the Select, Elite, and Premier levels.  He holds his USSF D License and in addition to coaching, Steve is also an active USSF Grade 8 Referee. For the past several years, he has been a member of the Portage Central High School Men's and Women's Soccer Boosters, executing various duties supporting the teams including announcing games. He is also currently serving on the Board of the PCHS Women's Soccer Boosters.

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David Areaux

Head Coach 2009 Girls Green, 2009 Girls White

Coach David currently holds a USSF E License. Coach David also does specialized goalie training for the club.  David has played soccer since he was 4-years old, where he started in goal.  He played goalie for Jackson High School, where he still holds two records: lowest goals against and lowest goals against average.  His senior year, he was named to the Jackson Citizen Patriot Dream Team, as well as the Capital Area All-Conference team.  He has continued to play in adult and intramural leagues throughout college.

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Jared Butler

Head Coach 2001 Girls Green (Premier) and 2004 Girls Green (Premier)

Coach Jared graduated from Hackett Catholic Prep in 2001. At Hackett, as a forward, he led the team in scoring as a junior and senior.  He then went on to play his college soccer at Kellogg CC and Aquinas, but tore his ACL to end his career. Jared is also the women’s Varsity head coach at Hackett Catholic Prep. He has also been an assistant for the men’s Varsity and JV teams. He also coaches Freshman basketball. At PSC, he has worked with both boys’ and girls’ teams.

 
 
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Lahou Boulnemour

Co-Coach 2006 Boys Green (Premier)

Coach Lahou has a USSF Level E license and has been coaching youth soccer for over 30 years.  Prior to joining PSC, Lahou coached teams from the Sting Soccer Club of Vicksburg from ages U-8 to U-18. Lahou is also the coach of the Vicksburg High School Varsity soccer team. Prior to coaching, he played very competitive soccer in his native country of Algeria before moving to the US.  “I joined PSC because I believe in their philosophy in player development.  Developing players is my main strength and focus in coaching soccer”. 

 
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Matt Cavalli

Head Coach 2011 Boys White

Coach Matt has coached soccer for over seven years at the U5 through U12 levels in both Minnesota and Michigan, including one year with AYSO 74.  He is currently the head coach of the PSC U9 White team. Matt grew up in Wyoming and played soccer through early middle school, preferring to play defender/back (before switching to the other football...).  He is committed to providing an encouraging atmosphere for players to learn, grow and compete.

 
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BABAJIDE DARANIJOH

Assistant Coach 99 Boys

Coach Baba has 5 years coaching experience with the Portage Soccer Club and 2 years with the American Youth Soccer Association (AYSO Region 74). He currently holds a USSF E License. He grew up playing soccer in his native country Nigeria. He is a patriotic supporter of the Nigeria national football teams and an avid fan of Chelsea FC.  His love of the beautiful game keeps him busy all year round coaching, watching, or playing.

 
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Derek Dee

Head Coach 2010 Boys White

Coach Derek holds a USSF class D license. He played collegiate soccer for four years at Kalamazoo College and has coached nine years at the high school level and youth level for the past four years. Derek says, “I have been playing soccer since I was 4, and I love to share my passion for the game.”

 
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Bill Dietzel

Head Coach 2008 Girls White

Coach Bill holds a USSF class E license and has coached with the Portage Soccer Club for three years. Bill says, “My philosophy on coaching is to build an environment that highlights fun, respect and continued learning as the foundation of the team.  I believe that personal and team growth carry more weight than wins and losses.  I enjoy coaching at the PSC because of the different levels of competition offered by the club and the emphasis of finding the right level of competition for each player.”

 
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WAYNE HARPENAU

VP of Coaches; Head Coach 2004 Boys Green (Premier) and 2008 Girls Green

Coach Wayne has over eight years of experience coaching soccer. In addition to coaching with PSC, he has also coached with the American Youth Soccer Association (AYSO) and the Indiana Youth Soccer Association (IYSA).  He is certified through IYSA on Youth Coaching models I & II and currently has his USSF D License. He is currently the men's JV coach as well as the assistant Varsity men's and women's coach at Hackett Catholic Prep. In addition to his coaching duties, he is an active member of the PSC board serving as Vice President of Coaching.  He works very closely with Vu Le, Director of Technical Development, to assist our club's coaching staff by providing invaluable guidance and support.

 
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Jenn Harris

Head Coach 2004 Girls White and 2003 Girls Green

Coach Jenn has played soccer since she was 3 years old. She played travel club soccer growing up and loved her experience. She was First Team All-State in high school and played on WMU's first ever Womens Varsity soccer team from 1996 through 1999. She received The Coach’s Award at WMU in 1996. She still plays soccer competitively at least twice a week. She has coached AYSO in the past and has been coaching with PSC for 5 years. Coach Jenn says, “I love the sport and I love kids, so coaching comes pretty easy to me. My main focus is building self-esteem in these young women and skill development. Once they have that, I watch them achieve so much in soccer and in life. It's been very fulfilling coaching.  I have formed life-long relationships with players and families.  I may be the loudest coach you've ever heard, I can't help it... And I coach for the Portage Soccer Club because they believe in player development while promoting a positive and fun environment. PSC wants every kid to be able to play, offering scholarships for some kids in need. PSC facilities are above and beyond anything in this area.

P.S. “They have the best coaches.””

 
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Brandon Hilts

Head Coach 2005 Girls Green (Premier) Spring Season, 2005 Girls White

Coach Brandon holds a USSF class E license and has coached AYSO teams for three years prior to coaching with the PSC for the last seven years. He has over 30 years of playing experience with AYSO, club teams, high school, and adult recreational teams. Brandon says, “I am passionate about the game of soccer and enjoy creating an environment where players can build their own passion for the game. I believe that club soccer should be both, a very fun as well as very educational experience. I believe that the game is the best teacher and building a strong foundation of technical skills and then giving players the opportunity to put those skills to use in games and game like activities puts them in the best position to find success on the field. I expect my players to have good sportsmanship on and off the field and to be good teammates, students and citizens, and always, to be thankful for their parents/guardians for providing the opportunity for them to play the beautiful game.

 
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Katy Hopkins

Co-Coach, PSC Academy

Coach Katy currently holds a USSF Class E License and has coached youth soccer for 7 years. Katy’s coaching and training experience is from the U5 to U10 age groups with Kingdom, PSC and AYSO Region 212.  She started at AYSO for four years before coaching Kingdom U10 Girls Black team for a year.  Then she managed/coached the Academy for two years.  She played Rugby in College at CMU before starting to play indoor and outdoor recreational soccer. Katy has three soccer playing daughters playing at the select, Premier, and college level (Olivet College). 

Katy’s philosophy is “Watching the players develop skills and confidence through positive reinforcement throughout the course of a season gives me the greatest satisfaction as a coach along with the players excitement to be playing and learning soccer every week.” Katy hopes that she and Phil will create a life-long love of the sport for the Academy players, using the Grass Roots Coaching approach, Play-Practice-Play, from US Soccer.

 
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Lauren Irmen

Head Coach 2008 Girls Black

A fun fact about Coach Lauren is that David Rice (PSC president) was her first travel soccer coach. Coach Lauren played Premier 1 soccer as a defensive midfielder during high school and made it to the quarterfinals of the state cup. She was a starting outside back for the Portage Central Varsity Women’s soccer team. Lauren was an assistant coach for one year with the PSC 2008 Green girls team and is the current coach for the 2008 Black girls. Lauren says, “I coach for PSC because of the values and philosophy they teach. Work ethic, sportsmanship, and team improvement is valued more than the result at the end of the game.”

 
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Tracy Jezewski

Head Coach 2007 Boys White

Coach Tracy currently holds certifications in all Grassroots programs 4v4 through 11v11 and is in the process of obtaining USSF Class D License in 2019. Tracy has coached age groups from Academy to U9 for five years with AYSO and PSC and has completed one year of U12 coaching with the PSC boys team. In addition, she has been an active sideline Team Manager for three years, sitting on the sideline with PSC coaches to learn from them and assist the players in any way needed. Tracy played on a local travel team for one season and on her high school team. She also played intramurals in college and continues to play when she can on an adult co-ed league at Soccer Zone. Tracy says, “What I try to bring to the team is not just soccer, but life lessons. Yes, I want to win. More importantly, I want the kids to play together as a team; working together in a positive manner; understanding that errors happen and instead of harping on them, using them to improve themselves and each other. The 2007 Boys team plays by the motto "I will be better. I will improve." I don't ask them to be perfect. I don't ask them to win. I want them to be better. I want them to find ways to improve. For some, that's in their skills. For others, that's in their sportsmanship and ability to play as a team. I want the kids to play tough soccer; give it their best; but still find the fun in and love for the game....because it's the love of the game that brought us all here.”

 
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Phil Kaczmarski

Co-Coach, PSC Academy

Coach Phil has coached youth soccer for 12 years and has coached with PSC for four years, both at the Academy and Select levels. Phil’s coaching experience and training is from the U5 to U12 age groups both with PSC and AYSO Region 74.  He coached the PSC 2007 Boys Green team from the Academy to the U12 level and has coached ASYO from U5 to U12 age groups.  He played soccer from the age of 11 to 18 for recreational and travel soccer clubs and his high school in the Detroit area as a defender, midfielder and goalkeeper.  In his senior year he was named to the All Catholic Team for Detroit area Catholic High Schools and to the Michigan All State team.  He has also been a USSF and AYSO referee and AYSO referee instructor. Phil has three sons who have played or currently play soccer, Jonathon, Daniel, and Michael.

Phil says, “Over the course of a season, watching a player develop skills and confidence as a player, a teammate and a person gives me the greatest satisfaction as a coach. Creating a life-long love of the sport for the Academy players, using the Grass Roots Coaching approach, Play-Practice-Play, from US Soccer is one of Katy’s and my goals.”

 
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Paul Knight

Director of Player Development; Head Coach Girls 2007 Green (Premier)

Coach Knight holds a USSF National D level license and his 31 years of coaching experience covers all age groups at clubs in Michigan, New York, and New Jersey. He has coached both boys and girls at the club and high school levels. Born in England, he continues to play the sport he loves. He was an all-state player at Glen Rock High School in New Jersey and was selected as the best male soccer player at the school's 50th anniversary celebration and was selected to be the first soccer player inducted into the school's Hall of Fame. He played Division 1 college soccer at Philadelphia University on a scholarship and as a senior was drafted by the Detroit Express of the North American Soccer League (NASL). He also spent time playing with Newport County of the English fourth division. Paul says, “ believe that we have time later to teach them to pass, shoot and finish, hit long balls etc. along with all of the tactical things they need to improve their soccer IQ, but in the entry-level stages it has to about competency on the ball, problem solving and finding solutions when you are confronted by those who want to take the ball away from you. I believe that our training sessions should guide and encourage accordingly with a high content of confrontational play.”

 
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Vu Le

Technical Director of Coaching; Head Coach 2010 Girls Green, 2010 Girls White, 2002 Girls Green (Premier), 2002 Girls White (Premier)

Coach Le is the Director of Technical Development for Portage Soccer Club. He has over 15 years coaching experience with the PSC, played three years of college soccer at Kalamazoo College and holds a USSF "B" certification. He is well respected in the soccer community for his coaching and technical training. Over the past few years, he coached the Boys 1997 Green team to a Premier 1 championship and brought them to the MRL level.  Coach Le was also co-coach of our PSC 1989 boys team from U-14 through U-17 coaching them to multiple elite championships, two State Cup quarter-final runs and tournament championships across the Midwest.

 
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Jen Leone

Head Coach 2006 Girls Green (Premier) and 2002 Boys Green (Premier)

Coach Leone has been coaching for over 15 years and holds her USSF National B License and USSF National Youth License.  Her coaching experience includes Kalamazoo Christian High School's JV boys and Varsity girls in 2002-2003, Three Rivers High School's Varsity boys from 2004-2008, Otsego High School's Varsity boys from 2008-2011, Vicksburg High School's JV and Varsity girls from 2005-2008, Three Rivers High School's Varsity girls from 2008-2012, and the Olivet College Women’s Soccer Division III team from 2010-2012. As a player, Coach Jen attended Western Michigan University and was Captain of the WMU Women’s Soccer Team during the 2002-2003 season, when her team won the Mid-American Conference in 2003 and made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament.  As a young player, she played for Vardar and was a four-year ODP state and regional player from 1995-1999.

 
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Nic Losiewski

Co-Coach Girls 2005 Girls Green (Premier)

Coach Nic holds a USSF National C level license, a NSCAA National Diploma, NSCAA Advanced National Diploma, and is One on One Systems of Play certified. He has been coaching men’s and women’s soccer for the past sixteen years. He has coached in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Michigan.  He has coached at the high school, club, college, and at the semi-pro level with the Kalamazoo Football Club. Coach Nic says, “Soccer has allowed me to make great friends and travel to many places.  I fully enjoy teaching others the game that has brought me so many benefits.  I have travelled all around the US developing and working to better myself as a coach. I love the beautiful game and what it teaches the us about ourselves and others.”

 
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Alan Mabie

Head Coach 2001 Girls White (Premier)

Coach Alan currently holds a USSF E license and a MHSAA CAP Masters Elite Certification. 

He has been coaching youth soccer for over 15 years. He started coaching in AYSO for the River Oaks soccer club. He is currently the head Varsity Boys and Girls soccer coach for Delton Kellogg High School, positions he has held since 2010 and 2012 respectively.  Coach Alan has been an assistant coach for the 2001 Girls White Premier team for the past two seasons.

 
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Tim Martin

Head Coach 2008 Boys Yellow

Coach Tim holds a USSF class E license and has an extensive coaching history. He was assistant coach at PSC in 2003 and 2004, an assistant coach at Portage North High School, coached at SoccerZone from 2014 through 2018, AYSO from 2015-2018, and has been back with PSC the last two years. Tim has over thirty years of playing experience with AYSO, PSC, Portage Northern High School, and recreational leagues. He also serves on the KZFC Advisory Board, the KASL Board of Directors, and was with the Gazelle Premier League from 2010 to 2015. Tim says, “My coaching philosophy is to give the players a fun and supportive foundation of skills and tactical understanding in order to enjoy the sport for the rest of their lives.”

 
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Katie McGruder

Head Coach 2010 Girls White

Coach Katie started out coaching for PSC as an assistant coach for Jennifer Leone. This is her second year as head coach of the u10 White team. Katie has been playing soccer for about 19 years. She started out playing for the Portage Lightning when she was nine-years old and continued playing until 18. She played high school soccer at Portage Central and attended Lake Michigan College where she played two years of community college soccer. She currently plays for fun around Kalamazoo in coed and women’s leagues. Katie says, “I get to pass on the knowledge I’ve learned while playing for Portage Lightning over the years.”

 
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Paul Mullins

Co-Coach 2007 Boys Green Head Coach 2005 Boys White

Coach Paul currently holds a USSF Class D license and previously coached at TKO/Crew Juniors. Paul’s playing experience started in England at age five and continued at every school level finishing at the club level for Skipton Town. Paul says, “My passion for the game has allowed me to participate as a player, coach, mentor, and avid fan in several countries and three continents. My playing beliefs were formed in the late 70's from watching my beloved Nottingham Forest and the philosophy of the late, great Brian Clough. Basic technical ability being foremost, with the ability to pass and move effectively combined with a solid team togetherness. Portage Soccer Club is, by far, the closest organization that reflects the grass roots philosophy that led to my soccer journey and the facilities we have available to us are the best I have ever experienced.”

 
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Mark Murry

Head Coach 2008 Boys Green and 2008 Boys White

Coach Mark has over 40 years of soccer experience and continues to learn more about the game each year. He enjoys sharing and teaching what he has learned with our leaders of tomorrow.

 
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Ann Ponicki

Head Coach 2007 Girls White

Coach Ann holds a USSF Level E coaching License. Ann has coached three years of travel soccer the last two with PSC after previously coaching with Red Arrow. Ann currently coaches the Mattawan Junior Varsity team and has for the last 12 years. She also coached the Varsity team during the 2013-2014 seasons. Before coaching Ann played high school soccer for Comstock and collegiately at Kalamazoo College. Ann says, “I really love the Portage Lightning community and how they foster a love and understanding of the game of soccer.  They are player-centered and encourage coach development.  I am proud to be a member of the coaching staff.”

 
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John Power

Head Coach 2003 Boys Green (Premier) and 2006 Boys White

Coach John comes from the land “Down Under” where he coached youth soccer teams for several years before relocating to the Portage community. Both he and his three sons joined Lightning in 2015 to pursue their shared passion for the game.

John holds a USSF Soccer class E license, a US Soccer Grass Roots 11v11 certification, an Australian Football Federation Youth Football Certificate, and is an AFF certified Youth Football Coach. His previous club was Moreland City Football Club in Melbourne where he coached U-11, U-10, and Academy (or, “Mini Roos” as it is known in Australia). John believes, “The role of the youth coach is to provide an instructive and supportive environment in which players reach their full potential as both players and young adults. The lessons learned on the soccer pitch will carry them through their adult lives in terms of striving to do their best and being team players. The Portage Soccer Club provides an environment in which these life lessons can be readily learned along with the game of soccer itself.

 
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David Rice

Portage Soccer Club President; Head Coach Boys 2006 Green (Premier) Boys and 2007 Green (Premier), Assistant Coach 2005 Boys Green (Premier)

Coach Rice holds a USSF National D level license and has 30 years of coaching experience for the PSC. He began coaching for the PSC in 1990 and is the longest tenured coach in WMYSA. Over that time he has coached boys and girls teams including many players who excelled in local high school programs, all levels of college play and one player who played professionally. Over the past few years he has co-coached the 1997 Boys Green team (Premier 1 champions) and the 1989 Boys team which won multiple Elite Championships, had two State Cup quarter-final runs, as well as tournament championships across the Midwest. The 1998 Boys Green team were the Spring 2015 MSPSP Champions in Premier Classic 2. He is well respected in the soccer community for his coaching and volunteerism. He has been an integral part of the Portage Soccer Club board and is an active member holding various positions within the West Michigan Youth Soccer Association. When not coaching (his first love) Rice is serving his 2nd term as PSC President (1997-2003 and 2007 to present), Portage Soccer Classic Director (2003 to present), and was a former Chair of the United Soccer Foundation (the non-profit organization that raised the monies to build the Portage Soccer Complex and improvements to River Oaks Soccer Complex). He was inducted into the MSYSA Hall of Fame in 2018. David says, “The game is a great teacher if we coaches allow it to be. Developing players happens at training sessions; the weekend game is the recital performance.”

 
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Steve Rypma

Head Coach 2008 Girls Yellow and 2010 Boys Green

Coach Rypma currently holds a USSF Grassroots 9v9 License. He has coached with PSC since 2017. During his playing days he played his club soccer for Lakeshore United and high school soccer at Holland Christian. Steve says, “I appreciate PSC's focus on player development from a young age. I believe my primary job as a coach is to ensure that each player on the team is developing the foundational skills and increasing his or her understanding and enjoyment of the game. I try to find "teaching moments" in every training session and game situation to help players understand how their individual skill development will translate into success on the field.”

 
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Anna Stegnik

Head Coach 2008 Boys Black

Coach Anna currently holds a USSF Class E License. She has played soccer with the Kalamazoo Soccer Club, Kalamazoo Homeschool, and Cornerstone University -starting all four years in college as a defender. She has six years of coaching experience with various teams including Hudsonville Homeschool, Wayland High School, Kingdom Soccer Club, and Kalamazoo Christian High School.

 
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Jessi Tweedy

Head Coach 2011 Girls White

Coach Jessi played competitive high school soccer at Portage Central High School from 1996-2000 reaching either the semi-finals or state finals all four years, including winning the state title her senior year. She also played Intramural soccer at MSU. She has coached her daughter’s U7 and U6 AYSO teams before joining the PSC. Coach Jessie says, “I am passionate about providing a positive and fun experience for young girls, to develop them into competent and capable players, giving them opportunities to grow and excel, and find a deeper love of soccer, all while building amazing friendships and team camaraderie along the way.”

 
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John Twiehaus

Head Coach 2005 Boys Green (Premier) and 2001 Boys Green (Premier)

Coach John currently holds a USSF Class E License. He played his club and high school soccer in the metro Detroit area. John says, “I have a passion for the game because it can not only build character, but reveal it as well. Many life lessons can be learned, like working together for a common goal, and the harder you work and push yourself the better chances and opportunities you may have. My favorite soccer quote is, “Let the game be the teacher.”

 
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David Verduczo

Head Coach 2011 Girls Green

Coach David has been coaching AYSO and Club soccer for the past 15 years at various levels from U5 to U12.  He hopes to bring a competitive, development-based approach to the Lightning Green Girls U9 team for the 2019-2020 soccer year!

 
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Ryan Whiting

Head Coach 2011 Boys Green

Coach Ryan has a USSF Level E license and has been coaching youth soccer for the past nine years.  Previously he was the assistant to the PSC White U10 Boys team and is currently the coach of the PCS U-9 Boys White Team. Ryan has played soccer for the last 40 years. He played for PSC as a child, TKO in his teens, and for Hackett Catholic Prep where he was a part pf two MHSAA state title winning teams.  He also played Club soccer at Central Michigan University for two years. He was utilized primarily as a central midfielder in his playing days. Ryan’s coaching philosophy is to “focus on the total player and team development. At the younger ages, this may hinder our team in “wins.” However, over the course of time, as the children get older, that philosophy turns in to team wins. Soccer is about learning how to win and lose, be a part of a team, take direction, give direction, lead, and be led. It is more to me than simply a sport.”

 
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John Wilson

Head Coach 2010 Boys Yellow

Coach John has been coaching with PSC since 2018 at the U9/U10 Boys level. He played soccer with AYSO and Club teams both outdoor and indoor growing up and continued to play indoor soccer through the years. In high school he followed another passion pursuing competitive golf. After high school, Coach John spent 15 years in the Air Force in the Security Forces field. Every deployment he carried a futsal ball with him to play with everyone and anyone that wanted to play. Soccer has always been a big influence for him and using the training techniques learned in the military he is motivated to form a well-balanced and dedicated team. Coach John says that his team mentality is modeled after the Liverpool FC mantra “You'll Never Walk Alone” as we train and play as a team. His focus is to create an atmosphere where players want to excel and compete to the best of their abilities by putting his players in control of making their own decisions. “We have to change, from doubters to believers—now.” ~ Jurgen Klopp 2015. We are Believers... #YNWA