Sport is all about passion.
For one soccer coach who has been part of the sport his entire life sharing that passion for the sport is key to his success as a coach.
Kosta Rousis is a native of Greece who moved to Lacombe three years ago and this season took over as head coach for the U10 Lacombe Leto’s soccer team this season.
He said that it is important for coaches to show interest in the sports they coach because otherwise, the players won’t show any interest either.
“If you want to be a coach, you have to have passion,” said Rousis, speaking Greek with his wife Maria translating.
Since the age of three, Rousis has been playing soccer.
He first played on a team at the age of 12. He added that, because he grew up in a small town and there was a lot of competition for spots on the team, players needed to be very talented to play at such a young age.
Culture is the reason Rousis started playing soccer at such a young age, he said.
He explained that in Canada, hockey is everywhere. Everyone plays and follows hockey. Rousis said in Greece, it is the same with soccer, or ‘podosfairo’ as it is called in Greek.
Because of an injury where he broke his hands, Rousis missed his opportunity to go as far as he would have liked with playing soccer.
Since he missed his shot, he wants to share his knowledge and passion of soccer with as many young players as he can to make sure they reach their full potential. It is for that reason that he got involved with coaching, he said.
Family is another reason Rousis wanted to coach, he said. His son Dimitri played on the team and Rousis liked having the opportunity to coach him. Rousis added that he strives to develop a close bond with his players and as such views them almost as part of his extended family.
Many of the players Rousis coached didn’t know anything about soccer, he said, and were simply put into the soccer program by their parents as a summer activity.
He said that many of them didn’t know how to shoot, pass, or even kick a soccer ball correctly at the beginning of the season, which was something Rousis said he found strange having been surrounded by soccer all his life.
However, within a month, Rousis had them playing the way he wanted them to, he said.
Rousis added that, because of his coaching, some of his players have become more interested in soccer and will continue playing it. He added that he has seen great talent in many players from Lacombe and would like to see them go as far as they desire with soccer.
Dedication, charisma and deep knowledge of the sport are what make Rousis a good coach, he said.
Because of these qualities, he has been able to develop a mutual respect between himself and his players that has allowed them to play to their fullest potential.
“To get something from a kid, you need to give them something also,” said Rousis.
He said that because he respects his players, they respect him as well.
Language even presented only a small barrier to Rousis’ coaching. Because he does not speak much English, much of his instruction to his players came through his son or father-in-law.
He added that he was able to communicate many of the drills and techniques the team worked on through demonstrations rather than verbal explanations as well.
“When I needed to talk to them, I found a way to do it,” said Rousis.
He also said he has frustrations with some soccer coaches who admirably volunteer their time to coach soccer, but have limited to no background and knowledge of the sport.
He suggested that anyone wishing to volunteer as a coach sit down with someone who has a background in the sport in order to educate themselves before instructing younger players.
It is unknown at this time if Rousis will be coaching again next season.
However, he said that for any time that he is coaching he will continue to strive to provide direction and high-quality instruction to any players he coaches. He added that it is sharing that knowledge and love for the sport, as well as watching players improve, that keeps him interested in coaching.