Sena Akadir…From Seattle United Player to Seattle United Coach

Sena Akadir…From Seattle United Player to Seattle United Coach

Former Seattle United Player Returns As Seattle United Coach

Seattle United coach Sena Akadir grew up in Ethiopia and was raised in Seattle.  He went on to play high school soccer at Garfield High School and enjoyed a four year playing career at Seattle United, playing for coaches Carlos Enriquez and Paul Aur in the South Region.  Currently a student at the University of Washington, Sena has come full circle and is now a coach at Seattle United.  We caught up with Sena recently to ask him about the transition from player to coach at Seattle United.

A very impressive story, indeed….

Full Interview:

Does coaching for Seattle United after having played your club soccer here hold any extra significance?

Coaching for the club I played most of my youth soccer for, holds a lot of significance for me, because it gives me a chance to give back to the club that has given me so much.  Playing for Seattle United and playing for great coaches like Carlos Enriquez and Paul Aur, has in a lot of ways helped shape me into the person I am today.  Because playing for this club was more than just about soccer…it provided me with essential life skills by ingraining in me the values of hard work, loyalty, responsibility and good character.  Because the guys I played with and played for, were more than just teammates or was a brotherhood, “la familia” as we liked to call it.  So being back coaching for the club, gives me a chance to help young players develop their skills in the same kind of environment I grew up in.

What has been the most rewarding part of coaching here at Seattle United.

The most rewarding part of coaching for me so far has been witnessing the continued development of my players. More than the wins or trophies…seeing that look on a players face when they’ve mastered a certain skill move, or their shot accuracy, or defensive ability, or what have you; not because of anything special that I’ve done, but simple because of through their own passion and hard work, is a reward in itself.  Because that feeling of success has a habit of becoming contagious and greatly improving team chemistry.

What has been your biggest challenge in terms of your young coaching career.

The biggest challenge in my coaching career thus far has been learning to be adaptable.  Game plans and sessions plans don’t always go as planned.  And as a coach I’ve learnt to be willing to change the plans and adapt then to fit the team and the situation to make our time more productive.

What are your goals and aspirations as a coach?

Like every coach my goal is to win…but beyond that my goal is to be able to get all the teams I coach or will coach, playing good quality team soccer.  Making the team one big unit; everyone from the keeper to the forward playing both defense and offense.

Do you have a personal “coaching philosophy”?

My coaching philosophy is simple…hard work beats talent any day of the week.  Yes talent is good, but without hard work it means nothing, because only hard work breeds success.

How did playing your youth soccer in the Seattle United environment prepare you for your coaching career?

When I’m coaching, I’m preaching the same lessons I was taught back when I was playing.  Even though some time has passed since I’ve played for the club, the environment is still the same.  One important lesson I learned from my coaches is that everyone makes mistakes, but what counts is how you bounce back from those mistakes.  They gave us autonomy in fixing our own mistakes in games and practice, instead of giving us the traditional coaches response . The idea behind this was that ‘when someone makes a mistake, they’re the first ones to know it, and having 10 other people pointing out doesn’t necessarily help that person improve.’  As a player having that kind of trust and respect from a coach is a powerful thing, which teaches the player about responsibility.  So when I’m coaching, I go into it with this mind set of mutual respect…just because they’re kids, doesn’t mean they don’t have valuable thoughts and ideas that are better than mine, because even coaches can make mistakes.