Potomac Soccer Wire recently caught up with Virginia Soccer Association coach Paul Frascione, who in January was named the Virginia Youth Soccer Association's Girls Recreation Coach of the Year.
PSW: Hi Paul. Congratulations on being named Region I and VYSA Girls Recreation Coach of the Year. Did you know you were nominated?
PF: Thanks! I didn’t know about it until I was notified by VYSA. It was then I found out I was being submitted as a nominee for Region I as well.
PSW: How long have you been coaching? Do you have any licenses?
PF: 10 years. "E" license.
PSW: You’re also a referee, correct?
PF: Yes, since 2006.
PSW: Do your kids play soccer?
PF: Yes, all three of my kids play. Nikki at Under-19 girls' rec (my current team), Cody at U13B travel, and Kylie at U6 recreation.
PSW: How do you fit in the time?
PF: I have a very understanding and patient wife! You just make the time. Between coaching, refereeing and sitting on the board, VSA (Virginia Soccer Association) soccer occupies an average of 20 hours week during each season. I do it to give back to a sport and club that’s been very good to my kids.
PSW: We’ve heard you have a “man cave” but it’s not at home…
PF: Yes. The running joke in my family is that on any given weekend during the season, my permanent address is “POD” at Long Park, Haymarket, Va. 20169!
PSW: What is it about coaching that you love?
PF: Without a doubt, working with the kids – it’s the reason why I coach. This is, was, and always will be about them first. I’ve had the majority of my girls team together since U14 and I’ve literally watched them grow up. People ask me what accomplishment I’m most proud of with this team and it’s an easy answer. In any given season, I’ll average 18-20 players on my team – that’s 18-20 extraordinarily unique and distinct personalities off the pitch. On the pitch, there is exactly one team and every one of those girls will play for the team, and put the team’s interests before their own, without hesitation and without being asked.
PSW: What parts of coaching could you do without?
PF: Honestly? The ultra-competitive, win-at-all-costs mentality that has infiltrated the sport at all levels of competition. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve nothing against wanting to win. I just won’t do it at the expense of the girls having fun. Players, coaches, and parents seem to get more out of control each season. People just seem to have lost perspective.
PSW: What’s your favorite coaching moment?
PF: OK, you got me…after answering the last question, the ironic answer to this one is a win. There is a team that we’ve played just about every season and try as we might, the best we’ve ever been able to do is tie. They are a very talented team, coached by somebody whom I respect greatly – I consider him to be one of the “good guys” in our sport. I don’t believe they had lost a game in several years…until last season. In probably one of the best soccer matches I’ve ever had the privilege of coaching, we finally beat them 1-0. It was a great moment for our team and a beautiful thing to be a part of – regardless of the outcome.
PSW: What moment would you like to forget?
Several seasons ago, I got red carded in a all-star tournament game for encouraging the young center referee to be more mindful of player safety. Though I was polite in my choice of words, I’m sure the elevated volume of my voice had some bearing on her decision. It’s the only card I’ve ever received and it was the only game I’ve ever coached where I seriously considered pulling my players off the field. I’m not proud of myself for what happened but at the same time, I feel that player safety must be always be the first of all considerations.
PSW: What advice do you have for young coaches, or parents who are new to the game?
Have fun. If you have fun, your team will have fun. After all my experiences as a coach and a referee, I believe strongly that a team takes on the personality of the coach. Regardless of the level of competition, all kids deserve the chance to have fun and exit the season better players than when they started. As a coach, you’re obligated to give them that chance.
*Photo credit: Jeff Mankie/News & Messenger