By Kristina Charania
JBST Soccer Magazine: Tell us a bit about yourself, your studies, and your envisioned profession.
I am currently a fourth year Kinesiology student at the University of Western Ontario. In my last year of high school, I had my anterior cruciate ligament (a knee ligament) torn in a soccer game. When I received news of my injury, I was devastated. The rehab process put me on the path to becoming a physiotherapist so I could work with young athletes in injury rehab and prevention.
JBST Soccer Magazine: How long have you played community soccer? Which soccer club did you play for, and which soccer level did you play at?
I have played community soccer for 13 years starting at the age of 5. I spent almost my entire community soccer career with Dunbar (which has now become part of Vancouver United).
JBST Soccer Magazine: How did you like community coaching? Who were your coaches for those years? How did community soccer influence your life and your studies?
I’ve always enjoyed community soccer coaching. My father was my coach from the year I started playing soccer until the year of my graduation from high school. He was always a great coach and a strong motivator for my soccer dedication. I’ve also received coaching from notable Whitecaps players including Steve Kindell, Chris Franks, and Eddie Sabrango.
JBST Soccer Magazine: How long did you benefit from JBST Soccer Academy’s coaching facilitated by Jean Jacques Bosco? How did you like your experience with J.J.’s technical skills development?
The most professional coaching I have received was from Jean Jacques Bosco. I would definitely say that it was during this coaching that I started to take soccer seriously and really tried to improve my skills. Although I had received professional training before, it was not as often or as rigorous as the training J.J. gave me. He helped me see the flaws in my game play and most importantly what I would need to work on to improve as a player.
JBST Soccer Magazine: You are now a JBST Soccer Academy assistant coach for children between 3 and 12 years old. What inspired you to begin coaching kids with JBST?
I was a coach for the last two years of high school for the U16/U17 Dunbar soccer girls’ team. It was a lot of fun and a great learning experience. Now that I am looking to pursue sports training and sports rehab, I relish the opportunity to work with younger kids and try to set them on the path to success from a young age. As I said earlier, it took consistent professional training for me to realize that I could really go somewhere with my dedication to soccer.
JBST Soccer Magazine: JBST Soccer Magazine learned that you are doing a physiotherapy practicum with the Vancouver Whitecaps. How has that experience been going for you?
The experience has been amazing so far! It is great to see so many professional coaches and physiotherapists helping our young soccer players work towards a professional career. When I was playing soccer, there was no program that was the equivalent to the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency Program, and I truly think that this program provides the necessary tools for a young athlete to become a pro. The specifically designed strength training, injury rehab, and one-on-one training with the physiotherapists is exceptional because young athletes are not only learning soccer skills but are also getting a well-rounded training program similar to that of the Whitecaps MLS team.
JBST Soccer Magazine: You’ve played at Silver Level and you ended your community soccer career at the age of 17 as a Gold player. What do you think is your biggest achievement in soccer playing and leadership?
I would say that my biggest achievement was not an award I won or a goal I scored – rather, my achievement was learning the skills required to be a successful soccer player. In my last few years of soccer playing, I learned how to learn. This may not sound like a big accomplishment, but the technique I discovered had allowed me to greatly improve my soccer playing in a short period of time. Everybody has the potential to be an amazing player and learn quickly, but you need someone to point you in the right direction. I would say that is what I value most from what I’ve gained out of community soccer. It continues to help me to this day.
JBST Soccer Magazine: Do you think that it’s a good idea to support Canadian soccer promoters like JBST’s Traveling Team and their aspirations to play soccer in foreign countries?
Soccer is the number one most played youth sport in Canada, and yet we have very few internationally recognized professional players. There is a huge amount of involvement in soccer, but most young players graduating high school have few professional prospects. I think it is very important that we provide more grass-roots training and opportunities for young players to dream of becoming a professional player, and then work towards it. I think that JBST Soccer and the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency Program are providing some of the necessary opportunities that these young players need.
JBST Soccer Magazine: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I would like to say to all the kids out there that love playing soccer that it is never too late to dream of going professional. There are now more avenues available to become professional. You need to learn how to dedicate yourself, train, and most importantly, learn how to learn. Get involved, seek professional training, and put yourself on the path to being a successful soccer player.
We thank you very much for your life-long involvement in community soccer.