Meet Coach Jeff Lucia

Name: Jeff Lucia

Team (ex: MARA baseball): OPRA soccer

1. How long coaching? I’ve been on the varsity baseball coaching staff at the school where I teach for many years, and I’ve been a volunteer youth soccer coach since 1999.

2. Why become a coach? My sons were interested in playing soccer, and I recognized the need for parents to volunteer their time to run the programs and coach the teams. For many of my players, recreational soccer is the only team soccer they will ever have the chance to play. If the fun goes out of it, they will stop playing and move on to some other activity. If I’m able to help maintain the quality of the experience for the players, it can keep them coming back to play season after season.

3. What advice do you give kids before, during and after the game? As the season progresses, I want the players to try to improve their individual and team soccer skills, to work hard in practice, and to enjoy seeing the team get better. When it’s game time, take the field ready to hustle and play your best team soccer. Play the entire game with determination, and don’t get caught up in the score or the ups and downs of referees’ calls. When the game is over, display good sportsmanship and congratulate the opponent on a game well played.

4. What advice do you have for parents? Keep everything positive and help your kids enjoy the experience of team play. Don’t be critical of how they played or whether the team won or lost, but instead emphasize the fun aspects of soccer and the camaraderie among teammates and families. Teach the kids to follow through on commitments by making sure they’re at practices and games on time. And one other thing: I’m going to need a lot of help each season – so, dads and moms, please be willing to step in and help coach and run practices. Before you know it, you’ll be a head coach, too!

5. Favorite sports moment? I have had many, as a player, a coach, and a spectator. But just a few weeks ago my U-14 Coed team won the Mecklenburg Area Recreational Soccer (MARS) tournament championship on double overtime PK shootouts in both the semi-final and final games – a great day for the Fury!