FRISCO, Texas (Oct. 03, 2016) – It is one thing to be surprised to win an award you were nominated for. It’s another to win an award when you had no idea you were nominated. That was the case for 2016 Dr Pepper Female Recreational Coach of the Year Ian Hampton, who thought he was merely attending a dinner.
“My team told me it was a banquet I was invited to because we won the North Texas Soccer Tournament of Champions, and we would just be mentioned at some point in the evening,” Hampton said. “When they announced my name I had to ask them ‘did they just say my name?’. They had to call my name a couple of times before I put two and two together. My team totally surprised me. They got me.”
Hampton’s soccer journey started when he began playing at four-years-old. Once he got into his 20s, Hampton began coaching for a couple clubs, but ultimately switched to the recreational side.
“I coached a couple of teams through the 18 and 19 age group. Once they went to college I decided to become a volunteer coach instead of coaching select,” Hampton said. “When I was coaching club we always saw rec players with great skills and worth ethic, but didn’t have the coaching, and we felt they were just getting passed by.”
As a result, Hampton began coaching two teams. The Tornadoes on the boy’s side, which formed as a result to multiple of the players’ previous teams folding. The girls team, Liverpool Scouser, won the 2015 Tournament of Champions.
“I try to teach the players to stay positive and have a good work ethic inside and outside of soccer. Soccer is a lot like life. You are going to have your hardship and failures, but you have to pick yourself up and move forward,” Hampton said. “I tell them focusing on education and family is very important. We have players who are different races, religions and come from all sorts of backgrounds, but on this team they are together.”
When it comes to specific drills and style of play, Hampton draws from his days of watching the Dutch and German national teams. Hampton uses a lot of coerver drills, players getting plenty of touches on the ball and small sided games with a lot of movement.
“I don’t want the kids running laps or anything, they get tired by doing the drills,” Hampton said. “I’ll set up drills that don’t have a lot of stoppage of play so everyone is constantly moving. Everyone always has a ball, and we always end practice with a game.”
Hampton explained that his team wasn’t affected too much by the US Soccer age mandates because, while his team had to move up an age group, all the other teams in their situation had to move up as well. Hampton also was in favor of the small-sided games mandate, something he already used a lot in practices.
“I tried to communicate with the parents ahead of time, because we knew it was coming,” Hampton said. “They had some questions about if going against bigger players would be dangerous, but after the first game they realized everyone was affected, so it wasn’t a big deal.”
After playing and coaching on the select side, Hampton does say there are some differences between coaching on the recreational and competitive side.
“The volunteer aspect is huge. As soon as parents stop paying you they tend to listen better, and they appreciate you a lot more,” Hampton said. “As a coach it is great to bring a lot of soccer knowledge to teams that otherwise could be coached by a parent who have never played soccer in their life. The parents really appreciate it, and you find that players and parents are a lot more loyal. You don’t see nearly as much players bouncing around to different teams on the rec side.”
When it comes to being the Female Recreational Coach of the Year, Hampton finds himself still shocked to have been selected.
“It’s a great honor. It’s something I never thought I would be around. I’m very excited and happy, and I’m still in shock about it,” Hampton said. “It’s a big deal, and it’s pretty cool the players felt that way. I really enjoyed that night, and I think it is a great program that North Texas recognizes coaches.
To read about the Male Recreational Coach of the Year, John Moen, go here.
To read about the Female Competitive Coach of the Year, Juan Martinez, go here.