Beyond the Game: How One Coach Helps Provide Better Socioeconomic Opportunities For Her Team.

Rose Shoen is a semi pro soccer player in the Women’s Premier Soccer league. She received all star selection in 2016 and 2017. She also holds a C national USSF coaching license and founded her own men’s soccer franchise, Azteca FC in 2013. She is the only female owner/manager/coach in the San Francisco Soccer Football League’s history. Rose also works coaching high school youth from low income minority groups with the objective to help them receive college scholarships. Many of these players otherwise would recieve a college education and are provided greater socioeconomic opportunities life through her efforts.
Alan: Can you share for the listeners your background of how you came to where you are today?
Rose: Sure so I was born and raised in Reno Nevada and I attended Earl rooster high school I played varsity soccer there for four years and I did varsity track and field additionally I played in a local adult league I went on to play at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio I was NCAA level and then I ended up taking time off and I founded a managed small business called Soccer Academy that was in Sparks Nevada from 2010 to 2013 and then I moved out to Sacramento and that’s when I began coaching and attending college out here I attended all four junior colleges in the Sacramento eventually I got my associates from Sacramento City College and I transferred to the University of California Davis and that’s where I graduated with my bachelor’s.
Alan: How did you get into coaching soccer?
Rose: After I completed my first semester of collegiate soccer in Ohio when I moved back to Reno and I founded Soccer Academy it was a warehouse that we had a futsal court which is hard court v e5 soccer and then it was a personal training space so I became licensed as a personal trainer and I became licensed as a coach and one night these boys were playing drop-in soccer and they’re about high school age and their coach was no longer coaching them and they asked me they’re like Rose would you be interested in coaching us I said okay I want you to come we’ll do a session tomorrow bring any of the boys her interest in let’s run a session so we did the session it was a tough session and these boys were about sophomores and juniors in high school and they told me they’re like we want to play for you I said okay and then one of my friends Jen Mavis actually was running a club called legacy soccer club based out of Sparks Nevada that she was the director of coaching for and so I said you know I’d like to put these boys into your club and I want to learn about coaching licensing and she’s like okay let me help you so she was guiding me and we ended up doing that boys team they were a u-17 team in 2012 and that was also carried in 2013 when I was coaching a u19 are you sixteen and au 13 boys club team and it was a really great experience because I actually got to see this talent level of these Latino boys preferred online Latino and you know they have so much talent but they just really needed the guidance on how do you apply for college what’s available scholarship wise and I realized I had the knowledge my background on how to help them get into college and they had the skills so we were meeting at a good place to help them get into the next level both as students and athletes and I’m actually still very good friends with a lot of those boys I started coaching and many of them went on to play in college and many of them went on to graduate so that was a real blessing because I really got exposed to this other culture and I also was able to learn how can I help these kids they do have the real level to move on to the next level.
Rose: You know I find it interesting is you get involved with these players of the youth players that is just not about soccer it’s about preparing them for life. How do you how do you approach a child say that they’re first-generation they haven’t had college education in the history of their family but you know transitioning into getting him into the college and universities?
Rose: Sometimes the families feel like I’m an outsider and it takes time to come into that but I just really tell them you know I’m here for the benefit of your kid and I work directly with the player I’m like you have this level and there’s different levels in college a lot of people don’t understand that there are junior college levels NAIA NCAA and for each athlete I work with I’m realistic with them on you know this is where you could actually play and these are the scholarships available and this is how we’re going to apply for them I personally help kids prepare for their SAT and ACT I’ve helped them get highlight film to send to coaches I’ve you know been on the call to help them be comfortable with the coach and introduce him to coaches a lot of his communication barrier most kids from these backgrounds not may have not been necessarily taught how to write a formal email and they have to be taught this is how you write a formal email to a coach at a college level this is how you talk to them when you’re discussing scholarships you know this is how you sign up to prep for your SAT one kid I had his parents had never filled out the free and reduced lunch at his school and technically in that district the school will pay for your ACT or SAT say to you if you’re low-income parents had never filled out the form when he went to the counselor they told my player he wasn’t poor enough the kid was definitely in the economic level to where that he should have been receiving that voucher for his AC T so then I had to go and step in and get involved but that’s just one little thing that can actually completely stop a kid from going to college because parents never fill out paperwork they weren’t aware of it they’ve never even heard of an AC T or SAT and they don’t even know what it is they don’t realize that if they don’t fill that out their son cannot take the test which the coach of the college needs to see the results to offer them the scholarship so it all kind of ties together and unfortunately most schools in the public school system are not equipped to help these kids right they don’t they’re are understaffed they are overwhelmed with students and they just want to see the kid graduate they aren’t necessarily concerned with what happens after they graduate and all these kids you know very talented one player worked with you know Northern Nevada Offensive Player of the Year MVP of his high school but if I hadn’t stepped in and really been working with them he would have never left Reno and right now I’m his name is Adrian Lopez and he is playing in Kansas at an NAIA on a scholarship so he will graduate and he’ll be the first one in his family to graduate college.
Alan: Rose in the first segment we talked about how you how you started playing soccer at a relatively early age went through high school and then through college and continued on eventually transitioning into that of coaching I like to spend a little bit of time on as a coach how do you build team unity.
Rose: That’s a great question I have played on teams that have not been unified and I’ve played on teams that have been unified and I really believe that regardless of Licensing level it does come down to psychology and I does come down to social cultural backgrounds and if you don’t know who you’re working with it’s very hard to interact with them California is a pretty cool place to coach I have worked with players from Africa players from Central America South America Asia the Middle East I have a player on my team from Afghanistan right now Dubai and all different you know African American Asian American Caucasian American so there’s all these different cultural backgrounds and my team’s and yesterday I talked to one of the kids on my team he’s from India immigrated here in December and he actually found my team by walking through the park and he came up he’s like I love soccer I’d like to play with you I said sure come play and he literally walked to practice for months and then he finally just got a bike and he bikes to practice and the program I run for the youth is affordable enough where his mom who’s working two jobs she I’ve never been able to talk to her really except on the phone cuz she works so much but her son can participate in our program which is a really beautiful thing and I asked him I said you know how is it being an immigrant you just moved here do you feel welcomed by US tech FC our youth club he’s like yeah and we have all different cultural backgrounds our team different religions economic levels but for a kid like that that just moved here to feel welcome in a program I think demonstrates the type of unity we build within our group and we have the five youth teams and the men’s team and I’m involved with the women’s team I plan on which is a semi-pro team high adult amateur level at second division called premier two-mile but in all these groups what I try to emphasize is that it is irrelevant what your background is what matters is your character as a person how hard do you want to work to earn the minutes and to be participating in this type of program we do set code of conduct so we have them read over code of conduct no lying show up on time be respectful talk to me in person one of the things that separates a lot of teams is they create subgroups so one of the things you have to focus on as a coach is how do you make everyone feel like they’re actually a part of it regardless if they’re a bench player if they’re a starter and that’s one of the challenges of team management in any type of organization some people feel closer to the center than others and how do you make that bench player feel part of the team I had a player who came to me about four years ago he’s Asian and Asian American but his parents are very traditional Chinese and there was a lot of pressure on him and he was an average player so he was on my men’s B team and I told him I said I like your character I’d like to help you and I will develop you so that you can eventually get on the a-team if you stay committed to our training program he eventually made it onto our a-team as a bench player and this year playing in the second division in the San Francisco soccer league he’s scored two or three game-winning goals and that’s coming from a kid that would have never made it on a team at this level without that type of development and feeling like he was a part of something when he came to me he was a junior college student struggling I mentored him and talked to him a lot one-on-one he just graduated from UC Davis with a degree in economics and now he’s working full-time and um he wrote me a very nice letter actually when he graduated thanking me for his mentorship of him over the past four years and I’m an outsider just a coach but I really think that making feel like they’re a part of something allows them to play better in any sport and also translates to other area of life like academics personal relationships and your career path so I think being in that team environment really does make a difference in someone’s life and that’s why I try to create for my players.
Alan: In the last segment we talked about transitioning into coaching but we were quickly evolving into mentorship and we didn’t have really time to expand everything there but I would say that you’ve gone well beyond the coach and that of being a life mentor to many of these kids and could you would you be willing to share some of the stories about some of the kids that you’ve been able to help through life?
Rose: Yeah I think one of the more recent stories is a player named Ram Keller originally from Africa he came he immigrated to United States played junior college in the East Coast and then he can’t he his family some of his family was based here extended family and he showed up one day to practice another player brought him and he’s like I really want to play for you I was like okay so he started the process and he knew he was good but he needed to be kind of refined from a personality standpoint and there was rough moments where it was a very direct confrontation about his behavior as a player um I knew he was talented I knew he had the skill level to play at that next level took him to several college ID cams a couple of schools didn’t want to offer him the full scholarship you know they didn’t want him we went through a lot of struggles he did very well in the summer in spring season in San Francisco soccer league and then at a last-ditch effort we were helping him email these other coaches and we found a coach in Kansas and the coach said you know you need to come out for a child so I helped him get out there tried out coach wanted immediately offer him a full scholarship came back we continued training until he had to go August I believe 8th of this year and then flew him back out and currently he’s number one in the country for NAIA men’s soccer four goals and assists and he earned NAI Male Athlete of a week two weeks ago and player of his conference and this was a kid that other teams would not pick up in the area you know I had to take him home after every practice and make sure he had to ride to every practicing game waking up at 5:00 a.m. some days to get him for 9:00 a.m. games that we had to drive to in San Francisco you know and so it’s a lot of additional work but I think that it’s a testament that he really did deserve to be at that level and I’m grateful that I was a part of the journey to help him get there but it was by no means easy but he’s truly shining on a national level right now as a male soccer player in NAIA he scored two hat tricks in the past five games here broke his school boring record so and he wrote me a very touching letter saying thank you and it was just really neat that I was able to work with the player that needed my help sometimes as a coach you’re in an environment where players want your help but they don’t necessarily need it that badly this type of player if I hadn’t stepped in probably would not have made it to the next level because he needed that additional help due to his life circumstances so for me it’s a blessing because I get to work with kids like that.
Alan: Rose what I appreciate is a lot of people can find excuses to be doing other things in life and there you are reaching out you know focus on bettering the lives of the kids involved within the soccer program and also advancing them in their education . When you look at that one of the greatest challenges or obstacle that these I’ll call disadvantaged youth face what why don’t get into the colleges and universities?
Rose: It’s just not understand the systems if you come from a different cultural or economic background and say your parents ever went to college or you just don’t know how to get there and there are certain steps that you have to take standardized tests understanding how to order your transcript understanding how to give it to the college understanding how to get NAIA or NC Double A clearance to even play at that level these are things that aren’t common knowledge especially if you’re from a different background and so I try to basically teach these parents and families and kids that I work with we have group messages and I’ll just send them links like oh look these are the top ranked colleges oh this is another scholarship that’s available the deadlines in October you need to apply things like that they don’t know about deadlines there are literally millions of dollars in scholarships and grants available for students and unfortunately a lot of times they can’t connect together there are very wealthy foundations that want to donate to these students and their students who need it but you have to find that person in the middle who’s going to connect him both because most of the time they don’t know it exists and you have to find a mentor usually has to try and connect them and sometimes coaches are extremely busy they have families they have other things and they don’t want to take the time to sit down for two hours and really plan out how are we getting this kid to the next level but for me I really find a lot of peace and joy in doing this it gives me a lot of personal satisfaction to help these kids I feel like I make a real difference and it’s not just like writing a check you know we donate to charities when you have a good job you want to donate but I feel like donating your time to these kids when you do understand the systems is a lot more beneficial because it can literally open up doors for education and they will earn their own money for the rest of their life they won’t be on any type of assistance because they can finally earn their own way and they want to they want to work hard.
Alan: When you look into the future I guess one thing about soccer is it crosses international boundaries people understand kicking the ball and scoring the goals but do you find problems within when you get different from different people from different cultures on your team do you ever have challenges or trying to get everyone unified they’re?
Rose: Not really I mean I think you kind of set the tone as a coach right I am a female coach that’s a young coach I’m usually the youngest coach in any we got coach in and I’m typically usually the only female because I predominately coach in boy in men’s leagues I have not coached and against any other female coaches in my league and I know that I’m the only one at the UPS cell level and the SFL level the s Festival was found in 1902 so it’s been around 116 years and I’m the first female coach to take a men’s team from the third division to the first division so we’ll be playing in the premier starting next year in a stadium called boxer stadium in San Francisco which is really neat but for my for my men that I work with I tell them like I understand what it feels like to be kind of an outsider an underdog and I know a lot of you are in the same position we have players from all over totally different backgrounds I said we’re going to work together as a group we’re all here equal we’re all going to work hard as a group so I think that you set the tone as a coach and as a manager and a leader that we aren’t allowing racism there is no you know we’re not excluding anyone everyone’s equal and everyone gets to work hard you’re not being favored on anything besides what you are going to contribute to the group so and I mean there’s a base skill level at a high level of soccer that you must possess but I’ve taken players as practice players that have earned their way up to beyond the lineup and they have worked hard and stayed in the program and they’ve done what was necessary and they were able to level up to the next level so it’s not impossible I same thing with the youth program we have various different backgrounds and those kids make the decision to put in the work to level up to where they need to be to be a player on this team.
Alan: Rose listening to you I bet you have a long waiting list of people trying to get on your team?
Rose: You know what’s interesting is even though I’ve had you know people interview me in articles published I still am out there five to seven days a week coaching the teams and I always have room for our players I tell him not everyone’s willing to come put in the work at a two hour two and a half hour session to get better last night we were at the track running sprints and stairs until 10:00 p.m. at night and I had less than 20 people and that’s a train I provide it free basically for my team for my men and then also some of the women and girls and high school kids want to come so I’m providing a high level training session for them you know I don’t have a hundred people out there not I tell them but the extra mile is always less crowded right so there’s always room for improvement as an athlete and as a player and as a person and not everyone wants to do that type of dedication level so there’s always room for more.
Alan: If someone wanted to get in contact with you to get sign up for this soccer team how would they go about that?
Rose: We have our Facebook Aztec FC for the adult side and asked techyv FC junior for the east side I’m on social media Rose Shoen on Facebook RShoen_15 on Instagram and then we also have the team Instagram Azteca FC Twitter I have my email and then my cell phone number is listed on the website AztecaFC.com so there’s various ways to communicate with me and I do manage social media so people can communicate.