European Spotlight: Gary Harless, bantam soccer coach at Grafenwöhr
Which team do you coach?
I coach the Flaming Knights, a bantam soccer team for boys and girls aged 9 to 12. My wife, Lila, is the head coach and my daughters, Kaley and Cassidy, play in the team.
Why are they called the Flaming Knights?
The kids came up with it. They like the name but I don’t know what it means.
Are you a soccer expert?
I don’t know anything about it. Before the season we got some books from the library and went through them to determine some basic drills. The primary philosophy we are following is to work on basics at each practice. Our strategy is to control the ball until we get it into an area within 30 yards of the goal and then push it in.
What about American sports?
My main sport is basketball. In basketball you do the same thing – you penetrate and if you get shut down, you dump it. In soccer we are applying the same principles. With the dribbling and passing we are trying to get the kids to form a triangle and pass the ball on the way up until they can attack the goal.
Did you watch the soccer World Cup?
Yes. Initially I supported USA but after that Germany. Before that I had never watched a World Cup.
American football is probably my favorite sport to watch. It is like war. I support the Denver Broncos.
But I don’t compare soccer to American football. They are two different games. I like my kids playing soccer, but on Sunday I’d much rather watch American football.
There was a nasty incident at the end of the World Cup where a French guy head butted an Italian in the chest and got sent off. Do you ever see that sort of stuff in bantam soccer?
I haven’t sent these kids do anything intentional to hurt anybody.
What is the funniest thing you’ve seen in a kids’ soccer game?
Meagan dancing is pretty funny. It is kind of like your NFL players after a touchdown.
And a lot of times Reanne sits on the bench and asks me questions about the birthday party she is going to and totally forgets about the game.
Title: Soccer coach from Tooele, Utah
Day job: Operations Research analyst for the directorate of training at JMTC Grafenwöhr
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