Featured Coach: Nick Cucuk of West Coast FC
Our Featured Coach series continues with an interview with Nick Cucuk of West Coast FC.
Cucuk was recently awarded "Cal South Coach of the Year for the Older Girls Teams" for his stellar coaching performance during the 2014 season. Some of his other coaching accoloades include:
- 2014 National Champions
- 2012, 2013, and 2014 SCDSL Champions
- 2008 and 2009 National Cup Champions
- 2004-2009 League Champions
He also has a large amount of professional playing experience, including stints with Red Star Belgrade, Hadjuk Split, and NK Sibenik in Europe, as well as the LA Heat of the Western Professional Soccer League.
1. Who is your favorite professional player to watch, and what is it about his game that intrigues you the most?
Nick: My favorite player is without a doubt Lionel Messi. He just makes everything look so easy and smooth.
2. What are the major characteristics that you try to instill in your players in order to help them strive to become a complete soccer player?
Nick: I try to get the players to remember that the most important thing in soccer or in life is the next thing you do. Whether it's trying to get the ball back after it's turned over or just simply making the right decision to be made next time around.
I also try to emphasize to them that in order to be a great soccer player, you need to be Tacitally Good, Technically Good, and Your Vision needs to be right on.
3. Is there a specific individual training drill that you would recommend for all youth soccer players?
Nick: All individual drills help when training a player, but it really comes down to what age the player is that you are training.
At all ages, and sooner rather than later, we need to make sure that the soccer player understands that his speed and strength comes from your core, meaning the stomach muscles.
Do a lot of exercises that will give you those six or 12-pack abs.
4. What gives you the most satisfaction as a coach in terms of player and team development?
Nick: The biggest satisfaction is for me as a coach is when my players go on to become college or professional athletes and at the same time are being good role models for the kids coming up right behind them.
There is no greater satisfaction than that.
5. What is the most influential piece of advice that you've received that's helped you throughout your career?
Nick: The best advice that I've received that helped me during my playing career was to always give 110% on and off the field. Another was to never under any circumstances underestimate your opponent.
I've always continued to educate myself as a player and as a coach so that I'm prepared for every situation.