A desk job with a regular routine certainly isn’t for everyone, and Jake Lind ’16 knew it wasn’t for him after graduation from Eastern Mennonite University.
Lind describes himself as the kid who played soccer every night and quit other sports to keep playing soccer. He started to notice his coaching abilities early on.
“Even as a player, I had more of a coach’s mentality,” said Lind.
So naturally, at EMU, Lind played soccer, earned his degree in kinesiology, added minors in coaching and psychology, and then hoped for a job in the sport he has loved forever.
Lind now works with Coerver United in Northern Virginia and Maryland. One of the premier soccer skills training academies, Coerver is endorsed by some well-known sportsmen who are among the elite in the game.
If you’re not a soccer fan, skip to the next paragraph. If you are a fan, the following names will probably mean something: Argentinian Osvaldo “Ossie” Ardiles, the first non-British or Irish manager in the Premier League; Gerald Houllier, former technical director of the French Football Federation; and Carlos Parriera, Brazil’s head coach. These men are among the endorsers of Coerver’s training.
Love for soccer leads to coaching
At least one person never questioned Lind’s drive to stay in the game.
“It’s not surprising to me that he has taken his passion into a vocation where he can share his love for the game with aspiring young footballers,” said EMU head soccer coach Roger Mast, who has known Lind ever since he was a young player at EMU’s Kicks Soccer Camp.
That passion was recognized by Coerver’s regional director Vincent Caltabiano. “Jake comes to us as a young coach, new to the profession, but further along in his knowledge for the game and in his ability to teach the game than many are at his age. Jake has a very bright future with Coerver and the game of soccer.”
Lind played on local travel teams, and at Eastern Mennonite High School before coming to EMU.
“Jake always loved soccer and he poured his heart and soul into playing the game,” Mast said. “I cannot think of a person in my history of coaching that spent as much time playing as Jake did. He could be found on the soccer field, the outdoor basketball courts or an indoor facility.”
After graduating from EMHS, Lind took a gap year and coached the school’s junior varsity boys team. After attending a semester of college in Ohio, Lind began to consider coaching as a career, eventually returning to EMU, where he could play soccer and tailor his curriculum to his vocational hopes.
On the pitch, Lind played in 45 games, scored eight goals, had nine assists and ended with 25 points. As a junior, he led his team in goals and points, and also topped the ODAC with five game-winning goals, en route to All-ODAC Third Team honors. He was a senior co-captain and twice earned All-ODAC Academic Team honors.
D.C. United internship sets stage
During his summer cross cultural experience at Washington Community Scholars’ Center, Lind interned with DC United’s U23 soccer team, assisting with transitions during practice and goalkeeper training, as well as training preparation. He also ran summer camps for elementary and middle school-age athletes.
While he was interning there, he was approached by Caltabiano. The company was looking to expand into Northern Virginia and Maryland. After his internship with D.C. United wrapped up, Lind accepted the position.
Caltabiano says Lind has been instrumental in the company’s growth already, helping to secure indoor space to run Coerver’s first winter training program in Harrisonburg at Next Level Athletic Development.
“I always had people telling me, ‘You’re gonna have to get a real job. You have to stop playing soccer eventually,’ and I questioned that,” Lind said.
Now he doesn’t need to respond. As a Coerver coach, he works with athletes ages eight to 14 to improve their ball-handling skills in a clinic situation. He sometimes spends 8-12 weeks at a stretch with a specific team.
“We work on a lot of technical training and getting players touches on the ball as much as possible,” said Lind.
Coerver United also runs week-long camps in the summer, which offer a concentrated version of what a Coerver coach would teach a team during the season.
Lind enjoys coaching with Coerver. “I couldn’t do a nine-to-five job where I sit in a desk all day,” he says. “Being able to go move around and be active and get paid for it is awesome.”