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NMI soccer coaches talk about their mentors

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COACHES are some of the biggest influences on star athletes.

A player is mainly shaped by what he or she learned from the coach. But coaches themselves are influenced by their former mentors.

In episode 4 of “Footcast with Norman Del Rosario,” he asked soccer coaches Sugao Kambe, Kiyoshi Sekiguchi and Michiteru Mita who influenced them.

Mita said his former coach focused heavily on physical fitness: just running nearly every day. "My mindset then was, if you could run, you could play football,” Mita said. When their coach started to train them in ball handling, Mita said he and his teammates urged their coach to resume the physical training. He said their coach replied that football training also required ball handling. "So I learned from that and it changed my mindset about football training," Mita said.

Sekiguchi said when he first started playing football, the coach was also a player. “He did not coach. All we did was warm up and play a game every day. This was good for me as a coach….”

Kambe said he looked up to his university coach, Teruki Miyamoto, who played on the Japanese team that won a bronze medal in the 1968 Olympics. “He had a good attitude, technique and tactical awareness. I had confidence as a player, but he was at a much higher level. I learned so much from him, and that’s why I wanted to be a coach,” Kambe said.

 

Coach Michiteru Mita, center background, huddles with the NMI national soccer team members. Contributed photo

Del Rosario then asked his guests what their advice is to the aspiring coaches in the NMI.

“I think a coach's job is to run always,” Kambe said. “If you stop running, you can't coach a player. Also, do not worry about results. If you try and it does not work, try and try again. You just need to love football.”

For Sekiguchi, “a player that plays football every day gets better automatically — always stay positive.”

Mita said coaches should “always think about the players. In order to improve a player, you must love the players. Second is the passion for football, of course.”

With the NMI on its way to a full membership with the Asian Football Confederation, the three coaches believe that NMI soccer could reach high places within the next 10 years.

“AFC will be good for the NMI Football Association,” Kambe said. “Ten years from now local players will be more experienced because of the countless opportunities that AFC will provide them.”

Sekiguchi hopes to see the NMI play against other countries, including Japan.

“Hopefully in 10 years NMI will join FIFA and qualify for the FIFA World Cup,” Mita said.

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