Local soccer coach Troy Dayak wants young people to enjoy the game as much as he does.
His passion for soccer has enabled him to build West Coast Soccer of Livermore from eight teams in 2011 to 18 youth club teams, plus a women’s Premiere League team.
This year, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America took notice of Dayak’s accomplishments and named him National Coach of the Year for youth girls.
Dayak, 42 and a Tracy resident since 1990, said it’s an affirmation of the work he has put into developing girls and boys teams during the past three years at West Coast Soccer. They include a Kryptonite team that won the U.S. Club Soccer National Cup in its first year, 2011, as an under-15 team and returned to the title game for two more years, finishing in second place.
“Putting those teams together and organizing the club to support that ladder has been an incredible building process, and a lot more work than meets the eye,” Dayak said.
“You don’t do it for recognitions, but when people recognize that you’re working that hard and doing good things for the sport … it’s really nice to have an organization like this recognize that.”
Dayak noted that 10 girls from the Kryptonite team — including his daughter, Adaurie, a 2013 Kimball High graduate and a freshman at Sacramento State — are now playing women’s soccer at the college level.
Four of the West Coast Soccer girls teams that Dayak coaches — the U17 Kryptonite, U15 Wild, U15 Wonder and U15 Wicked — won Nor Cal Premiere State Cup championships this year.
As he sees it, his club and the clubs his players compete against are part of a growing trend in soccer. While many players join their high school teams, Dayak said that college coaches have a better chance to observe players at U.S. Club Soccer or Nor Cal Premiere tournaments.
To be competitive, clubs like West Coast Soccer build teams with the most skilled players they can find.
“Really, these coaches, the college (identification) scouts, are looking at players competing with the best players,” he said.
In the past year, Dayak has joined up with Mountain House Soccer Club to establish a local recreational program, and he’s getting ready to lead the group’s spring recreational league.
Dayak’s experience includes a role in the 1992 U.S. Olympic men’s soccer team. He also overcame injuries to lead the San Jose Earthquake to Major League Soccer titles in 2001 and 2003. Today, in addition to running West Coast Soccer, he is a regional director for the Earthquakes Youth Academy.
Louis Waxler, national chairman of the NCCAA Youth Coach of the Year award, said Dayak was chosen from more than 40 candidates around the U.S., in large part on the recommendations of West Coast Soccer players and parents.
“He exemplifies what the NSCAA embodies, given his experience as a player and his creation of the club and giving back to the kids, both boys and girls,” Waxler said.
“It’s not so much about wins and losses as development of player .”
Dayak will be presented with the award Jan. 17 during the NSCAA’s national convention from Jan. 15 to 19 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.
Most of the convention is dedicated to seminars on coaching skills and philosophies. Dayak said it will be his 16th year attending the event, sometimes to teach seminars and sometimes to learn from other coaches.
“I never miss it. It’s a great event,” he said.
Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.