March - Coach of the Month

ABK Futsal and Michigan Futbol Academy (MFA) Coach Jessie Zamudio is our Gazelle Sports Soccer Coach of the Month for March. In his third season at ABK Futsal, coach Zamudio lead his 06 Boys Academy team to a National title. Through soccer, Jessie says he’s learned that if you are dedicated and work hard, you can accomplish anything you put your mind to.

Jessie is being recognized this month for not only lifting a National Championship but also for his tireless devotion to the sport and his players. Coach Zamudio is known for leading by example. He’s dedicated, determined, teaches teamwork, challenges his players, and recognizes that building a players character is of utmost value. His goal is to not only see his players become better athletes, but more importantly become better critical thinkers, students, and friends to direct whatever challenges they may face away from the pitch.

Coach Zamudio grew up in Grand Rapids, MI. He has a sister and a little brother who do everything together, he says. Jessie attended Davenport University where he was a student athlete studying Psychology and Women’s Studies while holding down the center midfield when playing the beautiful game.
Derek Dufendach, the Director of Coaching at ABK Futsal and MFA Academy, had this to say about the young coach: “Jessie has been an outstanding addition to our MFA coaching staff this year! He is uniquely gifted in his abilities to bring the best out of his players while maintaining close relationships with everyone, on and off the court or field.”
Winning a national championship is no accident. It takes hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all love of what you are doing. Coaches are the backbone, educators and unsung heroes of any team.

Congratulations, Jessie! We can’t wait to see what an incredible legacy you’ll build with the young lads at ABK and MFA.

Exclusive Q&A

Q: What’s your favorite soccer shoe all time?
A: Nike Mercurial Vapor 3

Q: Favorite club team? (EPL, La Liga, Bundesliga)
A: Manchester United (EPL) Barcelona (La liga) Bayern (Bundesliga)

Q: Favorite player? (men, woman, U-21)
A: Neymar

Q: When you coach and teach your team defense, what's more important technique or attitude?
A: Attitude, most definitely attitude. You can't execute technical things in a game without the correct attitude.

Q: What do you think is the best character trait a coach can possess?
A: I wouldn't say its a trait, but always open to learning more. Never thinking they know it all.

Q: If you could choose one place to live in the world where would it be and why?
A: Barcelona, Spain. It's been a dream of mine to watch Barcelona play. Being minutes from the stadium is something that I would never be able to pass on, it would for sure be Barcelona.

Q: To – date, as a coach, what has brought you the most fulfillment?
A: Seeing players flourish on and off the court. For me it is important that my players carry their self well and excel on and off the field.

Q: What’s wrong but sounds right?
A: Even when I am wrong I am right. Because when I am right I am right, when I am wrong, I could have been right cause I could've been wrong, so I am still right.

Q: What’s your most impressive “go to” meal that you can cook?
A: I would say my grilled chicken with veggies and rice. Everyone always ask me how I cook my chicken and what ingredients I use.

Q: Did you have any pre-game or post game rituals you practiced routinely when you played?
A: Yes, I would always pray in the locker room. Before the whistle I would crouch down and pray as well.

Q: What's important for players to understand about you as a coach?
A: I think it is important to understand that I value what players do off the field just as much as what they do on the field. To me a complete player knows how to carry their self when they are on the field and can carry their self just as well off the field. I want them to be good at soccer and life.

Q: What team building activities do you like?
A: Honestly, I think it depends on the team. I don't have a "favorite activity" I think it will depend on what I think the team needs based on the first time meeting them.

Q: What do you foresee as the key skills your players will want to focus on for development and growth ?
A: The most important characteristics I think players have to have are Hard work and dedication. I consider these skills because very few have this. Hard work and dedication is what will make a difference between a great player and a good player.

Q: Do you think playing time is more important than training with the best coaches and players?
A: I have told many people that know me that playing in general is the most important thing for a kids development. Playing on the street, playing in the yard, in the basement, at school. At the end of the day, the kids will be better by training on their own, not by showing up to 3 hours a practice a week.

Q: Is having fun more of an importance than winning?
A: This depends on the age, level, and skill of the team. If you are a professional team, usually winning is the objective. A u9's team objective is not to win a game, a u16 MRL team playing state cup final's want to win. It all depends on the team and scenario I believe.

Q: Who are some of your favorite musicians, bands or singers?
A: Drake would have to be my favorite rapper.

Q: Why do you feel like impacting the community is important for your club?
A: A club that isn't making a difference in the community is not a club that people will remember and want to be with long term. Soccer for kids will one day pass. They will remember their friendships, accomplishments, and goals they reached with their teammates. If we are not impacting or making a difference on the kid's life then we are not doing a job. A coach isn't only a coach. He is a role model, a teacher, a parent, and much more. This is the same for the club. I will say it again, it is important to provide an avenue for players to grow and develop on and off the field and this starts with the club.