May - Coach of the Month

We are delighted to recognize Coach Jens Forsberg, SCOR-Meulensteen as the May Coach of the Month. Jens has coached the 2004 Select Boys the past three seasons and continues to inspire his players to believe in themselves by putting them in challenging situations.

When you think of a coach you think of someone that is passionate about the sport, positive, authoritative, and an excellent role model. Coach Forsberg showcases all of these qualities. April Boyd, whose son has played for Coach Jens the last three seasons says, “he has been such a positive force in my son's life and we could not be more thankful. Even when the kids are down he remains positive not yelling at the players if they made a mistake or tried a new move out on the field. Instead you would hear him say "Unlucky". Then when the player came off the field he would use the opportunity as a teaching moment showing the player what he could have done.”

Jens is originally from Sweden and moved to East Grand Rapids six years ago with his wife and his 13-year-old daughter. Jens loves to play, watch, and coach soccer! He has played soccer for 40 years at different levels—mostly in Sweden but also a year in Scotland. He is still playing—currently three times a week and is still passionate. Jens holds a USSF D license and has been coaching with SCOR for five years and one season as assistant coach for Sparta High School.

Erwin van Elst, Director of Coaching and Player Development at SCOR-Meulensteen, praised Coach Jens for being a terrific teacher and getting his players to entertain possibilities that stretch the limits of their beliefs. He said, “we are very pleased to have Coach Jens on our coaching staff. Coach Jens is a perfect example of a person who loves the game and passes on this passion to his players. Jens relates well with his players and has a very calm yet demanding style of coaching. He shares the ins and outs of the game with his players and as a result his players have developed into capable players with better soccer IQs.”

Gazelle Sports Soccer is honored to acknowledge Coach Jens as the Coach of the Month and we thank him for his infectious passion, keeping his teams motivated, and setting achievable goals for his players.

Exclusive Q&A:

Q: What’s your favorite soccer shoe all time?
A: Adidas Predator Instinct Whiteout

Q: Favorite club team? (EPL, La Liga, Bundesliga)
A: Everton FC (and wherever Zlatan plays)

Q: Favorite player? (men, woman, U-21)
A: Zlatan Ibrahimović or Henrik Larsson

Q: When you coach and teach your team defense, what's more important technique or attitude?
A: Technique. Then using the right techniques, they are able to go in harder and stronger.

Q: What's important for players to understand about you as a coach?
A: I will always ask for more—and that that does not mean that they are not doing well. It is the opposite. That they mastered something and are ready for the next thing.

Q: Did you have any pre-game or post game rituals you practiced routinely when you played?
A: Not really. The closest to a pre-game ritual I had was something like a mental warm-up—getting focused and pumped for the game.

Q: What do you think is the best character trait a coach can possess?
A: Maybe not a character trait per se, but number one is that you care about the one you coach. I think the number one skill is good communication skills. Although super-important, not primarily to be able to explain and show things, but rather the ability to hear unvoiced questions, understand and anticipate each players needs and situation.

Q: If you could choose one place to live in the world where would it be and why?
A: I guess I have chosen where I am right now.

Q: To – date, as a coach, what has brought you the most fulfillment?
A: 100% — seeing the joy of the kids when playing soccer.

Q: Who are some of your favorite musicians, bands or singers?
A: There are many. David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Iggy Pop…

Q: What’s your most impressive “go to” meal that you can cook?
A: I guess I have to go with Swedish meatballs (with mashed potatoes, gravy, lingonberries and pressed cucumber salad)

Q: How do you plan on developing your players on a personal level off of the field?
A: Situations in sports and within a team is often analogous to circumstances off the field. I think that our expectations for attitudes, behavior and interactions on the field will influence the players positively also off the field—and I hope to be a positive role model.

Q: How would you handle discipline of players?
A: I set rules and expectations early on and try to be as consistent as possible in holding the players accountable.

Q: What do you foresee as the key skills your players will want to focus on for development and growth?
A: Ball control

Q: Do you think playing time is more important than training with the best coaches and players?
A: You want to have fun—and develop. No matter if you play all game, every game, you always have more practice time than game time. So, I guess practice gives you more time to have fun and develop.

Q: How do you deal with players and parents about concerns about playing time?
A: If there is a concern I will be clear about my reasoning behind these decisions.

Q: What kind of equipment would you suggest to a new soccer player?
A: A ball

Q: Is having fun more of an importance than winning?
A: Having fun (but it is fun to win)

Q: Why do you feel like impacting the community is important for your club?
A: Kid’s engagement in sports, in particular team sports, can benefit the kids in a lot of ways