The Kodiak soccer program is seeing some new faces from the sidelines. Joe Mauro, a born, and raised Lethbridge resident takes over the reign’s of the men’s soccer team. By his side, stands his cousin Frank Suriano, whom has coached side by side for 15 years. Newcomer to the coaching trio is 21 year old Michael Racz who was helping coach a struggling team that lost its head coach, and Racz knew Suriano, and asked for his help three years ago. “Mike shows a great understanding of how to coach the game, and has a bright future in the coaching”, say’s Mauro
Mauro has been coaching in the Lethbridge area for 25 years. After growing up watching his older cousin Frank play for the Lethbridge Royals in the AMSL (Alberta Major Soccer League), Mauro was motivated by his passion for soccer, and decided to pursue life as a soccer coach.
Mauro began coaching 13, and 14 year old kids, and then moved on to coach men’s soccer teams. Mauro then came full circle when he went back to coaching youth soccer.
After taking a break from coaching the 14-year-old Lethbridge FC, Mauro saw that there was an opening to coach the women’s soccer team at the college. “We, as a group, applied for the job, and were asked if we’d consider coaching the men’s team”, says Mauro, who didn’t hesitate to say yes.
Frank, and Joe employ the same philosophy with an emphasis on technically sound soccer. “Frank spends hours, and hours watching video tape. He knows the ins, and outs of the game”, says Mauro. “Frank is a true study of the game.”
“We stress upon players to be proud of the jersey they wear, be committed to your team, and that soccer is only a game, a small part of their lives.”
Mauro wants these kids coming out of here to have a brighter future by focusing on the growth of the athlete not just on the soccer field, but as a person. “We want our guys to be confident, and good people”, said Mauro
Mauro is a man of many hats. From politician, and running for mayor of Lethbridge in 2004 to kitchen cabinet designer/salesman, and outside the soccer community, is perhaps known best for the nine years he spent as a city Alderman. “I strongly believe it’s the best game in the world and it’s my way of being involved in the game I love the most,” said Mauro, whose passion for the sport is evident from the sidelines.
Growing up, soccer was the only sport he knew, as his parents were both from Italy, and Mauro started playing soccer from the moment he could walk. When he first donned the cleats, it was a much grimmer soccer scene in Lethbridge with only a handful of teams.
Mauro loves the skill of the game, the plays you make work for your team, and using your head to play smart soccer, catenaccio style. Defense first is a staple Italian football and it’s that nine-men behind the ball tactic that leaves other, more talented teams, stretched and vulnerable to counter-attacks.
“It’s a game that has everything”, says Mauro. You can use your head, trap it with your chest, and bobble it in the air with your feet. Its got everything you need, adds Mauro, who’s love of the game has been the driving force behind the mans life. “I love to see young players excell, and if I can show them a thing or two about being a better soccer player, then I’ll do that.”