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Coaching Academy Staff Q&A with Giovanni Pacini

Posted on Apr 30, 2012 in Education 1 Comment

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Giovanni Pacini holds an impressive coaching career that includes involvement from the youth to the professional level. He is in his 14th year as Head Men’s Soccer Coach at Lasell College, where he has been three-time North Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year and two-time Eastern Massachusetts High School Coaches Association Collegiate Soccer Coach of the Year. He has led his team to 11 winning seasons and two conference championships. Pacini’s passion for coaching has not just been at Lasell College. He serves as the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Massachusetts and New Hampshire State Director and is Chairman of the NSCAA Technical Committee in addition to holding Premier and Advanced National Diplomas. Giovanni is a true lover of the game who says, “a responsible teacher does everything is his or her power to bring students to heights they may never have believed they could reach.”


1.    I’m a Coach Because…

It is such a great feeling to watch players grow and develop based upon the things I’ve taught them. That certainly goes beyond the soccer field as well. To have an opportunity to use the game of soccer as a tool to teach the lessons of life is tremendously satisfying. I view the word “coach” as “teacher”, and as one who spent 24 years in public education; I understand and appreciate the responsibility that it is to “teach”.  A responsible teacher does everything in his or her power to bring students to heights they may never have believed they could reach. And along the way, the teacher leaves a little of him or herself in the student so that (hopefully) someday, they become the teacher. I have been blessed by a number of former players who have noted to me that I inspired them to want to coach. Not that I need any validation, but it’s great to know what I left in these former players inspired them to want to coach.

These very same tenets apply to what I do in coaching education as well. The same way I view my players is the way I view the candidates. Can I bring them to new heights? Can I make them better coaches? Can I inspire them to want to learn more?

Teaching… coaching. Powerful. Deeply satisfying.

Share your passion for coaching and enter for a chance to win at NSCAA.com/icoach

2.    How did you get involved with the NSCAA?

As a young coach in 1981, I heard about the NSCAA and knew that it was important to be associated with an organization that represented my beliefs in the game and the development of its coaches. It was in the mid-90’s when Anson Dorrance encouraged me to pursue becoming a staff coach, which I did do through Steve Locher at Harvard University. Anson was my staff coach while I was taking my Advanced National. It was an honor to be recognized by such an esteemed coach such as Anson. After a hiatus, I resumed my role as staff coach and very proudly serve the organization in a variety of capacities.

3.    What is your current position?

Currently, I work for myself as a full-time soccer professional. During my time in education, I was afforded the time (literally) to forge a vibrant part-time soccer life as a collegiate coach, camp operator and clinician. Given that the teaching day ended at 2 p.m. and took up only 180 days in the year; I had lots of time to devote to soccer… which I did! After leaving teaching eight years ago, what was once part-time has boomed into a robust full-time operation. Each day brings new business and challenges whether it has to do with my successful college team, camps or the NSCAA. Soccer is indeed my life!!

4.    What is your favorite course to teach and why?

I don’t mean to avoid the question, but I enjoy teaching them all! If however I have to choose one, it is the “Reading the Game” course. I believe that it might be the most important course we offer. If coaches do not have the capacity to literally read the game, they therefore cannot create appropriate training environments for their players and team. If that’s the case, we have coaches who just string together a series of “drills” and they call it practice with the belief that it will impact development.

5.    What should a candidate expect at an NSCAA Coaching Academy?

That the instructional staff will offer them the very best and latest approaches in coaching the game of soccer. They should expect an organized schedule and an environment that reflects professionalism and passion. The venues should be of top quality with good food and clean bedrooms.

6.    What kind of coach can take an NSCAA course?

Anyone who is open-minded enough to know that learning is a lifelong process.

7.    What do you like about NSCAA courses?

Very simply, it is our personal approach. I hear it all the time from candidates – “You guys are so approachable.”  or “You’ll actually talk to me.”; statements like that. It means we are committed to the candidate; that we’ll stay and talk. We go out of our way to insure that the candidate has gotten the most out of us. I also like the fact that we do not have a playing requirement or expectation. We will break things down to the point that even the person who did not play can go back to his or her team and teach it. We teach coaches.

To see a full list of NSCAA Coaching Academy staff, visit http://www.nscaa.com/education/academy/academy-staff

Make sure to check out our master course schedule and take a course with one of our many world class coaching educators like Giovanni Pacini. 

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    • John Clifford
    • 05/07/2012 05:05am

    Reading this immediately brought me back to my National Diploma course. My reaction in a word - authentic. I look back at my coaching experiences prior to the NSCAA becoming an integral part of every soccer day and I feel unenlightened by comparison. I thought I had done a sufficient job of exposing myself to quality coaches and leading edge methodologies, but at Giovanni mentions, perhaps one of the greatest attributes of the NSCAA is that all of these great soccer people - with their minds and collective experiences - come to teach you; they approach you and create a teaching environment demonstrating a genuine interest in your achievement. It would be very easy for them to see themselves as the experts without going that extra mile to be in the small group settings, giving that respect to fellow coaches - but they do, making them a very special group of instructors.