Rolling towards the season: Welcome Coach Pask!

Helena Zhou, Staff Writer

Daniel Pask has taken charge of Northwood Boys Soccer as the team’s new Head Coach following the departure of former Head Coach Sam Lane. After making his coaching debut as the Eel River Youth Soccer Association Assistant Coach, Pask has coached for 11 years at four other high schools as well as for the Pateadores Soccer Club. Currently, he works as the Assistant Coach of Saddleback College Women’s Team, Boys and Girls Head Coach of West Coast Futbol Club owner and head coach of Royal Soccer, Assistant Coach of Newport FC, all while he takes on Northwood’s team.

The Howler: What has your experience with the Northwood team been like so far?

Daniel Pask: I’m just getting to know everyone since we started last week. Everyone has been welcoming, and I like how the players practice on their own without a coach because it really demonstrates the responsibility and accountability of the group. It is a huge positive for the coach when you know you can trust the players to look after themselves, train on their own, and step up to drive the program forward. It makes me look forward to continuing and growing the program.

TH: How do you hope to help the program and players grow?

DP: My coaching philosophy is to allow the players to express themselves on the field. In order to do that, we have to make them feel comfortable and confident. The better they feel technically, the more confident and able they’ll be to keep the ball, attack, execute what they want on the field and hopefully dictate the game. This would allow us to get in the opponents’ head which usually indicates the match’s victor. We also don’t want to be a team that constantly has to change depending on the opposition, since that breeds unfamiliarity with our playstyle. We want to be the one going out there and taking the game to the opposition, which facilitates confidence. That’s what differentiates the best teams from the good teams.

TH: How would you describe yourself as a coach?

DP: I would say I’m demanding, and I need everyone to respect each other, since soccer is, fundamentally, a team sport. We need a positive attitude and not anyone feeling like they’re above or below anyone else. We want the program to be all as one working together toward common goals. I’m also very tactical when it comes to game management, so I’m always trying to analyze the opposition and trying to find any way to get a leg up on the opponents’ tendencies and playstyle.

TH: What is the soccer team working on right now while social distancing measures are in place?

DP: Right now, we’re running pre-season workshops every Tuesday and Thursday in 90-minute sessions until the end of October. There’s a lot of the game we can’t work on while social distancing, so we’re focusing on individual skill drills, controlling the ball, passing and getting better at every technical aspect of the game so that we’ll be ready when we are allowed to play in closer contact. Ultimately, practice is where we make out mark. I want to help the team improve on every aspect they’re able to work on right now to prepare for the future, on the pitch as well as off of it.

TH: What are your goals for the future concerning CIF, league and more?

DP: My goals have always been to compete and challenge the players—to win the league, go as far as we can in CIF and hopefully win a CIF championship. That’ll take a lot of effort on the part of the players. I’m here just to guide them forward and give them the tools to achieve their goals. It’s up to the players and by holding them accountable, we facilitate a culture to be proud of and one that carries into future seasons.

TH: What do you want your players to get from soccer?

DP: We want the players to learn life lessons, good morals, strong work ethic and a positive attitude. The more positive you can be, the more together you can be, and the more likely you can be successful both on and off the field. We’re looking at soccer as a complement to life, not as the number one thing. It’s not “win at all costs.” Rather, we’re trying to build better people through the game.