Learn about our coaches both on and off the field in our COACH SPOTLIGHT. This week the spotlight is on Daniel Olstad. Coach Olstad is the Director of Coaching for LFC IA St. Louis and is responsible for overseeing all soccer related matters for the club.
Name: Daniel Olstad (My first name is actually James, but I go by my middle name. You'll have to ask my mom why).
Hometown: Southold, New York. It's a small town on the eastern end of Long Island. Although a small school and town, the soccer culture and tradition runs deep. Up until recently Southold High School had the honor of winning the most New York State Championships of any school in history.
Family: My wife Valerie is a Sea Lion and Seal trainer at the Saint Louis Zoo. My daughter Eisley is 7 and plays on the 2010 Riise team and my son Emery is 5 and plays on the 2010 Barnes team. They both attend Gateway Science Academy.
Pets: My wife works at the zoo so that is a giant yes. We have 2 dogs, 2 cats, and wait for it....2 rats.
Years In Coaching: 17. I began coaching at 19.
Teams Coached at LFC IA STL: 2004 Boys McManaman & 2007 Girls Owen
Favorite Team: Liverpool FC
Favorite Player: In recent times, Steven Gerrard. When I was growing up Jay-Jay Okocha
Coaching Education: I hold my United States Soccer Federation (USSF) 'B' License and am working toward my 'A,' which aside from the USSF Pro License is the highest level you can achieve through the USSF.
I also have various diplomas through the National Soccer Coaches Association of America which is now called United Soccer Coaches. I have certificates in coach education from the English FA and have done extensive informal education including week long study visits with the West Ham (English Premier League) Academy and Houston Dynamo (MLS) Academy and First Team.
Why did you start coaching? I knew as a player in high school I wanted to get into coaching and I simply got into it because I was asked to do so. I had coached a few summer camps but I think I was around 20 and my former high school coach was looking for someone to coach the Varsity team in the summer league and I said sure and that was that. I fell in love with coaching and have been doing it ever since. At the start I didn't know it would turn into a career. It's just something I was and still am passionate about. Early on I wanted to be a teacher and always wanted to work with kids, it just turns out that my classroom became a soccer field.
Coaching Role Models: Every coach I have ever had or worked with. I am a learner and observer so I think I can honestly say I've taken pieces of every coach I have ever had the pleasure of working with or playing under to mold myself into the coach I am. From my high school coach, Andrew Sadowski, my club coach, Charlie Anderson, and the person who I'd say was my coaching mentor, Eddie Hackett, I've had some great people to learn from along the way inside the game of soccer. But coaches outside of soccer and the values instilled in me by my parents also shaped me into the coach I am today.
Favorite Coaching Memory: There are honestly too many to pick out one. Through my time as a coach I have been fortunate to be part of some exciting games, great organizations, and coach some great teams. There have been wins, losses, and ties (none of which I know the actual amount of), but my favorite memories are the relationships I've formed through the years and all my times with great people. Whether it's been coaching colleagues, players, or families those relationships are what has impacted me the most and given me the best memories.
What are your hobbies outside of soccer?: I play guitar, which is something I do pretty often. One of my main ways to relax is to play video games, it's something I was always doing as a kid and just continue to do. Mostly sports games like Fifa 18. No I don't play Fortnite. It's my way of relaxing for 20 or 30 minutes if I have a chance. I also like to read.
Favorite TV Show: The Walking Dead, although I am currently going through Breaking Bad on Netflix and that's a good show as well.
Favorite Band: It's a tie between Bayside and Emery
Did you play other sports growing up? Yes I did. I was a 4 year varsity player in soccer, but also in baseball, and basketball and received individual honors in all of them. To this day I think my mom holds it against me that I went on to play soccer in college instead of baseball. She is convinced I was a better baseball player than soccer player.
At about 12. I made the decision on my own that I wanted soccer to be my focus. I did that year round but didn't stop doing other sports, but if conflicts came up soccer was my priority.
Growing up I pretty much played anything you put in front of me. I am a huge proponent of kids playing multiple sports, but at a point deciding there has to be a focus.
What is something people may never guess about you?: I love to cook and bake. I don't know if I call it a hobby but it's something I really enjoy. One of my recent claims to fame in the kitchen is a salted s'mores truffle.