21 Days of Radnor – 13 Days To Go!: Q & A With Alan Mezger
With 15 days to go until the opening of the fall soccer season, Director of Soccer Alan Mezger reflects on his time with RSC so far:
Q: You have had a long and successful career as a soccer player, soccer coach and builder of soccer programs. Why Radnor and why now?
A: After 20 years of coaching and directing, I decided to take a break and free up more time for my family. About a year into my “retirement”, I was approached about getting involved in Radnor Soccer Club. I played at RSC, I teach and coached at Radnor High and my father was President of the club, so the bond was a strong one. My soccer background, my admiration for the community and my connection to the club just fit. Plus, my family supported the decision, so I jumped in.
Q: How have you been received in the community?
A: It’s been a whirlwind few months, but the support I’ve received from the community has been remarkable. Whether it’s an introduction, offers to help out, conversations about soccer, reliving old memories, reconnecting with old friends, or simple well wishes, the community’s been very supportive and I’ve very much appreciated it.
Q: This is your first full year as the Director of Soccer at RSC. What are your impressions so far?
A: Well, spoiler alert, I already knew the kids would be great having taught at Radnor High School for the last 16 years. Their attitudes and willingness to learn will make coaching them a pleasure. I also want to make sure the club caters to as many levels of soccer players as possible – we believe in multi-sport athletes and will respect the seasons of other sports. We will also provide a comprehensive approach for all area s of the program, whether it’s preparing players for high school varsity programs, or fostering a lifelong love of the sport through our travel and recreational programs.
Q: What are you most looking forward to as the fall season approaches?
A: Finally having the kids on their teams, running around and having fun in games and practices. No need to re-invent the wheel here, soccer’s an amazing game and has been teaching children valuable lessons and providing a fun environment for generations.
Q: You have hired two accomplished directors in Kirk Johnson and David Castellanos for the boys travel program and the girls travel program respectively. What do they bring to the programs and what do you expect from them?
A: My first two calls when I was considering the job were to Kirk and Dave as I’ve worked with both of them at our former club, FC DELCO. To be honest, I wasn’t sure of their interest, but the idea of developing a program from the bottom up was very appealing to both of them. I would put those two up against any level of club in our area, for the best directors of coaching, and consider myself and the club very fortunate to have directors who have reached the highest levels of youth soccer in our country, but have remained humble and not lost sight that youth soccer is simply about developing children for success both on and off the soccer field. Both are skilled at developing technical skill in their players, developing younger coaches, and formulating fun and productive curriculum for the kids. I’ve always been taught that success is determined by who you surround yourself with, and with Kirk and Dave involved, I feel very optimistic about the future of Radnor Soccer Club.
Q: Kirk and Dave are also coaching the youngest travel teams, the 2009 Samba teams. Why are the directors of the whole travel program coaching the youngest teams rather than older teams?
A: This was a simple decision, we wanted to set the tone for the club with our youngest age group and to build the program from the ground up. Having our top coaches act as the bridge to our program will set up a foundation of soccer skills and self-expectations as the players’ progress. We want the lessons the kids learn at the youngest age groups to stick with them until they graduate from the program.
Q: You have hired two directors, Thorne Holder and Matt Torresani, for the Radnor Soccer League, RSC’s recreational and developmental program. How do you expect them to fit in and what do you hope they can accomplish?
A: You simply have to meet Thorne and Matt, or to see them interact with children, to understand why they were hired to direct the RSL program. The kids will love their energy and charisma, as we look for them to add a little buzz to the RSL. The two will also look to support the parent volunteer coaches at training and during the games. Both are involved in teaching and coaching for their careers and I’m excited to see them get started and begin to influence and improve the RSL experience at Radnor.
Q: What should parents expect from you and your coaching staff?
A: Each coach should provide a fun and educational environment for the children. The parents should expect professionalism from the coaching staff. The staff is expected to communicate with parents about expectations for the team during the season, and to provide feedback as well as player evaluations.
Q: What do you expect from the players and families?
A: I expect players to maintain their commitment by attending every practice and game. Players should bring an inflated soccer ball, wear their training shirts, and show up on time. “On time” means showing up early for practices and the time prescribed by the coach for games. Everything runs easier when parents respond to Team Snap and update their availability for events. It helps coaches plan for games and practices. We expect the players to represent our community and our values, and the same should be expected of the parents. Yelling at referees, or coaching the children from the sideline are unacceptable behavior. Let the kids fail and figure things out on their own, that’s when they truly learn on the soccer field.
If you have questions or comments for Alan or the club, feel free to email him directly at
email@example.com or to email firstname.lastname@example.org.