Coach Carl Hay
Carl Hay was nominated to the Coaches’ Spotlight by players Diamond Arrington and Keenan Butler-Matthews.
What he enjoys most about Detroit PAL is that the organization has found a way to make soccer accessible to the community. Growing up, Carl played soccer and remembers how expensive it was to buy equipment and pay dues to play in leagues. “Detroit PAL does a great job by not turning kids away and playing in neighborhoods to make it easier for kids to get there. Also, the price is affordable and economical.” said Carl
Carl is a middle school Spanish teacher, but says that coaching soccer is the best part of his day because he has the opportunity to see the children in a different capacity and can witness how they improve. Carl has even seen some kids he’s coached go on to start soccer teams at their various high schools.
The first season of coaching, he admits, was a steep learning curve to grasp. “I was unfamiliar with how to coach, create plays and run a soccer team, but now I have a great system going.” said Carl. He currently coaches 14 and under and he tries to make sure nutrition is always a factor. Before and after season, each child’s BMI measurements are taken to gauge improvement.
He typically spends around 8 to 10 hours with kids on average per week after school and on weekends. Spending time with the kids has allowed him to become a mentor on and off the field.
One of Carl’s players had a difficult time playing soccer. His mother was in prison and he lived with his grandmother. Often times he would be difficult to pay to participate in soccer and we would have trouble getting to and from the games. Carl spent a lot of time with him, showing him how soccer could help with discipline, and another coach helped tutor him in math. After the boy aged out of the program, Carl would still see him outside of practice, roaming the streets which normally can led to bad behavior. Having had a relationship with him and coaching the child in the soccer program, he eventually asked the boy to come back to be an assistant coach. Carl sees now that soccer has given him focus, direction and it motivates him to behave better. He loves to attend practice and has really taken on the role of assistant coach.
Carl admits that volunteering as a coach can be overwhelming, but he always remembers that coaching and mentoring kids is what truly brings him happiness.