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Collin County October 2012

We’re back

October Issue, Our 16th Year!

Table of Contents

Dallas Sidekicks ‘We’re Back’ COVER STORY ‘Tatu’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pp. 18-19 REGULAR FEATURES The Game Plan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 3 A Team to Watch. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 9 Chalk Talk. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 10 Coach Spotlight. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 11 Sports Calendar & Directory. . . . . . . . . . . . . pp. 12-13 Kid’s Korner. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.16 Tip Off. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p.17 Athlete of the Month. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 22

1901 Long Prairie Road Suite 200-47 Flower Mound, TX 75022 YSTCollinCounty Department

This is my favorite time of year... hands down! The cool, crisp weather is becoming more of a regular instead of a rare treat. Sports of all kinds are in full swing and the holidays are just around the corner. People of all ages seem to be in a better mood on a more consistent basis. The kids I coach aren’t complaining about the heat and dragging their feet! Every time my sons say they want something, I can start saying, “Add that to your Christmas list”! I am just counting the days until I can break out the fall decorations and deck the house out for Halloween. We have settled into Frisco seamlessly and are more excited than ever about what our future holds. Being in Frisco has made my job photographing the kids on the fields and chasing down stories much, much easier! I am pumped with all the new partnerships

Youth Sports Today has made in just the past month and am encouraged by all the emails we are receiving from parents with photos, stories, and nominations! Keep them coming and our children will have many keepsakes to collect along their athletic and academic journeys. This month is packed full of games, practices, and tournaments. Remember to slow down and cherish the small accomplishments and not to get caught up in the losses. Losing builds character and teaches us how to strive, work hard, and how to appreciate the wins. If you have some time this month, check out a book called “A Perfect Season” by Coach Dan Clemens. Former Boston Red Sox pitcher, Mike Meyers, had this to say after reading it, “Having pitched in the Major Leagues for 13 seasons and then coaching my own kids, I completely relate to A Perfect Season because coaching youth baseball is just as difficult as facing the cleanup hitter with the bases loaded. Dan hits the sweet spot – his journey shows how challenging coaching can be and reminds us that the game of baseball is for kids, about kids, and the fun experiences of coaching them.” This is a must read for any parent coach!! Now let’s play some ball!

Zakary Roberts of NTA Taekwondo in Frisco works on his flying kick with Coach Melissa Pool.

The Level 5 team at Kurt Thomas Gymnastics takes 1st Place at the District Qualifier.



Ruthi Elliott 469-777-8333


John Lee

Graphics Dept.

Winston T. Byrd 469-777-8333

Cover story

Ruthi Elliott


Christopher Baylor


President/CEO Tresha Glowacki www.youthsportstoday.net1 10 W. Sandy Lake Road #110 PMB 154 l Coppell, TX 75019 l 469-767-4542

ContactYouth Sports Today is published monthly by ORJ Publishing, LLC & distributed free of charge through local merchants. Opinions expressed in articles or advertisements do not necessarily reflect that opinion of the publisher. Youth Sports Today is not responsible for omissions or information that has been misrepresented to the magazine. Advertisers and its agencies assume all liability for advertising content. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted without the permission in writing from the publisher. Photographs are welcomed and must be submitted by the 15th of each month prior to publication.


Up, up and race away Plano Balloon Festival 5k & Fun Run


From left, basketball Hall of Famer Marques Haynes, Dallas Mavericks Head Coach Rick Carlisle, Legends General Manager Del Harris, New Legends Head Coach Eddie Najera, Legends owner Donnie Nelson, Asst General Manager Nancy Lieberman, Pres of Basketball Operations Spud Well and Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban.

Coaching some ‘D’ Najera rejoins Mavericks family as new coach of team’s Developmental League team By Douglas Farmer

After twelve years of flying into the sidelines in pursuit of loose balls, Eduardo Nájera will now need to restrain himself from flying onto the court. Long-known for his tenacity in chasing down rebounds, stray passes and de-flected shots with no concern for his body, Nájera will teach those same traits to the next generation of NBA players as head coach of the Texas Legends and the first Mexicanborn head coach under the NBA umbrella. “I’m so passionate about the sport of basketball, my work ethic, my values that I used on the basketball court,” Nájera said. “I’m going to apply them as a coach.” Though the Legends, the Dallas Mavericks D-League affiliate, will not have a completed roster until after

the D-League draft in early November, Nájera has already spent much time focusing on what he will need to accomplish on the basketball court. Fortunately for him, he has many mentors to lean on, including Hall of Famer Don Nelson and future Hall of Famers Larry Brown and George Karl. “I’ve had many, many phone calls from different coaches talking about basketball,” he said a few weeks into his new gig and, for that matter, new career. “Everybody is trying to pull me in different directions. Of course, I’m trying to find myself as a coach, what kind of identity I’ll have.” Those coaches and their lessons will provide the foundation of Nájera’s coaching. His NBA career began with Nelson as his head coach, and Donnie Nelson and Del Harris serving as assistants, while

with the Mavericks for four years. More than a decade later, Nájera has both the younger Nelson and Harris at his side to dispense advice when called upon. Nelson owns the Legends and Harris serves as the organization’s general manager. “Obviously it’s going to be a learning experience,” Nájera said. “I’m going to have Del interact and help me with everything I might need. I’ll have Donnie do the same thing.” In addition to those supporting him from within the Legends, Nájera has already reached out to various coaches from his past, including Brown and Karl, to shorten his learning curve as he moves from acquiring floor burns to leaving dress shoe marks on the court. “Eddie being intelligent, I know he learned something

from each of them,” Harris said. “I think that’s what we always are as coaches, composites of our previous expe-riences … What we end up with is uniquely ours.” While Nájera’s travels from Dallas to the Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets, New Jersey Nets and finally with the Charlotte Bobcats provided the experiences he will now rely on as a coach, those travels never truly took him from Dallas. Nájera bought a house in Plano when he was a rookie, and has considered it home ever since. “I never left,” Nájera said. “Even though I got traded, I still left my family behind, my kids. They’ve grown in the Dallas community. “I always had that dream of coming back and hopefully finishing out my career. If not on the court, then some-where in the front office or in this case, in the D-League.”


The quarterback throwing the ball down the field for his Catch Me If You Can team at Plano Sports Authority.

10700 Legacy Drive, Frisco, TX 75033 Put on your dancing shoes! It's time for the 11th Annual Mother Son Dance. A dynamic DJ will be playing popular tunes and leading some of the best in line dancing. Light refreshments will be served. Photo packages will be available for purchase. Come dressed formal or in pirate-themed attire.

Special Events Hotline: 972-292-6520


Ages are recommendations only, however you must attend the dance time for which you hold tickets.

Tickets on sale now! Tickets are limited. No refunds, replacements or exchanges. This event will sell out. Please purchase tickets early. Purchase tickets online or at the Frisco Athletic Center (FAC), at 5828 Nancy Jane Lane. Tickets purchased online must be picked up at the FAC by 7:00 p.m., Friday, October 12, 2012. A Password and Login ID are required for online purchases.

Roach Middle School and Clark Middle School seventh grade players face off for their first game of the season in Frisco.

Taylor Martin works on her beam routine at Kurt Thomas Gymnastics in Frisco.

Jake Rehfus takes the ball down the court for his Hawks select team at Plano Sports Authority.


Girls basketball at Plano Sports Authority is heating up the courts!


Master Chris talks to his students at NTA Taekwondo in Frisco after class.

A Team to Watch


he first weekend of September is one that will remain etched in the memories of the 14U North Texas Longhorns Valdez players and parents. Over Labor Day weekend, John Vunk, a father of one of the players, passed away. To honor their teammate’s dad, the Longhorns had a banner made. Everyone signed it and then hung it up during their first double header of the fall season in the BBI league that weekend. The Longhorns played hard for their grieving teammate, and subsequently won both games. The players on this team are not only fantastic baseball players, but are a classy bunch of kids. I am certain they will be our “Team To Watch” for many years to come!

“Come Join Our Family” 1601 North Dallas Parkway, Frisco, TX 75034 ~ 972.731.3000



hen it comes to working with kids, we need to make sure we’re accomplishing three things with their activities: they should learn, they should be challenged (competitive), and they should have fun. When we create an environment where they can achieve this trifecta of Fun, Learn, Compete, we tap a special place in their souls and activity transforms into passion. Engagement soars, performance improves, energy spikes, and enthusiasm is at an all-time high. This is true whether it’s a baseball game, piano lesson, or chess club. Our adult role as coach, adviser, teacher, or mentor is to help create a fertile environment for learning, competing and having fun. We should encourage kids to explore each of these three areas.


Kids should gain insights about activity, they should discover new things about themselves, and they should learn life lessons. Let’s face it – kids are like sponges. Our task, often, is to set the stage and get out of the way. Their natural curiosity takes over and we need only to channel it in a productive way. Other times, though, we need to help them connect the dots, for example, between effort and success, uncover a hidden strategy, or see the deeper meaning in the unfolding events.


Kids must be taught to compete. Life is full of competition – for scholarships, jobs, and even mates! Youth activities are a perfect environment for kids to learn how to read a competitive situation and elevate their performance to succeed. Healthy competition challenges kids to know themselves. They become skilled at managing around their weaknesses and leveraging


their strengths to best the competition. This acquired skill-set is ideally learned as a youth when our sports and activities aren’t life or death. This safety net encourages risk-taking and learning from mistakes. Another facet of competing is that kids must be at the right level. Things shouldn’t be too easy or too hard. The sweet spot is where the outcome is in doubt and neither success nor failure is guaranteed. This is true for both individuals and teams.


Above all, we should encourage kids to have fun with their activities. If they have fun, they’ll want to continue and get better. As a coach, one important measure of success I have for myself is if the kids want to play again next season. If they didn’t have fun, the answer is often “No.” Good things happen when we have fun, often without even knowing it. We work hard, we focus on the needs of others, and we laugh. As we start to infuse the Fun, Learn Compete model into our efforts with kids, we quickly see that they feed off of each other. Learning is fun. The thrill of competition fosters new learning. Kids enjoy a challenge. The best teachers, advisers, and coaches help kids enjoy all three.

Coach Dan Clemens is the author of A Perfect Season: A Coach’s Journey to Learning, Competing, and Having Fun in Youth Baseball. You can email him at Dan@CoachClemens. com.

Coach Spotlight Coach and Current Program: Trent Emmons, Head Coach of Frisco Amateur Summer Swim Team (FASST) Team Location: Frisco, Texas Coaching Philosophy: “Athletes first, winning second”

When did you first begin coaching? When I was a teenager at the YMCA, my father worked there and he wanted the high school and college athletes to be the coaches, or help with coaching the teams. He did not allow parents to coach their kids’ teams. Do you have a favorite sport to coach? Yes, three of them (swimming, baseball and basketball). What is your favorite moment or memory thus far? I coached a Jr. Legion baseball team in Kansas. We were seeded to finish last in our conference and ended up winning the state championship. It was my second year to coach this team, mostly with the same boys for both years. Do you have a favorite age to work with? No, my swim team has kids aged from 5-17. I like working with all of the different age groups for different reasons. What has been your biggest challenge? Working with the kids has always been the easy part. The biggest challenge has always been with “difficult” parents, but that is just a part of coaching. It’s a great opportunity to educate the parents. Have you learned any valuable lessons

that have shaped the way you coach? Yes, at a very early age, I learned a lot from my father. No matter what sport you coach, everything you do needs to be “what is best for the child, what is best for the team”. What do you feel is the biggest reward you receive from coaching? It has nothing to do with winning. It has everything to do with the smile on the faces of the kids. When they smile, when they are having fun, they are being kids. Also, when former athletes say “thank you”. What advice would you give a parent who is considering a volunteer coach position? Learn the game, learn how to teach the game, have fun, be accountable, and always teach the fundamentals first. What sports did you play as a child and/ or adult? Baseball, basketball, football, swimming, golf, tennis, volleyball (both sand and indoor), fast pitch softball (I pitched for 8 years). Who was your sports role model as a child? It would be my dad. He played all sports in high school, and played baseball and basketball in college. He was still a good athlete in his 40’s. When I was in high school, he threw a “no-hitter” against the 15-16 year olds’ “all-star” team when the dads played the 15-16 year old team to raise money for the state championships. He could still dunk a basketball before I could dunk one, and that was during my junior year in high school.

Trent Emmons grew up in Mississipi, the son of a lifetime athlete and coach. He began coaching as a teenager and has applied the same principles instilled in him by his father. He knows firsthand it’s not just about coaching; it’s raising young athletes with character who never lose the joy of playing and/or competing.

What change, if any, would you like to see in youth sports? Training for the coaches. Not just on the sport, but everything that is involved with the kids and working with parents. I see youth sports on a daily basis, and some of the coaches and parents have no clue on how to coach or how to be a good “sports parent”. Do you have a coaching philosophy? “Athletes first, winning second” has always been my philosophy. Getting everyone on the same page is a challenge, but well worth it in the end. What is the biggest benefit you see in your athletes from being a part of a team? Being part of a team is a great lesson in life. You win as a team, you lose as a team. You hold each person accountable (this includes players, coaches and parents). You practice, play, and act as a team. What is something most people don’t know about you? I have coached 3 different sports (baseball, basketball and swimming) in 3 different states, all to the state championship. If you were granted one “coaching wish”, what would it be? For each youth sport program to offer a certified coaches training program, committed to improving amateur sport by encouraging coaches, officials, administrators, parents, and athletes to embrace the ‘athletes first, winning second’ philosophy, and by providing the education to put the philosophy to work.

Members of Coach Emmons 10 and under FASST Swim Team. All of these swimmers were state qualifiers. See the state qualifiers in the 11 and older division on page 17.


Baseball Frisco Baseball & Softball Association 214-537-3272

Plano Sports Authority 972-208-KIDS (5437)

The Miracle League Baseball league for special needs kids Dan Bonkiewicz Baseball League Director

McKinney Baseball Association

Basketball Panther Pack Athletics

Colony Youth Football Assoc.


Plano Sports Authority 972-208-KIDS (5437)

McKinney Basketball


972-208-KIDS (5437)

Fencing Plano Sports Authority 972-208-KIDS (5437)

FAMILY ACTIVITIES Frisco Mother Son Dance, 13-Oct-12, FriscoFun.Org Friends of Frisco Run, 13-Oct-12, www. Celebrate Fitness & Fun, 10/20/12, FriscoFun.Org 12th Annual Gingerbread Contest, 12/1/12, FriscoFun.Org

NTA Taekwondo Prosper 214-663-1461

Plano Sports Authority 972-208-KIDS (5437)

Rock Climbing


Lacrosse Frisco Lacrosse Association 214-407-9373


Dallas Junior Hockey Assoc.

Director of Hockey Programs Keith Anderson 214-GO-SKATE or 972-831-2425


McKinney Lacrosse



Canyons Rock Climbing jgildea@friscolacrosse. com

Plano Sports Authority

President Don Girard 214-908-9151



Gymnastics Kurt Thomas Gymnastics


Frisco Ice Hockey

Martial Arts

Plano Sports Authority


Toni Warner Bowling League Director director.bowling@

Plano Sports Authority Hotline: 972-724-8779 President, Jim Colli

Greg Kromkowski President 972-943-4335

Bryan Henson 940-391-2683 hensonb@

McKinney Football

The Miracle League

North Texas Basketball Assoc.

Frisco Football League

Texas Cup Tournament Series

972-208-KIDS (5437)


The Colony Youth Baseball Association

Ice Hockey


Martial Arts

972-208-KIDS (5437)

NTA Taekwondo Frisco 214-295-8458

Breakfast With Santa & Friends, 12/1/12, FriscoFun.Org


22nd Annual Merry Main Street, 12/1/12,

DPTA Novice Tennis Tournament - Prestonwood CC , 20-Oct-12, novice

2012 Celina Balloon Festival and Family Fun Day, October 26-27, 2012, www.

DPTA Novice Tennis Tournament - Prestonwood CC Bent Tree CC, 3-Nov-12, www.

Prosper Christmas Festival, 12/9/12, www.

DPTA Junior Tennis Tournament -Garland TC, 13-Oct-12, html

Soccer FC FRISCO EXTREME Soccer Club Coach Eddie Marin 940-390-5255

Frisco Soccer Association 972-712-4625

Plano Sports Authority 972-208-KIDS (5437)

The Miracle League Jeff Humphrey Soccer League Director

US Youth Soccer 9220 World Cup Way 972-334-9300

Plano Youth Soccer 972-422-7972 ext 302

The Colony Youth Soccer

McKinney Soccer



Play For Sport

The Colony Softball Association


www.thecolonysoftball. com

Frisco Baseball & Softball Association

Plano Sports Authority 972-208-KIDS (5437) 214-537-3272

Volleyball Frisco Youth Volleyball

North Texas Volleyball Assn.

Plano Sports Authority

McKinney Softball Association

972-208-KIDS (5437)


Lonestar Volleyball

Plano Sports Authority

www.lonestarvolleyball. net 214-334-3105

972-208-KIDS (5437)


Swimming Frisco Aquatics Dan McDonough Head Coach 843-469-9715

FASST (Frisco Amateur Summer Swim Team)

972-208-KIDS (5437)

214-335-8081 972-727-9565

Celina Youth Sports

Frisco YMCA locations/frisco/sports 214 297 9622

McKinney YMCA locations/mckinney 972 529 2559

Plano Sports Authority

Plano YMCA

Wayne Moore 972-317-0746

Plano Sports Authority

Allen Sports Association

972-208-KIDS (5437)

North Texas Sports Officials

NTSO has openings for paid umpires in Select and Youth baseball (5 to 18 years old). Training will be provided. NTSO provides umpires for 15 different complexes.

Multi Sports Groups

Wrestling Frisco Bombers Wrestling Club Michelle Robison 214-458-1885 friscobomberswrestling. com

Plano Sports Authority locations/russell_creek_ ymca 214 705 9459

Prosper Youth Sports Assoc

www.prospertx-sports. org

McKinney Sports Connection mckinneysports

972-208-KIDS (5437)

www.mckinneysoccer. org 972-569-6808

DPTA Junior Tennis Tournament -, 17-Nov12,

Frisco, 11th Annual Frosty 5k, 12/8/12,

Plano, Run with the Son 5K/10K , 13-Oct,

DPTA Junior Tennis Tournament -, 1-Dec12,

Frisco, Color Me Green 5k & Caterpillar Dash, 6-Oct,

Plano, Life Walk & Run 5K , 13-Oct, www.

PSA, Hoop-La-Palooza Players Clinic, 13Nov

Frisco, Friends of Frisco Run , 13-Oct, www.

Plano, Red Ballooon 5K Run & 100K Ride , 20-Oct,

PSA, Holiday Tournament, Dec 12 thru 18

Frisco, Frisco Square, Gary Burns Frisco Fun Run 5K/1M , 27-Oct, garyburnsrun

Plano, Shops at Legacy , incREDible HeartRun , 27-Oct,

RACES & FUN RUNS Carrollton, TX, SMILE Walk & Run , 6-Oct,

Plano, Arbor Day Run, 10-Nov,

McKinney, Halloween Hustle 1, 5 and 15K , 28-Oct, 13

Chase Davis runs the ball down the field for his flag football team the Oilers at Plano Sports Authority.


Clark Middle School 7th grade cheerleaders cheer at the first game of the season.

Antonio Montez dribbles down the court with speed for his team Hawks Select at Plano Sports Authority.


The Level 3 team at Kurt Thomas Gymnastics takes first place at the District Qualifier!


Recently while photographing a game, I found myself sitting next to a dad who was yelling directions out to his son with every play. I’m not sure how obvious it was to anyone around me what a detriment this was to his son’s game, but my trained coaching eye saw it immediately. Kids inherently know to listen and respond to their father’s voices. The problem is his son not only listened, he broke his concentration to do so. While stopping to listen, he lost the ball which immediately caused his father to shake his head in disappointment. I could physically watch the boy’s anxiety level get higher with each outburst from his father. When the game was over, the son came off the court and immediately began to cry as he approached his father. He instinctively knew he was going to be reminded of each thing he did wrong during the game. While the father’s intentions were to help his son, the unfortunate reality is he contributed to his son’s lackluster performance. It’s

impossible for a child to concentrate on the game when their parent is yelling directions and chastising them for mistakes. Secondly, they know if they can hear you, so can their teammates. Children are going to make mistakes during the game, and you can bet the coach will address them in the next practice. That’s their job. Regardless of a player’s athletic ability, they work on their shortcomings with practice. For a child that’s only played a few seasons, is struggling, or not a natural athlete, focusing on their shortcomings robs them of celebrating what they’ve improved upon. As a parent, you can best support your kids by cheering them on and noticing what they do right. If they stop enjoying the game, eventually they will lose their enthusiasm and quit altogether. Choosing to leave a sport should be because they want to place their focus somewhere else. Not because they feel they can never play to a parent’s expectations.

Last month we discussed the decision to play select vs. recreational. Here’s what our readers had to say! Jessie R. of Frisco - “You have to check out the coaches and the team. Try to watch them in action. There are a lot of select teams I would never let my son play with because of how they coach. I don’t want him to get burned out and start hating a game that he loves.” Carla R. of The Colony - “I don’t even think they should have competitive sports until junior high!” Jerri S. of McKinney - “I spent a lot of money putting my daughter on a select team only to have her hate it a year later. I wish I would have kept her playing on a recreational team instead” Mike L. of Plano - “My son has played select for two years and it’s what he lives for. Not all kids are wired like that though, so they need to be able to choose for themselves. I see some on our team who just aren’t ready to play at that level and it’s sad their parents push them.”

State qualifiers in the 11 and older division on the FASST Swim team.


‘Tatu’ When Antonio Carlos Pecoria came to the U.S. in 1982 to play professional soccer, he intended to play just one season so he could earn enough money to return to Brazil to buy a house. Thirty years later, I sit across from one of the most accomplished indoor soccer players in American history. Not only does the player known as “Tatu” hold the record for the most power play goals, he is the second all-time in goal scoring with 857, the second with most seasons played, second in points, shots, and game-winning goals. Even with all of these achievements, there’s another side Tatu is passionate about…teaching. Putting all the passion and energy to work, and showing the players he can “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk”, he and co-owner Ronnie Davis plan on bringing the Dallas Sidekicks back, bigger and better than ever.

YST: Whose idea was it to bring the Dallas Sidekicks back? Tatu: Ronnie and I started talking about it right away. We spent many days across the table from each other drinking coffee, talking about how we would do it. How we could get it right. It was always our plan, we just had to wait until things came together and it was the right time. YST: You have brought home Sagu, who has spent the last 8 seasons with the Baltimore Blast in the MISL. Are there any other players coming back for a reunion and comeback? Tatu: Yes, they are here and we still have to do contracts before they are final. We have a mix of veterans and young players and a wide mix of ages and nationalities. There’s a German Futsal player, a European player, South American player, and also several sons of ex-Sidekick players in the mix. Ronnie: At the season opener, every player who has ever played for the Sidekicks, we’re going to announce onto the field one last time. So that will be fun when one of the dads is announced and his son is on the team that comes out last. YST: So there will be a second generation of Dallas Sidekick players. It sounds like you’re a very close-knit family!


Tatu: Well, I think that’s what made us stay in the metroplex for so long. It was an unbelievable group of guys from day one all the way to the end. The leaders really kept the ball moving in the right direction. We changed some players, but the core of the group kept driving forward and everybody followed. YST: The Sidekicks had a HUGE following. What was the magic in your chemistry that other teams didn’t have? Tatu: That was because our players, we were out in the community. I did so many appearances and so did my teammates. 99% of those appearances were for free. That was because we wanted to make sure the sport progressed and the team progressed. We had a slogan one year that we wanted to “touch each fan” and that’s basically what we did. We went out and really reached out with one fan at a time. This is what I would like for our players to do. What we do in there (pointing to the field) makes a difference but not as much as what we do outside. YST: Your slogan for this season is “We’re back”. What other activities will the Dallas Sidekicks be involved in to let the fans know they’re playing again, and what will you be doing to win a new fan base as well as bring your old fan base back?

Ronnie: We’re doing a lot of the same promotions that we did in the past. What we’re doing for Tatu that he won’t talk about, but I will, is three things to honor him this season. We’re doing a $9 walk up ticket price. All season you can walk up and watch the game for $9. His jersey has never been retired, so we’ll have a game where we retire his jersey and it will go up in the rafters and no one will ever wear the number 9 again. Then, his thing was throwing his jersey into the stands every time he scored. We’re going to honor him by having real jerseys with the number 9, signed by him, thrown into the stands every time a Sidekick player scores. So we’re doing a lot to honor the past. YST: Besides a winning season, what do you most hope to accomplish your first season back? Tatu: To me, the product on the field, it has to be good. So that’s the number one thing. My favorite team in the world is Barcelona and I like the style they play. They are a possession team. They keep the ball when they get it, and when they lose it, they work hard, they press to get it back right away. So I’d like to implement that style in indoor soccer. That’s my dream. I like us to play fast paced, ball possessionoriented, and when we lose the ball we go after it right off the bat. I like for our

players to be role models. That to me is the most important. I do not like tattoos, I don’t have tattoos, I don’t like earrings and those kinds of things. If there’s a tattoo it has to be covered. I want them to be good role models outside, too. I don’t want them out drinking beer in front of kids. I want the kids to see the players and think “this is a family, this is what they do”. When you come to a game, I want you to say, “I got much more than I paid for”. I want the end result to be: I was entertained, I would recommend it to somebody, and say, “I would come back”. If we can help any parent by being good role models for their children, that to me is a home run. The perception of professional athletes is they are prima donnas. I don’t want that. I want them to see the players’ faces and see they are real. The only way people can see they are real is not on t.v. or behind a camera. It’s going out and seeing them in person. YST: You are the only player in history to be named “Player of the Year” and “Coach of the Year” in the same season. What do you enjoy more...playing or coaching? Tatu: Definitely playing, there’s no two ways about it. It seems like a coach is not part of the team. You know, you’re the boss and sometimes they don’t like you, or they’re always skeptical about you. You’re not one of the boys. So, definitely a player; and I’m still a player. I tell the guys that, and I tell them in front of him (Ronnie) all the time, I’m never going to be on his side. Any dispute with the players, I will always be on the side of the player. I’ll always be a player and that’s never going to change. I love to teach, I hate to coach. I prefer the teaching part, it’s great. It’s a God-given talent. Coaching, there’s a lot of political issues and things that involve being more than a teacher. YST: So has that effected your coaching style?: Tatu: Absolutely. The good thing about being a player, and then you coach, is you experience everything. I did not learn by watching or reading. You learn by the action. What you didn’t like, you throw away. There were things that drove me crazy as a player, like when you have to do the same thing over and over like warm ups. I believe the players are not going to like to do the same thing over and over, so I’m trying to be creative and incorporate on that. If every moment you know what you’re going to do, the fun goes away. What’s important is, if I tell you what I want you to do, I can show it to you, too. So, there’s a lot of good things about being a player and then being the coach, but

not necessarily every good player is going to be a good coach. You have to be able to teach, and God gave me that ability. The moment I’m teaching, the world stops. All the problems go away and I’m completely focused and deeply involved in what I’m doing. Ronnie: It’s also great that off the field, he’s never going to ask you to do something he isn’t also doing. In commitment he’s at the front of the line, and the players fall right in place because of his leadership. YST: You have coached on the high school level and also girl’s club soccer the last several years. What do you enjoy most about working with youth soccer vs professional athletes? Tatu: The select and high school is about character development. More so high school than select. So I can break it into three levels. I coach a Christian high school team, so that is the most important thing. Winning is not important, although we were very successful. We won the championship seven out of the eight years I was there. The reason we were successful was because the kids wanted to honor God with their performance. So everything was about teaching. So with high school you use soccer as a tool for progression in life. Honesty, hard work, and all the above, so that is the goal with that level. The select is a mix. They want to get to college to play then earn the money. You are still trying to teach, but have to be a little more careful. The professional level, unfortunately, is about results. They already have their minds set, so it’s a little difficult for you to try to change like you can with high school and select. You will make a dent, but not as big as you would at a younger level. YST: How does it feel to know your jersey will be retired this season? Tatu: No big deal. When I played the game I never played for the money, I never played for any reason then because I loved it. This is my life. It’s the best time of my life because, A: I’m playing, I still play over

40’s and I still kick around the field every Monday and Wednesdays. I enjoy playing. I still think in my mind I’m twenty, but then the next day it feels bad (laughs), and I realize I’m not twenty anymore! I like to play and I like to win. I don’t like to lose. I know that’s bad in America when you say this, but I don’t like to lose, I’m sorry. I refuse to lose. I accept the loss, but I refuse to lose. I work my tail off until the last second. So having my jersey retired, it’s nice, but it’s kind of embarrassing. I don’t like to be singled out anymore. I just want to be part of the group, just one of the boys. It is definitely an honor, but it’s the last thing on my mind. My number one concern is to make sure we do it right. To make sure we have a good product. YST: How did you get the nickname Tatu? Tatu: Tatu, if you translate from Portuguese to English, means armadillo. The armadillos in Brazil are much smaller than American armadillos. Brazilian armadillos are always under the ground and making holes. They’re smaller and they’re quicker, and always underground. My dad used to work in a train station and he was always under the train checking the brakes or something. So everyone started calling him Tatu. Then my brother, they started calling him Tatu. Then when I came along, they called me Tatu Zeno and I hated it. Then your friends, they see the more you hate it, the more they will call you that. I made the mistake of getting upset! When I turned pro I started using my name, Antonio Carlos, and it’s too long. I used my last name, Pecorari, and no one could pronounce it. Then in the end, I said, you know, Tatu may not be a bad idea! So I was Tatu, and in Brazil, there were a lot of jokes. They would say, “Hey, Tatu just got out of his hole!” YST: What is something most people do not know about the legendary Tatu? Tatu: Most people don’t know I have a big heart. They see me on the sideline and I’m a little vocal. When I played the game I was intense. So people get the wrong impression of me. Don’t get too excited about that, because I still have to coach, so they need to think I’m a MEAN GUY! That’s one thing people don’t know though. My heart is bigger than my mouth. Publisher’s Note: Cover story by Ruthi Elliott. Cover photos by Edward Ramirez. The Dallas Sidekicks will play their first season game on November 3rd at the Allen Event Center. For more info & tickets visit


Laney McBride takes control of the ball for her team the Purple Ponies in Allen.

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Coach Filmarter “Chief” works with Drew DeCastro of Plano on his swing during his class at The Old American Golf Club.

Dylan McBride of Allen rounds the base for his team the Wildcats.

Mac Coffelt of Plano gets some help with his putting from Coach Scot t Robbins at The Old American Golf Club.

The Dallas Sidekicks’ Purple Chaos make an appearance at Eagle Stadium for the Allen football game!

Members of the NTA Taekwondo team in Frisco show off their med-als and trophies for sparring at the tournament in Wichita, Kansas. From left to right are Cole Elfstrom (1st place), Kaden Elfstrom (2nd place), Aidan Gilchrist (1st place), Zach Statzer (2nd place) and Seth Wilder (1st place).


What makes a Youth Sports Today athlete special? They know how to keep things in perspective and have fun on the field! Let’s get to know this month’s Student Athlete of the Month! as I think I am but I have the How old were you when right ideas. you started playing sports? What is your favorite moment Four What sport did you start during a game so far? When I score a goal. I bring my team playing first? Soccer up on points and I have done Do you continue to play multiple sports, and if yes, what my coach asked me to do and that is a good feeling!! which do you play? Yes, I Who is your favorite sports play soccer and basketball. team? Liverpool FC and the I play basketball with my US Women’s national soccer older sister’s team. team, The Lady Longhorns Which sport is your favorite Alexis takes the ball down the and why? Soccer because it field for her team, Liverpool FC Basketball Who has been the biggest helps me stay in shape. America. influence in your life? My Who is your sports soccer coach Terry Woodberry. He’s role model and why? Lionel Messi of Barcelona FC because he takes on players taught me to be a better soccer player and is showing me to be confident in myself. with really cool moves and he is fast. What do you like to do when you’re not He always says that soccer is just a game, but if you believe in yourself, you can be playing sports? Hang out with my friends the best you can be and that is all that and laugh a lot. anyone can be. What is your favorite subject in school? What accomplishment are you most proud Math What would you like to do for a profession of? In school, being an A and B student. If you were able to give a younger athlete when you graduate? Mostly, I want to play advice, what would it be? Try your best. pro soccer. Think that you can do it and you will do it. What is your favorite part of playing sports? What’s one thing about you that most people That you can just have fun on the field playing and doing your best. don’t know? That I’m a goof ball!! I can What has been your biggest challenge while and like to be really silly!! playing sports? With soccer, I say keeping Do you know what college you would like to good possession of the ball and sometimes attend and what you would like to major in? : not being able to play the ball as long as I I am thinking about UT, but I am not sure think I can. Sometimes I am not as strong of what my degree thing is…yet.


Youth Sports Today of Collin County - October Issue  
Youth Sports Today of Collin County - October Issue  

October issue of Youth Sports Today of Collin County