By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO July 12, 2005 Kutshers Sports Academy continues to host world-class instructors.
KSA hosted a recent clinic taught by Dan Gaspar, the goalkeeping coach of FC Porto, the mens team from Portugal that captured the 2004-2005 World Championship. He also prepared the Portuguese mens national team for the 2002 Olympics.
An American citizen, Gaspar has coached throughout the world since graduating from Hartford University, where he was a star goalie.
For two-and-a-half hours on a sunny Sunday, he ran aspiring young soccer athletes through various drills. The youngsters learned a variety of soccer skills, and Gaspar impressed upon them the amount of hard work that is necessary to become a great player.
Of his own world trophy, he said, Winning the world championship was like taking the cork out of the bottle every possible emotion poured out.
His team defeated Once Caldas, the Columbian team in a penalty kick shootout. Gaspars teaching skills paid off as FC Portos goaltender bested the Columbian goalie.
Gaspars connection to KSA includes a relationship with KSAs head soccer coach Joe Santos. The two played semi-professional soccer together on a team in Bridgeport, Ct. called Vasco D Agama in the late 1970s. They also played against each other.
Gaspar will soon return to his college roots at Hartford University to become head coach of the mens soccer team.
He said that when he was in school, my dream was to pursue international soccer. As a junior at the Hartford University, he took a week-long training course in Florida to become certified as a U.S. Soccer Federation A License Coach the highest level of soccer coaching. He said he was the youngest to receive the A license, which is recognized by FIFA, the governing body of world soccer.
Hopefully, it will give an opportunity to other Americans to pursue their dreams in soccer, Gaspar said of his successful experience with the Portuguese team.
His other coaching experiences included time with the MetroStars of Major League Soccer, Sporting Lisbon in Portugal and Grampus Eight in Japan. Gaspar has also put together soccer clinics throughout the country, focusing mostly on the skills needed for goalies.
For youth looking to become great soccer players, his advice is to play and enjoy the game.
Make the ball part of your daily life, Gaspar said. The ball is the extension of your personality. Inside the ball is your hopes, dreams and aspirations.