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Coach of the Year – Mike Hollar

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Congratulations Coach

Congratulations to AYSO United Arizona Coach Mike Hollar who was just named as the 2019 AYSO United National Coach of the Year. Coach Hollar was selected over more than 500 coaches in 14 different states.

Coach Hollar received his award in front of his peers at the 2020 United Soccer Coaching Convention in Baltimore Maryland.

The National Coach of the Year program is sponsored by our partners at New Balance, who in addition to bringing him to the conference awarded him with a $500 gift certificate to New Balance.

Well done Coach, you make us all very proud and you are helping us “Build a Better Club in Arizona.”

Coach Mike Hollar named AYSO United Arizona 2019 “Coach of the Year”

“I feel humbled I was thought of well enough by parents and players to be considered worthy among a great group of coaches.” Mike Hollar

On behalf of the AYSO United Arizona organization, we would like to congratulate Coach Mike Hollar of the AYSO United AZCV 2010 girls team as our selection for the 2019 AYSO United National Coach of the Year, Presented by New Balance.

Parents were invited to nominate their coach. We explicitly stated we were not looking for the coach with the most wins or the highest ranking, but the coach who embodies the core values of AYSO and AYSO United. Our goal was to learn about coaches who were having the most impact on our players and their families.

We received several outstanding nominations. Not a single one mentioned records or rankings. Because this is the first year with AYSO United, we looked into the history of each nominee and noted their long commitments to AYSO. From the list of amazing nominees, we narrowed the field to the top three, which included AYSO United 05G Coach Dave Damron and AYSO United 05B and 06B Coach Ricky Rawls.

Although all the nominees are worthy of the title, we believe one coach stood out just a little bit more and is therefore worthy of being named AYSO United Arizona’s “Coach of the Year”.

Coach Hollar has been with AYSO Region 1046 since 2006. He still sits on the local board and serves as their field coordinator. In addition to these roles, plus his time as a coach, Coach Hollar also volunteers his time as a referee for the core program. Coach Hollar recently completed his USSF D license and Grassroots license. He is also a certified AYSO Advanced Coach, NSCAA Goalkeeper I and II, a USSF Grade 7 referee and a certified AYSO National referee.

What separates Coach Hollar from some of our other candidates was his instrumental role with the AYSO Challenge FC program, and the region’s acceptance of bringing AYSO United to the area. As the former point man for Challenge FC in Region 1046, Coach Hollar helped identify and develop most of our AYSO United coaches from the Central Valley. When his own daughter’s team 03G team finished in the spring of 2018, Coach Hollar decided to return to the region’s core program and take on two U10 girls teams. In the spring of 2019, he formed a Select team, largely made up of the two core recreation teams, the majority of which he brought with him to AYSO United.

Coach Hollar was not initially in favor of the move to AYSO United. He was not sure about what being a part of AYSO United was going to be different than the existing club program. In his words, he was “cautiously optimistic.” He recently shared with our Club Administrator, Juni Cruz, AYSO United has “delivered on every promise and then some.”

Coach Hollar gives a lot of credit to his Regional Commissioner for trusting him to represent the needs of the local region, while committing to AYSO United. It was the RC’s faith in Coach Hollar that has made AYSO United’s acceptance by the region a tremendous success.

As the Team Administrator and Director of Coaching for AYSO United Arizona, it is difficult for us to put in words how any coach models each of the core areas. In Coach Hollar’s case, we leave it up to one of the parents who, in their nomination letter, had the following to say about Coach Hollar:

Enjoyment: Coach Hollar gives all the players opportunities to play in different positions. This develops their skills as soccer players, and also helps them appreciate and enjoy aspects of all the different positions. He is also engaged in his teams play during practices, which creates bonds between him and the girls.

Education: Coach Hollar treats each practice as an opportunity to teach or add onto a new skill. Games are about utilizing the new skills learned in practice, not just about winning. Coach Hollar has made it very clear to both the players and parents that he likes to win, but the end goal is developing the teams’ soccer skills and knowledge about the game.

Commitment: Coach Hollar has a wife and kids at home, yet he comes to all the practices and games. The team has several coaches so they could easily schedule for there to be only one coach at practices and games, but that has never been the case. His commitment to the team sets an example for the girls about the decisions they have to make about attending games versus other events in their personal lives.

Ownership: In both practice, and during match play, Coach Hollar is good about discussing with the players their actions and having them take ownership of those actions. He explains their actions and the results of those actions so the players learn in a constructive environment not just that they made a mistake, but what are other options they might try in the future if the same set of circumstances present themselves.

Integrity: I believe the best example of Coach Hollar’s Integrity is that during close matches. He has never subbed out players on the field with stronger players on the bench in order to increase the odds of winning a game.

Holistic: I think Coach Hollar is always thinking about how to grow the team physically, emotionally, and mentally. His practices are demanding, his demeanor is always respectful, and he expects his players to come ready to play hard. That being said, he is compassionate and, I believe, deeply cares for growing his players confidence and emotional strength.”

We at AYSO United Arizona believe in our coaches and want to provide them with every opportunity to be successful and to lead. We want our coaches to be role models and to demonstrate how to play and enjoy this game in a professional and Holistic way.

We feel Coach Hollar does so, but ask you not to just take our word for it. Just read the following message, submitted by another parent in their nomination letter:

“I appreciate Coach Hollar’s calm demeanor. I’ve never seen him upset during a game, or speak in a derogatory manner toward players or referees. I’ve also noticed the way in which Coach Hollar communicates with his players. He never uses terms like “sweetie”, “honey”, or “sweetheart” when addressing players which I’ve heard from other coaches. When speaking to players he uses their names, which I believe is important and shows that he respects who he’s communicating with.”

We could not have said it any better.