In this week’s “Get to Know” article, we will be learning more about Seacoast United Maine South staff member, Ron Graham. Ron will be coaching the clubs 2006 Boys Premier Blue team for the 2018/19 season.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Today I’m a part time teacher and a full-time soccer coach. I have a wife and three grown boys that I enjoy spending time with. I love coaching! But I do read a lot and have always been a science and technology addict. And I spend quite a bit of time trying to understand how things in the world work. That would definitely include trying to better understand the world of soccer.
I graduated from Colby College in Waterville, Maine. After graduating college, I did two things that were significant in my life. First, I started working out every day. And second, I helped to start and then later ran an electronics company. I ultimately sold the company and moved to Maine with my family. For several years after that change I thought selling out and moving away from my previous home was the worst decision of my life. But I was wrong. Moving my family here turned out to be the best decision of my life!
What made you decide to want to start coaching?
Honestly, I wanted to try and help my sons become better at the sports they liked. After a year or so of coaching I got so much positive encouragement from others around me to continue, that it was hard to say no or stop.
What is your previous experience playing soccer? Coaching?
I played soccer in High School and College. However, soccer wasn’t as important to me then, as it is now. I began coaching when my kids started playing sports. When I started I never knew I would like coaching so much. I coached several different sports for the first few years before settling only on soccer. I’ve got 20 years’ experience and two national soccer licenses. Now I’m loving life every day I step onto a soccer field to coach.
What’s been your best memory while being involved in coaching soccer?
I have been fortunate to coach many great teams to some wins in big games and Tournaments. One vivid memory is when I coached a U15 Seacoast Boys team to a championship win in the largest Memorial Day Tournament in the USA. That team was made up of mostly Lewiston Somali boys that had never before played for a premier club. That group later became the core of the recent Lewiston state championship teams and yielded a Maine Soccer Player of the Year. The gratitude they showed for that chance to play and win that championship. And the emotion that came out when they held that trophy in the air simply defies words.
What attracted you to Seacoast United Maine?
I had been coaching with the Premier Soccer Club Odyssey Sport for several years, when I had a conversation with Coach Steve Twombly one night about joining Seacoast. It was a great conversation. I was impressed with Steve and the Club. He invited me to join the Club, and it has turned out to be a great choice for many years now.
Who has been the most influential person in your career?
It’s hard to pick just one. I’ve coached with and against some very good coaches. Three that come to mind quickly are: Mike Andreasen, Andy Biggs, & Todd Sniper. When I was in the business world I had a great business mentor that I met at General Mills. Dick O’Connor was an Olympic athlete, a scholar, and CEO. He gave me invaluable advice in the business world and was influential in me starting my company. Growing up my mother was always the Rock of Gibraltar for me in tough times. So yes, it is hard to pick just one person.
Which current or former professional athlete did you admire the most growing up and why?
Since I feel like I’m still not done growing up, it would have to be Lionel Messi. He is the greatest soccer player in history! His soccer IQ, technical skill, composure under pressure, acceleration with the ball, free kick precision combines to create an all-around player that is second to none. (yes, especially better than CR7)
Do you have any hobbies you like to do in your spare time?
Spare time. What’s that? Family, coaching, working out, watching soccer, reading, sleeping, and eating fills most every minute of every day. I do compete in a fitness contest each year. It’s the Fittest Man in Maine Contest. I have been fortunate enough to place 1st six times in the last seven years.
Rapid Fire Questions:
Favorite food – Ice-cream. Almost any flavor as long as it is in a big bowl!
Favorite genre of music – Classic Rock N Roll. There’s just so much great music to pick from, why would anyone choose something else?
Favorite place to visit – Ben & Jerry’s factory, for the free ice cream samples!
Favorite Premier League team – Definitely La Liga is the best League in the world. And Barca is the best team.
2018/2019 Premier League Winner – Man City – BTW as a lifetime New England Sports Fan, I feel the same way about Man U as I do about the NY Yankees. Fortunately, Man City fans didn’t have to wait 85 years like the Red Sox fans did. The Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, Bruins, and Revs help to make living here in New England better than any other place in the world for sports!