Randy Hanson Comes With An Extensive Soccer Background
Eastside FC (Eastside) is pleased to announce that Randy Hanson, current EFC technical advisor, has been hired as the Girls Director of Coaching, joining Mark Kovats, U13-U19 Director of Coaching, Anderson Prestes (Xinho), Zone 1 Director, Andrew Dortch, Junior RCL Director and Tom Bunnell, Director of Goalkeeping, to round out the slate of Eastside Directors under Operations Director Chance Fry and Director of Coaching Tom Bialek.
“I have known Randy for thirty years and to have him back at EFC is amazing, “ said Chance. “Not only does he have a huge wealth of knowledge, he is a great person and teacher.” Tom Bialek added, “Randy is a great fit for our club because he believes in our mission of growing people through the game of soccer.”
A former soccer player for the University of Washington, Randy comes to Eastside with an extensive and successful soccer background. Most recently, Randy was head coach of women’s soccer at the University of Puget Sound. During that 20-year span, he and the lady Loggers won an incredible 15 Northwest Conference Championships (14 consecutive) and in 2004 went to the national final. Randy is a 12-time Northwest Conference Coach of the Year and six-time West Region Coach of the Year. He retired from UPS in 2015 with an outstanding overall record of 303-74-36.
Not only is Randy a long-time collegiate soccer coach, he’s also been an assistant coach of the Seattle Sounders Women, which during his coaching tenure included National Team players Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Sydney Leroux, Stephanie Cox and Keelan Winters on the roster. Since 2014, Randy has been a scout and assistant coach to the U20 Women’s National Team, a job that includes scouting opposition teams and players for the U.S. Soccer Federation and providing game analysis before and during the 2014 and 2016 World Cups. He is currently on staff for this year’s World Cup in France.
Just as impressive though are the years Randy has spent coaching at the youth level. In past years, he’s coached for both the Region IV Olympic Development Program (ODP) and Washington’s Elite Player Development (EPD). At the club level, he most recently coached at Washington Premier and has also coached at Eastside, PacNW, FC Alliance, FC United and FC Royals. He’s coached boys and girls high school soccer at Tyee High School and girls soccer at Puyallup High School.
“Randy’s soccer knowledge at all different levels of the game will help us grow our connection with the Reign, Reign DA, and building out the player pathway that begins with us, “ said Bialek. “Lining up our training and game models with the Reign will lead to a more advanced and consistent Eastside experience across all ages and levels of teams.”
For Eastside's Zone 1 coaches who have worked the past year with Randy on soccer curriculum implementation, the experience has been has been especially rewarding.
“Randy brings to the club an extensive background of knowledge about the game and knowledge on how to teach the game of soccer to our youth players,” said Xinho. EFC once again has raised the bar with the addition of such a great coach and leader!” Coach Emily Cole concurred adding, “In interactions with Randy with the Zone 1 curriculum implementation, I have appreciated his commitment to driving coaches to their best (an eternal quest) and collaborative approach to doing so. I believe EFC [with Randy as Girls DOC] is uniquely positioned due to its philosophy, leadership and proven ability to deliver on stated goals.”
For Randy, coming to Eastside was all about perfect timing. As his collegiate coaching was winding down, he was looking to start the next chapter in his life. Observing the changing youth soccer landscape in America enticed him to explore opportunities in youth soccer. He envisioned extrapolating his experiences of coaching collegiate women’s soccer and women’s professional and national teams and bringing that to the youth soccer experience.
“I envisioned upgrading youth soccer from the training aspect and how the game is played,” he said.
Simultaneously, Eastside was expanding its programming in a profound way. U.S. Soccer had recently granted development academies to Eastside for both its boys and girls programs. Eastside’s affiliation with Sounders FC for its boys Developmental Academy and its partnership with the Seattle Reign in forming the Reign Academy was the type of program Randy was looking for.
“I retired after twenty years of college coaching to coach my son in his last year of club soccer (at WPFC),“ said Randy. “Tom [Bialek] heard I had retired and called me up and asked me what I was going to do. Besides coaching my son, I was looking at other soccer-related projects to replace my college coaching position.”
Randy accepted Bialek’s offer as Eastside’s technical advisor assisting him and Xinho in implementing the Sounders youth soccer curriculum in the Zone 1 age group. At that time, talks with the Reign regarding the formation of the Reign Academy was still in the early stages. Fast forward one year later to early 2018, Randy's son’s club soccer having just finished and Eastside now an official partner in the Reign Academy, Bialek reached out to Randy once again to see if he was ready for an expanded, full-time role at Eastside as Girls Director of Coaching.
“I am personally very excited for this opportunity that Tom and Chance have given me. I am excited to contribute my expertise and professional experience to the club, ” he said. For Randy, the collaboration between the Reign and Eastside FC provides an unparalleled coaching opportunity in club soccer. “I was looking for another place to contribute. I’m always looking to be involved as a coach at the highest level I can.” Eastside’s affiliation with the Sounders and the Reign allows the club, “to upgrade how we teach soccer,” he said. “We can now take the best ideas from the highest levels of soccer (through our professional club affiliations) and incorporate them into our teaching.”
As DOC for Girls, Randy will work closely with the Reign Academy to ensure curriculum consistency within our Academy 2 and Pre-Academy girls programs and all levels of girls soccer at Eastside. And for both the boys and girls programs, as the club’s technical advisor, Randy will assist the other Eastside directors to develop a soccer identity for Eastside FC .
“It’s about developing an identifiable style of play unique to Eastside FC,“ he explained. “It means making sure we are on the same page and playing in a way that others will know it is us and to create a consistent club experience among all our teams.”
Randy notes that the Eastside FC identity will develop as the club’s curriculum adopts new best practices. “We are moving away from a skills acquisition model to skills application,” he explained. This includes emphasizing training exercises with players in soccer situations that forces them to make decisions. This model is in contrast to youth soccer training of the past that focused primarily on repetitive technical drills, he said. Additionally, there will also be a highly regarded, expanded player review portion using film analysis for all Eastside teams.
“Analyzing film allows coaches and players to see a factual dimension of the game that they may have otherwise missed and adds to the player-team review process.”
Included in the Eastside identity are the many avenues to which players can develop their game, regardless of skill or aspiration. At Eastside, Randy sees multiple player pathways that encompass not only the highest level of play for our players with national team and college aspirations but also pathways that develop a lifelong love of the game and a passion to play it well. And threaded throughout every pathway, is the development of the whole person for every Eastside player. This includes introducing wellness education for both players and their parents (nutrition, loading levels, rest and recovery) and ensuring character building in the curriculum - all of this combined to further a holistic approach to soccer instead of a traditional youth soccer program that consists of soccer only content.
Randy views these as essential elements of lifelong pathways to individual success on and off the field. At the end of the day, he said, Eastside is about developing the person to their individual highest level, no matter where the end goal lies.
“We have such an awesome opportunity in this sport – while it’s not high life stakes, it does offer an opportunity to develop confidence, resiliency, will power and a growth mindset in our youth.” This he says is the expectation Eastside has of its coaches and players on and off the pitch; this translates into how they conduct themselves during games, how they talk to referees, how they treat each other as teammates. “The opportunity (referring to our club motto, "Building Champions in Life) is there, all we have to do is emphasize it and teach it.”