Senior Spotlight: Assistant Boys Varsity Soccer Coach Tino Preldakaj
Q: "How long have you been playing/following soccer?"
A: "I’ve loved soccer for nine years, since the 2014 World Cup, which changed my perspective on the sport entirely. As a German fan, Germany’s brilliant performances were a great introduction to the sport. Watching them beat Brazil 7-1 was completely inspirational to me. The Netherlands was also excellent in that World Cup. From that point, I began to consistently watch/play soccer with my friends and in travel soccer leagues."
Q: "What is your favorite player, team, manager, and league? Why?"
A: "My favorite team is Bayern Munich. I was raised by Bayern fans and that was always going to rub off on me. My favorite player is Thomas Müller. I love his intelligence in-game and his leadership. His positioning is unbelievable. I love the Bundesliga — a lot of attacking play and the fans are the best in the world. My favorite coach is Jupp Heynckes, a Bayern legend. He is always there if the club needs a coach. He brings the best out of players, and we played some of the best football ever under him."
Q: "How do you feel your years of playing/following soccer are helpful when it comes to being the manager of the team?"
A: "Following soccer has been helpful because my intense interest in it has led to me trying to understand the tactics of it more. I think that helps me describe ideals to players or coaches that the players should hope to reach. The years of playing have helped me put myself in the shoes of the players, realize that it isn’t easy to play, and to bear that in mind with everything that I say."
Q: "What do you believe your role on this team is?"
A: "My role is whatever everybody else makes of it. I give input to the coaches, which I’m glad has been received well generally. If the players listen to the input I give, which I feel like they do more than I might’ve expected, then good things will come. Otherwise, I’m there to hang out with my friends, talk about the game, and whatever else is going on. I try to give advice on the sideline as well, which is definitely one of the more fun aspects."
Q: "What do you expect from this team this year? How far do you think they will go?"
A: "I think there’s no telling how far this team can go. I think one of the things you learn about sports generally, but especially high school sports is that it’s very difficult to predict. I expect the players to perform to their best ability, and whatever happens happens after that. I think if the team builds up chemistry and can find a strong rhythm and formation, they can go farther than probably a lot of players are suspecting."
Q: "Is there a manager that you feel you resemble?"
A: "A similar manager to myself is probably Julian Nagelsmann. He’s very young, starting his management career at the top at only 28. He loves to play aggressive attacking football and likes to constantly shift formations and game plans based on what he thinks the match demands. His short time as Bayern manager was a definite inspiration to me. Last but not least, his excellent style and penchant for a good suit have clearly inspired me as well."
Q: "What has been your favorite moment being a manager so far?"
A: "My favorite moment managing this team was the late comeback against Sleepy Hollow. After a very weak first-half performance, I tried to emphasize pressing and quick play once the ball was won back. I didn’t know if players would take to my statements, but in the second half, the tempo was on a different level from the first half, and we turned the game around with five minutes to go. As I told the players then, I fell in love with the team that day."
Q: "If there is one soccer-related quote you wish to share with everyone, what is it?"
A: "I’ll give two."
“It's like everything in football - and life. You need to look, you need to think, you need to move, you need to find space, you need to help others. It's very simple in the end.” - Johan Cruyff
“When I think I’ve made an error, it can cause me a sleepless night. But that only happens rarely.” - Louis van Gaal.