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Athletic Coaching Education graduate sets sights on highest soccer coaching level

West Virginia University graduate André Schneider credits the holistic approach he learned as a master’s student in helping him succeed as a coach. The Brazil native had little time to evaluate and modify the U15 Team of Porto Vitoria in the beginning of October.

“It was only two and a half months. The biggest challenge the coaching staff (Hugo Gava, fitness coach, and Rafael Pinheiro, goalkeeper's coach) and I faced was, in such a short period of time, change the play style of the team, and have them playing a possession, yet aggressive, style of soccer,” he explained.  

“In the end, it was impressive to see how much better they could perform both individually and as a group. It's also important to say that we had players of great quality, good skill level,” he added.

After winning the State League with Porto, Schneider was invited by Head Coach Rafael Soriano to be his assistant coach for a pro team (Rio Branco FC) in his State. His plan is to work hard and to keep improving to reach Brazil's Soccer First Division.

Schneider, from Vila Velha, Espírito Santo, Brazil, says he discovered WVU through a partnership between WVU and his university in Brazil.

“I had such a great learning experience as an exchange student. Then, Dr. Kristen Dieffenbach told me about the master’s in athletic coaching education program. I decided WVU was a perfect fit for my career goals,” he said.

Schneider says he is thankful for the opportunity to have received his Master’s degree in Athletic Coaching Education from CPASS (May 2016).

“It helped me develop as a coach by using a holistic approach through studying all 4 pillars of coaching: psychology, technique, tactic and fitness. CPASS also gave me the opportunity to apply what we were studying in the classes I taught and within the internship I had with Mountaineer United Soccer Club,” he added.

Schneider credits all CPASS faculty for the positive experience. “I must say I was lucky to have Drs. Dieffenbach (my advisor), Val Wayda, Ryan Fleck and Dana Voelker as my professors. I learned a considerable amount from them, both in class or regular conversations,” he said.

To become successful while at CPASS, Schneider suggests that students take advantage of the experienced faculty members.

“Talk to them, they have an awareness that will help students solve problems they could face while coaching. They have a lot of knowledge to share,” he added.

For students who hope someday to coach, Schneider recommends that students spend time studying, achieve the licenses as required and earn real life experience with internships.

“This will help students sharpen their coaching skills and apply the knowledge they get from college,” he said. Finally, Schneider says that networking is key. 

“I’m looking forward to my future challenges. I want to coach at the highest level of pro soccer,” said Schneider.

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