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NJYS Director of Coaching Rick Meana, Coach Bradley Poulin and NJYS Coaching Instructor Lou Mignone.

NJYS Director of Coaching Rick Meana has a unique story to share regarding our most recent US Youth Soccer National Youth Coaching Course that was held in conjunction with the New York Red Bulls.

First of all, Coach Bradley Poulin wins the award for having traveled the longest distance to take a National Course in the great Garden State instructed by NJYS Instructors. In my 20 years as the NJYS Director of Coaching, we have had coaches from Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica, Portugal, Italy, England and Scotland, but a 14-hour plus plane ride beats them all!

Coach Poulin is the Director of Coaching for the Okinawa Diplomats Youth FC on the island of Okinawa, Japan. The story goes that Coach Poulin completed a National "C" License course four years ago in North Carolina through the North Carolina Youth Soccer Association, and he kept in contact with the NCYSA Technical Director Bill Furjanic (who incidentally has ties to Howell, NJ). Coach Poulin was scheduled this summer to take the National Youth Coaching Course in North Carolina, but it was canceled due to a lack of interest. He was informed by Coach Furjanic to contact us, and we gladly accepted his application.

Coach Poulin has been living in Japan for the last three years with his wife and children. He moved his entire family from North Carolina when his wife, herself a US Dept of Defense contractor, obtained a job as a contractor. Her contract has since expired, and he will be moving back stateside next summer.

The Okinawa Diplomats Youth FC has around 150 players ranging from 6-18 years of age, and 25 completely volunteer coaches. The children are sons and daughters of US Armed Forces and US Department of Defense contractors stationed and living throughout the many US bases on the island. Incidentally, all the coaches are soldiers and US DOD contractors as well! Besides educating these folks, he says that planning for when coaches are scheduled to go on maneuvers or unexpectedly deployed or transferred is a major priority. The club plays against other Japanese youth soccer clubs on the island.