WASHINGTON - Kris Ward, DC Stoddert’s previous Director of Recreational Soccer, has recently joined Washington Spirit’s technical staff as a Team Tactical Analysis & Player Performance Development Coach.
Ward has had coaching experience in the DMV area for over fifteen years with all levels of soccer, including FIFA World Player of the Year winners. He was previously an assistant coach for Washington Spirit, and worked for DC Stoddert and FCLA in West L.A.
Ward was the Director of Recreational Soccer for DC Stoddert from 2014-2016, with his main responsibility to oversee all of DC Stoddert’s recreational soccer programs. His job description included a range of tasks that related to anything involving the Rec program such as coaching, making sure fields were set up with the proper goals, taking care of any issues, and making sure the program ran smoothly. Ward had been with the Washington Freedom in the Women’s Professional Soccer League for seven years before coming to DC Stoddert in this position. He noted how it had been a different undertaking from working with a team of approximately 30 players to a club of over 6,500 players in the Rec Program, where he had to set up things and manage expectations for a large group of people. Overall, he said that he learned many skills from this experience such as relationship building and leadership skills, which have helped him pursue future opportunities.
Ward recalled his favorite moments at DC Stoddert, emphasizing the tight-knit community. He said that he had worked closely with the small group of staff and that he was able to watch kids and families grow up together in the program. He noted how the camaraderie at DC Stoddert is like no other he has worked with and how rare it is to find a club so large yet tight-knit. One of his favorite memories was organizing different drives to support the community, which he said always had a positive turnout.
His advice for players who want to continue playing soccer is to put yourself in environments that challenge you, such as playing with older players in a pickup game, in addition to putting in the work. He recalled his experiences as a young player, where he often played with people ten to fifteen years older than him, which had a huge impact on his development. Ward also noted the importance of new video software tools, such as Hudl, which provide players with an objective magnifying glass for improving their game.
In addition, Ward gave advice to players who might want to become more involved on the non-playing side, such as coaching. His advice is to look for advances and be prepared to take an opportunity when it presents itself. He said that in the beginning of his career, he took jobs as volunteer assistant coaches in order to become more involved. Two years later, he found himself working with top-notch players such as Abby Wombach. His overall message for players is to work hard and put yourself in uncomfortable positions.
DC Stoddert wishes Kris good luck with the Washington Spirit!