Head Coach Erik Engebretsen
Coaching Education/Licensing Level:
USSF Level E
United Soccer Coaches: Level 1 and 2 Goalkeeping
How many years have you been on staff with Hartford United SC?
I have been on staff since 2015. Currently, I am the head goalkeeper coach, and assistant coach for U11/12 Boys Black team, and head coach for U14/15 Girls Black team.
Why do you coach youth soccer?
There are quite a few reasons I choose to coach, giving back to the community, and love of the
game among them. However, the biggest reason why I coach is to be a positive role model for
young people and to teach them the life lessons that go along with playing soccer. Soccer is
more than kicking a ball. It’s learning to be a part of a team, how to function and interact with
your teammates, and recognizing that you are a part of something bigger than yourself. Learning these skills at a young age will help them in all aspects of life as they get older. Coaching is a passion, not a “job” to me because I want youth players to learn, at a young age, that they can (and should) demand great things from themselves, and their teammates, and if they do that consistently they will ALL be better off for it, not just in soccer, but in life.
What is the best advice you could give young players?
Don’t be afraid to fail. You don’t learn anything from doing everything right all of the time, and
you will never be perfect, and there is nothing wrong with that. Be willing to take chances, make
mistakes, and step out of your comfort zone. With every failure comes growth, with growth
comes confidence, and with confidence comes the belief that you can do anything if you put the
work in. Set high goals for yourself and don’t stop until you get there.
“A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a
plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.”
-Greg S. Reid
What is your favorite hobby (outside of soccer)?
I have several hobbies outside of soccer. When it’s warm out I like to go cycling on my road
bike and play golf. I enjoy hunting in the fall (if I’m not consumed with soccer-related
activities). I also like to read if/when I have time. I enjoy military history the most.
What is your favorite movie?
Saving Private Ryan
What is your favorite food?
There are too many to name, but if you forced me to pick just one, I’d say it would be pulled pork that I make on my smoker at home.
Did you play soccer growing up? – If so, how many years?
Yes- I played in middle and high school. This was the mid-1990s and club soccer was pretty
much nonexistent at the time, so there weren’t many options to play outside of school. Due to
the 1994 World Cup being played in the US for the first time, things slowly started to change
during the time I was in high school. Kids have far more opportunities to play at a high level and
be taught the proper way to play than I did growing up.
Who do you look up to as a coaching mentor?
I take something away from every coach I’ve ever coached with, and I’ve learned a lot in a
relatively short time. However, I look up to Jim Schrot as a coaching mentor the most. Jim must have seen something in me to bring me into the coaching fold, even if I didn’t see it in myself at the time. And welcomed me into the HUSC coaching family. Since that point, he mentored me with my first team, helped me further my coaching education, and gave me numerous opportunities to grow and coach teams in different age groups with HUSC. He knows how to coach.
To me, HUSC embodies everything youth sports can, and should be. We strive to teach the
game the right way, beginning at the academy level. By emphasizing technique and tactics at
younger ages, rather than wins and losses, we teach kids to play soccer in a technical manner that will allow their games to grow farther.
More importantly, HUSC truly is a United family. We have players that come not only from
Hartford but from other counties to be a part of our club. We have a very knowledgeable and
committed coaching staff that truly wants to see each player reach their full potential. Our
coaches are also dedicated to one another, helping to cover for coaches if there is a need, sitting on the bench to support other teams if they are in the area, and always willing to offer feedback and advice. I am proud to be a coach for HUSC and can’t imagine coaching for another club.