In what may have be the least climactic NASL awards announcement this week, Marc Dos Santos was named the Coach of the Year for 2015.
This award appeared to be in the bag as early as mid-August, when the Fury were riding high with one of the league’s smallest budgets. “Here’s something you guys might not know,” Dos Santos said yesterday. “The New York Cosmos pay Raul more than we pay our entire team.”
When asked how he reacted to the announcement, Dos Santos replied in classic Dos Santos fashion, if atypically referring to himself in the third person: “It was a typical Marc reaction: very calm. I was happy, but it doesn’t affect me. I didn’t win the Grammys!” Once the assembled media stopped laughing, he continued: ‘I’m very happy, but it’s not like I got a million dollars for it.”
Dos Santos was quick to spread the credit in receiving the award. “It’s good, but you have to remind yourself of the people who surround you. I don’t see it as ‘Coach of the Year’, I see it more as ‘Staff of the Year’. I was surrounded by Martin Nash who helped me a lot, Phillip (Dos Santos), Darko (Buser), Bruce (Grobbelaar), the Human Performance Department who’ve been fantastic. And of course, the players, who make the coach look better. I’m very aware of all of that.”
Dos Santos believes that the team’s success is attributable in part to having a staff that pulls in the same direction: “It’s so important to have a staff that believes in your training methodology. We have guys that believe in it. Darko came from Chelsea’s youth academy where they play a 4-3-3. It’s a system Martin believes in. My brother, well, he was easy to convince.” Then with a playful grin, “Bruce, he’s the goalkeeper coach, who cares!”.
Asked about the importance of knowing multiple languages, the coach was blunt: “When I negotiate my contract, if I’m a coach (that can command) $100,000, I can ask for $120,000 if I speak four languages. I’m shooting that number at you but it’s to help understand that everything becomes very clear for the entire team. Today, when it comes to coaching a soccer team, there are so many different nationalities and languages that a coach or a staff that speaks four or five different languages is a huge asset because it’s all about communication.”
Dos Santos led the Fury to some silverware in only its second year of existence, winning the Fall season championship and missing out on the Combined Table championship by way of tie-breaker with the New York Cosmos. The team could add to to its tally by snatching its biggest prize yet on Sunday, as it travels to New York to take on that very same Cosmos team in the NASL’s Soccer Bowl. Overall in 2015, the Fury won 15 matches, drew 11 and lost only four.
Sunday’s match will be Dos Santos’ last as head coach of the Fury, as he announced in August that he would be leaving to take on a new challenge, reportedly as an assistant head coach for the MLS’s Sporting Kansas City.