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Up Close with Ronny Amaguana
Ronny joined the Stoddert Nation this spring after a storied professional career

Ronny joined the Stoddert Nation this spring after a storied professional career in the Czech Republic, Honduras, Jamaica and the United States. A native of Ecuador, Coach Amaguana immigrated to the U.S. in 1996 and played both club and high school soccer in the metropolitan Washington, DC area before launching his pro career. Welcome to the Stoddert community, Coach!

Where and when did you first start playing soccer?

RA: In Quito, Ecuador at the age of four.

As a youth player, who did you admire (i.e. individual player, coach, club or National Team, etc.) and why?

I admired my parents (Note: both played sports during their youth: volleyball and soccer) because of the dedication that they showed to their jobs and to our family. I also admired their families, specifically my uncles and cousins, as they all played a high level of soccer or some other sport. 

Describe your memories as a child/teenager playing the game. Did you play for a high-profile club or youth national team? Were you able to travel overseas to compete?

My memories as a child/teenager were simple: to play soccer every time that I could for as long as I could. I would carry my soccer ball everywhere I went and in my teenage years, I was fortunate and blessed to play for a high profile team named Columbia (Md.) Darby (MD), which was always in the top 10 national club rankings.  I also played for the ODP/ Regional team and that afforded me the opportunity to play abroad in Europe. 

What brought you into coaching? Was there a particular person or life experience that you had that introduced you to coaching? 

I was blessed to always have good relationships with my coaches at the youth and professional levels. I saw firsthand what coaches could do as far as motivating a player/team and how they would work at getting everyone to believe and work together for each other. I found it amazing how they took each individual player and made them adapt in order to make the team better, particularly at the pro level where most players have egos. From that moment, I was intrigued and looked at this as a challenge that I would like to achieve, as far as getting a team together to play at their best and to motivate players to give their best on and off the field. For me, being a leader that leads by example for his players to follow happens on and off the field.

Talk about your coaching philosophy. What do you want players and their parents to know about your teaching style? How do you measure progress in your players?

My coaching philosophy has to do with being a responsible coach and getting my team prepared for the challenges ahead. My goals are not just measured in wins, but also in helping, educating and preparing children for life, allowing them to have fun while striving for success. I measure my players’ progress by how hard they have worked or are working in practice to improve their abilities in the game, and how they prepare themselves to overcome problems that they have been informed about. 

What are the most important ingredients for a successful team?

I am pretty sure each coach has different ingredients that they look for to having a successful team. What I look for is what I call the 3 D's:  dedication, determination and discipline

When building a team, what is the first thing you look for?

I look for players who want to challenge themselves and work hard so the team improves through this process. I call these kids “team players “.

Does a player come with motivation? Or is that something a coach can teach?

I believe players do come with motivation, but it is up to the coach to guide and spark that motivation towards the goal that the team is trying to achieve along with their personal goals. 

Looking back on your career, what event(s) gave you the most satisfaction?

During my pro career what gave me the most satisfaction was being able to represent my family out on the field and for them to be able to see that all of their sacrifices, motivation and hard work paid off. Whenever I emerged from the tunnel on to the field, I always wanted to make my family proud.

When not on the soccer pitch, what kinds of things do you enjoy/look forward to doing?

Off the pitch, I look forward to spending time with family and friends and basically playing sports.  I just can't stay away from sports. It is my passion and love.

Is a coach born with leadership skills? Or can they be learned?

I believe every coach is born with some leadership skills, but with time and experience, it is enhanced. 

Can teams learn from losing?

Teams can always learn from losing. Every game is a different challenge, so analyzing the entire game allows a team, whether they won or lost, to be able to improve their deficiencies.

What advice would you give to DC Stoddert players who aspire to play in college and beyond?

Players need to realize that they have to be able to put in the work in the classroom and on the field. This is why we work with student-athletes and not the other way around. Further, as players age and mature, their dedication, discipline and work ethic needs to increase, because at every level beyond where you play, learn or work, all of those attributes and demands go up as well. 

Pick three adjectives that best describe you and your personality.

Dedicated, hard-working and determined.

Do you have a coach that you consider a mentor? If so, how did you meet this person and how often do you talk with them about your coaching career?

The coach that I considered a mentor was  Barrington "Cobra" Gaynor, widely considered the best right back in the history of Jamaican football. I met him while I was playing professionally in Jamaica,  and he coached me for three years. Barrington really made me look into coaching, through the logic that he used and the passion he put into his own teaching. Unfortunately, he recently passed away due to ALS and I didn't get a chance to speak to him about my coaching career.

What brought you to DC Stoddert?

Evans has been a friend for many years and called to ask if I would be interested in coaching with DC Stoddert and I accepted.

What would you like to accomplish over the next few years with the club?

What I would like to accomplish with the club, is to have my teams play at the highest level possible within their respected leagues so that we can make our club a powerhouse within our region. 

Which professional players would you choose in your starting XI? Why?  

Zoff, Cafu, Puyol, Desailly, Roberto Carlos, David Beckham, Edgar Daviss, Zinedine Zidane, Messi, Maradona, and Ronaldo (Brazil)   I believe that each one of these players made their teams better and will sacrifice themselves for the best of the team. 

Read more about Coach Ronny’s professional career here.