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Mar 3, 2014 2:16 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Lindberg Earns Elite Soccer Status

Mar 3, 2014 2:16 PM

One hundred and eight.

That’s how many hours Andreas Lindberg spent, in just nine days time, fully immersed in soccer at the IMG Sports Academy in Bradenton, Florida, in early January. It was time well spent for the East Quogue resident, who is the head coach of the men’s soccer team at C.W. Post University and also the director of the Southampton Soccer Club, as he got word six weeks after the trip that he had earned his ‘A’ coaching license through the United States Soccer Federation.

It’s the highest level of certification a coach can earn at the national level in the United States, putting Lindberg in elite company. The ‘A’ license is not a requirement for collegiate coaches, and many do not have it, although some high level Division I coaches do. Coaches seeking the ‘A’ license must survive a rigorous gauntlet at the IMG Academy, absorbing instruction and also proving their knowledge of all facets of the game—from X’s and O’s to managing player personnel to breaking down game film—with on-field presentations, oral exams and written tests.

Six weeks after visiting Florida, Lindberg got word in the mail that he had passed the tests and was awarded the highest license a soccer coach can earn in the United States.

Lindberg’s choice to go for his ‘A’ license was driven purely by personal motivation, and paid for out of his own pocket. His ability to turn the C.W. Post men’s team into a Division II powerhouse has been proven by his 72-20-7 record over the past four years (and 53-7-3 since 2011). In 2013, under Lindberg’s guidance, the Pioneers tied the program record for wins (18), earned a No. 1 ranking in the NSCAA Division II Poll and won the East Coast Conference Championship for a second straight season. They also won their fourth ECC regular-season crown in five years and claimed a third-consecutive NCAA Division II Tournament berth.

But Lindberg is just as passionate about developing youth soccer players, of all abilities, on the East End through his work with the Southampton Soccer Club, which facilitates training and clinics, and puts together teams to compete in the Long Island Junior Soccer League. His work in that area had reaped dividends as well, as the club—which is open to all players on the East End, not just from Southampton Town—has grown from just three teams and 35 players when he took over six years ago to 14 LIJ teams and 225 players today. Two of those teams—the u15 Strikers and u11 Titans—compete in Division I, which is the highest level in the LIJ league, and Lindberg hopes that the club can advance teams into even higher leagues, with even fiercer competition.

A native of Sweden who used to coach the men’s soccer team at Southampton College, Lindberg described the coaching certification course in Florida as “intense,” but said it was a great experience to be surrounded by so many brilliant soccer minds. Lindberg’s group included Jay Heaps, the head coach of the MLS’s New England Revolution who played both soccer and basketball at Duke University and played professionally in the MLS. Several other high profile coaches were in attendance as well. As he’s progressed up the ranks of coaching certification, Lindberg has met many high profile soccer coaches, including current U.S. men’s national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, whom he met while earning his ‘B’ license in Arizona.

To get his ‘A’ license, Lindberg was asked to prove his soccer knowledge and expertise in a variety of ways, including writing a 10-page paper about the physiology component of the game, such as how to set up preseason practices, strategies for injury prevention, etc. He also had to watch game film of the U.S. national team’s matches with Mexico and Costa Rica and then break down both games, as if he were scouting the opposing teams for the United States. Lindberg and the other coaches seeking their ‘A’ license also had to demonstrate their on-field coaching strategies, using soccer players who attend the IMG Academy. There was also an intense, 20-minute oral exam.

“They teach you how to coach in the United States Soccer Federation model, but you have to show them that you can do that in your own style,” Lindberg explained. “It’s really, really high-level stuff, which is cool and fun.”

Lindberg said that, right now, he doesn’t have any plans to leave Post or collegiate coaching anytime soon, but said no matter what his personal goals are, furthering his soccer education will always be a top priority.

“I did it just to educate myself, to learn more and become a better coach,” he said. “The people who try to get their ‘A’ license, they already know 97 or 98 percent of what they need to know, but it’s that extra two or three percent that makes the difference.”

Lindberg also stressed that his desire to improve his soccer education is not only to make his college team stronger. Rather, he wants to continue to build up youth soccer on the East End, and provide more opportunities for those dedicated soccer players who, until recently, needed to travel far up the island, or even into the city, to find quality coaching and competition.

The addition of the Future Stars indoor bubble facility at SYS has been a huge boost toward that goal, Lindberg noted, as it allows for training throughout the winter. He said he wants to see all kinds of opportunities continue to become available for soccer hungry kids on the East End.

“That’s what I want to change,” Lindberg said. “I want to be able to offer high-level soccer in Southampton, for kids from Montauk to Riverhead. I want kids to choose to come and do it with us instead of being forced to go up-island. And we want everybody to play; the club is for the recreational players, too.”

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