Ali Hanif

Arizona State University – Assistant Coach & Goalkeeper Coach

United Soccer Coaches API Coaches Community Member

“I also measure success in the impact I make on others and how the student athletes I work with day in and out, grow as a individuals, grow as teammates, grow as members of there communities.”

Who or what inspired you to pursue coaching?

A couple of things did. First, a few specific people believed in me and gave me their valuable time to help me grow as a coach. People like John Shiels, Wayne Pybus, Andy Smith, Ben Charlton, Emma Fletcher, Lee Adams and Derek Shore to name a few who always let me pick their brains, ask numerous questions and always gave me advice and challenges. The second, which was not intentional but became very important, was doing something I didn’t see anyone who looked like me or had my cultural background doing. You don’t see many South Asian coaches, in the NCAA in soccer across the men’s, women’s, and all divisions there’s only a handful. Being able to represent where my family is from is important, but also hopefully the next time someone wants to take up being involved in football/soccer they can see there are a few more people who look like them and might inspire them to take it up.

How has being a United Soccer Coaches Member benefited you?

The broad networking and ability to meet so many coaches from all walks of life including the incredible people that work within the association. It’s been great to have conversations and build relationships to benefit so many other people creating opportunities for others.

What do you feel has been the hardest part of coaching?

I don’t feel there’s one part that’s the “hardest.” Everything has easy and hard moments. I think managing your time and having a life and work balance is important, as prioritizing mental health and conversation. Also being part of a coaching staff and department that values you as a contributor but also values the conversations when things are easy and hard. I’ve been extremely fortunate to be a part of great staff and departments over the years and work hard to build strong relationships. Which can support you throughout the journey.

How do you measure success with your team?

At our level (College Soccer) winning is important that’s the reality! But I also measure success in the impact I make on others and how the student-athletes I work with day in and out, grow as individuals, grow as teammates, and grow as members of their communities. And the impact they begin to make as they leave the college environment, and them knowing they have a support network in me even after the college part is over.

If applicable, what has been your favorite United Soccer Coaches education course and why?

Being a part of the pilot for the Coach Credential Program this past year has been amazing to work so closely with so many fellow college coaches, and really building a structure to supporting college coaches has been a great joy, challenging, and enlightening. But also completing my Advanced National Goalkeeping with Lisa and Sergio was a great course and very good for goalkeeping in the USA. Building consistency and conversation was essential to the success of both courses and the incredible support and investment from United Soccer Coaches.