Keith Tabatznik remains the all-time winningest coach at Georgetown University, compiling a 220–178–22 from 1984-2005. Tabatznik’s storied career has seen him serve as assistant coach for the Trinidad and Tobago national team, head coach of Region I ODP, and TV analyst for Fox Soccer. Tabatznik is currently director of soccer for Mclean Youth Soccer and director of Elite 300 Soccer Academy.
Why did you decide to become a college soccer coach?
KT: Always knew I wanted to coach and the opportunity came first when my friend became HC at George Washington University and brought me on to assist when I was 22. Then Georgetown (which at the time had no scholarships) hired me at 24. Got lucky and remain lucky.
Who has been the biggest influence on your coaching career? What did you learn from them?
KT: Roy Rees - perhaps our most successful youth national coach. From him I learned the importance of bridging the soccer part of the game with the mind/psychological part of the game. He was a master at that. The mindset definitely comes first in order to attain excellence.
What are the three most important skills you try to instill in your players?
KT: Life skills above anything else to the players, but when it comes to soccer skills - 1st touch, short/medium passing, dribbling (creativity). If you have that, you have a chance to play at a high level.
Who is the best player you’ve ever coached? What made him special?
KT: Too many in fairness. But I will single out Dan Gargan who was not the most technical player I ever had, but his determination to make the most out of his strengths led to a 10-year MLS career.
|No matter what level of God given ability you have, you have to have a determination to always make yourself the best you can be and Danny did that.|
Describe yourself as a coach in three words:
KT: Attacking minded, focused on the next part of a game and not what has already happened (stay in the moment); always believe there is a way to win a game.
What is your ideal system of play? Why?
KT: Systems are not the important thing to me as each team needs to be adoptable as a season or even a game goes on. More so though is the "flavor" of a team. I have been on the Barcelona Bandwagon for a long time and I believe they would be the most fun team to watch regardless of their system. The possession to create chances is fun to watch and fun to play. And do not forget that their team defending is what gets them the ball back so fast.