Hometown: Cumberland, RI
As a boy, University of Rhode Island senior Justin Resendes dreamed of playing professional soccer, and as an all-state honoree and captain of his high school team, he seemed well on his way to achieving his goal. Now his big idea is coaching in Major League Soccer.
Justin’s path changed at URI, where his studies in kinesiology, anatomy, weight training, and fitness training, not to mention his actual soccer skills, led to an invitation from the New England Revolution in 2011. That invitation wasn’t to play, but to coach the Revolution’s youth academy teams – and some of the region’s top young soccer players. The coaching gig led to a summer internship coordinating the Revolution’s youth academy, during which he was responsible for all the logistics, scheduling, college prep courses and more. He also traveled throughout the region to recruit 180 players from all over the northeast, and he joined the Revolution’s professional players in organizing soccer clinics in many of the cities in which they played. And, he applied his URI coursework to designing fitness programs to prepare his academy players to compete at the college level.
The payoff? He’s already been offered a full-time job with the Revolution when he graduates. “They told me they want me to be part of the organization into the future. There have been academy coaches who have gone on to coach the professional team, so I’m hoping that could be in my future,” he said.
Right now, he’s working on getting his premiere level national coaching license and his strength and conditioning license so he’s ready for the next big step. “I admit it was hard going from playing at LaSalle (High School) and for the Rhode Island Stingrays semi-pro team to not playing competitively any more, but I’ve transferred my focus to helping others. I know that this is the better path for me. I want to help others succeed.”