Jan. 28, 2009
George Hageage, head coach of the Eastern Washington University women's soccer team, was among a select class of 12 coaches to be honored with the first-ever National Soccer Coaches Association (NSCAA) Master Diploma. It was presented to him on Jan. 17 at the NSCAA Annual Convention in St. Louis, Mo.
This is a year-long course which has been modeled after the UEFA "A" Coaching License taught in Europe. It is designed for coaches who not only have a desire for coaching the sport, but also are passionate about advancing the game in the United States and having an influence on the American sports culture.
In order to be considered for the course, one must have received a minimum of a "good" pass on the Premier Coach License in addition to a strong coaching resume. In 2001, Hageage passed with "distinction," the highest rating possible.
The Master Diploma program is a year-long course that included Hageage:
- maintaining a year-long logbook
- participating in visitation weekends with select MLS or other international professional clubs
- participating at the NSCAA National Convention
- interviewing sporting and professional personalities
- promoting a selected soccer event
- developing club and team charters and administrative guidelines
- developing support staff
- submitting practices to be reviewed/evaluated via video
Master Coach participants were also asked to fulfill a specified number of hours with the following topics: management, leadership, game promotion, fitness and nutrition, self development and sports psychology.
"It was a tremendous honor to be a part of the first Master Diploma class," Hageage said. "Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that we are working in institutions of higher learning and that our jobs as coaches need to be viewed in the context of professional educators. The Master Diploma course allowed me to continue my education, not only in the area of soccer x's and o's but, more importantly, it provided a vehicle to evaluate myself, my philosophy and the program I run here at EWU in a very public forum with my mentor and colleagues.
"The Master Diploma course was a wonderful learning experience, and I want to thank Jeff Tipping (director of coaching development for the NSCAA) for giving me this opportunity, Bret Simon (head men's coach at Stanford) for being a great sounding board as a mentor and all of the other candidates for their insight and willingness to share their `trade secrets' with me."
This fall, Hageage will kick off his 10th season at the helm of the Eagles. Over the past nine seasons he and his program have earned a long list of accolades, including being:
- ranked sixth in the nation for most improved Division I programs in 2000
- in the Big Sky semifinals in 2002, 2004 and 2005
- ranked second in the nation among NCAA Division I programs for team grade point average, 3.5, in 2003
- Big Sky regular-season champions in 2004
- Big Sky Coach of the Year in 2004
- 2008 South Dakota State Jackrabbit Invitational champions
Individual honors his players have earned since his arrival in 2000 include
- one NSCAA/adidas Scholar All-West Region winner
- one Big Sky Scholar-Athlete Award recipient
- one Big Sky Top Newcomer of the Year
- two Big Sky Defensive MVPs
- three ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII honorees
- five Big Sky All-Championship Team selections
- eight NSCAA Team Academic Awards
- 55 All-Big Sky team selections
- 123 Big Sky All-Academic team selections
In 2006, Hageage published his first book, Developing a Successful Soccer Program. That same year, he was added to the NSCAA national coaching staff, one of only 47 coaches nationally on that elite staff. He has also served as the District Six Director of Coaching and as the Director of Coaching for the Spokane Valley Youth Soccer Association.