Senda Athletics had the chance to interview Antoine about his connection to one of our non-profit partners, Street Soccer USA. Also check out the news story that CBS 5 San Francisco did about Street Soccer USA in the video below.
Name: Antoine Lagarde
Coach: Street Soccer USA, Bay Area, San Francisco
Occupation: SF Conservation Corps Teacher
Playing Position: Midfield
Soccer Heroes: Eric Cantona & Socrates
Motto: “Success is going from failure to failure with enthusiasm. My job as a coach is to motivate my players to always to always go hard.
So you coach a team of homeless and disadvantaged youth in San Francisco, what makes you the happiest when coaching a team like that?
Antoine: I am happy when my more advanced players patiently teach our beginners how to play. I am happiest when the positive attitude on our team inspires our players to go to college, find work, stop using drugs/alcohol, and get back on their feet!
What has been your best moment as a coach?
Antoine: My favorite moment was coaching the USA National team at the Homeless World Cup in Paris. We struggled at first, but became a family and finished the tourney at the best ranking the USA has ever had. It was a total team effort with everyone scoring at least 3 goals and leaving everything on the field. Out of our 7 players, 5 are currently coaching and using football to create positive transformations in the lives of their peers.
What was your most difficult moment on the soccer field as a player?
Antoine: My worst moment on the field wasn’t so much embarrassing as heartbreaking. I missed a couple of penalties against Kyrgyzstan when I represented the USA at the Milan Homeless World Cup which put our hopes of advancing to the next round in jeopardy.
What was your most triumphant moment on the soccer field as a player?
Antoine: Fortunately, I atoned for my mistakes by playing excellent defense against France in the next game and helping us upset them and qualify for the next round where I scored a couple of penalties in the quarterfinals. I was proud to be mentally tough by clearing my head and helping the team win.
What does supporting Fair Trade mean to you?
Antoine: It’s very important to me because as a teacher, I teach my students about globalization by showing them a soccer ball and asking them to describe it. We then explore who made the soccer ball, the possibility that it was a young child in Pakistan in poor working conditions, and talk about supporting efforts to pay workers a living wage through Fair Trade.