With years of impressive experience as a youth and professional player, it’s no surprise that Albion SC has thrived under the leadership of Noah Gins. The determined director of coaching has already found plenty of success in recent years for Albion, but is eager for continued growth and prosperity in the future.
In an exclusive interview with Soccer Nation’s Cesar Hernandez, Gins discussed his career as a player, his thoughts on youth soccer in San Diego, and his goals for Albion SC.
SN: How did you first get into playing soccer?
Gins: Like most kids, parents sign you up at a young age. I think I started at five years old and really never looked back from there.
SN: For those of us who are unaware, tell us a bit about your playing career.
Gins: I grew up playing club soccer. I was a part of the U.S. national team at 16 and ODP [Olympic Development Program] regional and national teams from 14 onward, but part of the national team at 16. I traveled abroad with them. I got scholarship [offers] from several universities and went to UNLV [University of Nevada Las Vegas].
Played at UNLV and from there I went and played seven years professionally in the A-League…I played in Nashville, I played in Chicago, I played in New Mexico, in L.A. and then I ended up in San Diego with the San Diego Flash and played for them for four years. The team folded, I had an ongoing knee injury, and I made a decision to hang the boots and look forward to coaching.
SN: When did you decide to make that transition from player to coach?
Gins: 2002. I had played seven years, I had played in many, many cities. I was fairly comfortable in San Diego and didn’t see myself playing many years beyond with my knee injury.
SN: What are your thoughts on the current state of youth soccer in San Diego?
Gins: I think the state is good, there’s a lot of soccer. I think for the most part everybody is striving to do things better. I think that the competition is not always there for the top teams, but for everybody else there is a great environment for those teams.
The upper echelon teams have to advance out of San Diego and move more in the L.A. area or beyond.
SN: As director of coaching, what goals do you have for Albion?
Gins: The club has been on a track to be one of the top clubs in the nation. We don’t sit here and want to be a top club in San Diego, we’ve always wanted to position ourselves to be one of the top in the country.
We played in the last 12 national championships, we place kids into the national teams. Every year we put 2.5-3.5 million dollars into scholarship offers on the table for players. Those are some of the big ticket items, but I think for us we want to be a team that is nationally recognized. We want to be a model club for programs around the country. We’ve established that, we have clubs under our umbrella in Orange County, South Florida and around the country.
We want to continue that. We want to be recognized and known and established as the top club in America.