In an exclusive interview with Soccer Nation’s Cesar Hernandez, the senior director of coaching for Surf Soccer Club opened up about his goals for the club, his thoughts on San Diego soccer, and perhaps even a bit about his favorite place to chow down on some tacos.
SN: What inspired you to start playing soccer?
Henderson: I was in Wichita, Kansas, so I’ve been told. I was five years old and my mom took me to a soccer park. There was a guy that played on the Wichita Wings, which was a professional indoor team at the time, and his little five-year-old was playing soccer. Every day at the park, my mom and dad would take me over. The guy would play soccer with me and his son and I guess, I don’t remember that, but that’s what I’ve been told that I fell in love with the game.
Ever since I could remember, I’ve loved the game.
SN: How did you transition from player to coach?
Henderson: Real simple, my body couldn’t handle playing anymore at a level I wanted to play at. My love for the game, it forced me to stay involved, and the next logical step when you don’t play anymore is to become a coach.
I started the process about 10 years ago, and learning how to become a coach. Playing soccer at a decent level doesn’t guarantee you being a good coach. It helps you, but you still have to relearn. It’s almost like a new trade and I’m relearning that, and I did that over the years.
SN: As senior director of coaching for the Surf, what goals do you have for the club?
Henderson: I think that’s probably the easiest question and I think everyone would answer the same way that has lofty expectations. We want to be the best on the boys and the girls. We want to be known as the best club in America. What that means is we want to put the most kids in professional and national teams. We want to have the most success as teams on the field, winning ECNL [Elite Clubs National League] and academy games and national championships and State Cups and Surf Cups.
That’s ultimately how everyone is judged, the success. Whether it’s winning or placing kids to the highest level of their potential: College, pro, high school. That’s really our goal.
SN: Looking at soccer in San Diego in general, on the amateur or the youth level, what are your thoughts on the current state of soccer in San Diego?
Henderson: It’s kind of like a best kept secret. It is kind of tucked underneath L.A. and is just above Mexico, but there’s a talent pool in San Diego that is every bit as fertile as almost any city in America. I think the difficulty is gathering all of that talent in one location, i.e. Surf, or any other club — I wouldn’t just say Surf — or an Albion, or a Carlsbad.
That’s what we are all trying to do and it’s difficult.
SN: Where are the best tacos you’ve had in San Diego?
Henderson: I’m a fish taco guy, so I’m going to say the Brigantine in Del Mar. I love their fish tacos, taco Tuesday.