New Associate Head Coach talks academics of Soccer

Associate Head Coach of the UMKC Men’s Soccer team, Istvan Urbanyi, sat down with U-News to talk about his philosophy on how academics tie into the dynamics of the game.

The team had a phenomenal start to the season, losing for the first time this past Friday. According to Urbanyi, it is all about having smart players.

“You have 11 players trying to find out the best way to outplay one another,” said Urbanyi. “I need players who are smart.”

Urbanyi earned his bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and Sports Science at Semmelweis State University in Budapest, Hungary.

team with a piece of good and bad news.

“Everything is mental in this game,” said Urbanyi. To him, this meant being in the classroom is just like being on the field, because being smart allows you to know what is going on and what to do.

Urbanyi briefly experimented in the field of communications. His natural charm, along with the skills he learned as a host, commentator, reporter and match analyzer for Hungarian National Television provided him with a good overall scope of the game.

But Urbanyi found he still belongs in the action.

“I missed the smell of the grass,” said Urbanyi as he reminisced about being away from the field for a short time. Not long after, Urbanyi started his coaching career with eight years as a youth coach before going professional.

“Soccer is not just a game, it’s life,” said Urbanyi, who has nearly 40 years of combined player and coaching experience. He considers himself a “Big Picture” kind of coach.

“We focus on details, but I don’t want to tell you all the details,” said Urbanyi. “Play, and I’ll create the rules for you.”

Urbanyi allows his players to have their own experience of the game, using his own experience as a teaching and guiding measure.

Despite having decades of experience, he is not afraid to admit that he doesn’t know everything. He thinks it is important to ask the players what they think.

“I remember what it’s like to be a player,” said Urbanyi. “Every day is a struggle.”

He also wanted the team to use knowledge to understand not just the “what”, but the “how” on the field.

“[How] is what makes the difference,” said Urbanyi. “Just like life, the how will make you a different person.”

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