“Soccer is just an avenue to help shape these kids,” said Bobby Samra, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2013 Community MVP, when asked about what he learned from coaching. “Soccer was just an excuse to get together but really, it was about teaching life lessons.”
Bobby Samra has experience with kids for over 25 years, working interchangeably as an educator and a soccer coach. He is currently a vice principal and has coached soccer at every school he’s been at. He grew up “with a love for the game” and when the opportunity arose for him to coach, he couldn’t turn it down. His first gig was coaching 7-8 year-olds that often had problems at home and at school. He ended up coaching the same group for nine years and refers to them as his little brothers.
“I always credit those kids as a big reason why I wanted to be a teacher. Because when I started coaching, I was going to be an accountant. That was my thing. As I was going through university, I thought jobs were all about money. And then I started working with these kids and just absolutely loved it. Everyone kept telling me I should be a teacher but I had this weird thing where I thought you shouldn’t be paid to work with kids; you should do it just for the sake of doing it! But as I was working more with these kids I just thought, ‘Wow! This is fun’, and one day a light bulb comes on and I realized there’s nothing wrong with getting paid for something you enjoy.”
Since his decision to be an educator, Bobby has influenced countless lives through his teachings. Whether at school or on the pitch, he believes that teachers are most impactful when they create relationships. Whenever players join his team, from the first meeting he ensures they understand that there’s a commitment to be a team player and to have the right attitude. He encourages teammates to defend each other, step up, and has fully created a culture of “team”. He is currently underway in developing a program for youth struggling with mental health issues in collaboration with Central City Soccer Club and the Surrey School District.
The beauty about soccer is that “it’s something anybody can do and do well. All you need is a ball,” said Bobby. “Many of the kids didn’t have skill, they just wanted to play and have a place to come to. Our job as coaches is to make them better players.”
Whitecaps FC are proud to have Bobby Samra represent us in the Community MVP contest. To vote for Bobby, please visit: http://www.mlssoccer.com/mlsworks/community-mvp/vote. Remember, you can vote as many times as you would like. Please show your support for Bobby on his journey to become the MLS WORKS Community MVP.