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Yoann Damet On His MLS Experience And Working With Jaap Stam

Yoann Damet On His MLS Experience And Working With Jaap Stam

An interview with LA Galaxy II head coach Yoann Damet, by Callum McFadden for WFi.

Your most recent experience in Major League Soccer was working at FC Cincinnati as a first-team coach and an assistant coach. What do those roles involve on a daily basis?

“I worked under three different head coaches all with different personalities, methodologies and football convictions.

“Before speaking about my role it seems fair to say that being an assistant coach is first and foremost about building a trustworthy relationship with the head coach. Understanding their standards, expectations and coaching philosophy to be the best support you can be for them and the team in order to be successful.

“In this role, my responsibilities varied during my time in Cincinnati.

“I was involved with different things from game plan creation to the training periodization, working in collaboration with the performance department, overlooking the methodology, and running the training sessions, or some training segment, but also preparing and presenting video analysis of our performances or on the opposition.

“On a daily basis, it’s all about analyzing, preparing, executing and reflecting to refine. You have your past game as an assessment of the team, the next game as a goal, and the training processes to implement.

“During my two experiences as a first-team coach, I would say more responsibilities were added and the management was a big part of it, along with the fact that I was the one making the decisions on the direction to follow and the strategies to use.”

How would you describe your philosophy and style as a coach?

“My coaching philosophy is a combination of why and how, with three big pillars that are the management, the playing style, and the methodology underpinning my work.

“Before working with footballers we work with human beings. Whether they are staff members or players, they all have common needs and a potential to fulfil.

“That’s the reason why the environment needs to offer some autonomy, a sense of competency and a feeling of belonging to the project we are building.

“Then the playing style is a big part, it’s who we want to be as a group, what values do we want to embody —  which is for me as important as what we want to do from a tactical standpoint.

“I like football played with passion, initiative and intensity. To transmit emotions and try to have control of the ball.

“For that, I believe that the positional play of the team has to create problems to solve for the opposition. By having the ball we can attack, hurt the opponent and create opportunities. But also without the ball, we can defend and organize the counter-pressing.

“Defensively, initiative and intensity are as important to master the spaces and stress the opposition by applying constant pressure, whether it’s very high or low as the game is dynamic.

“To finish, the methodology is how we are going to become who we want to be, and with the globalization of football, it is key to understand the singularity of each individual within the group.

“Players are all different, they learn in different ways, they are sensitive to different things. This is why it’s important, through the method, to create the optimal learning environment that will facilitate the creation of a common language and brings players together around common goals.”

There are many top teams in MLS. Which sides have impressed you most during your time working within the league?

“It’s hard to pick one team, I would say that I have enjoyed seeing the growth of the league and how coaches have implemented their ideas.

“Some teams have been really interesting collectively with some great ideas, and some others rely more on the qualities of their players individually.

“It’s been really interesting to see more and more teams with a clear identity evolving through the years and that’s why in my eyes MLS is an exciting league.”

During your time in MLS, you worked with football legend Jaap Stam. What was he like to work with?

Jaap Stam - FC Cincinnati - 29-07-2020

“Working with Jaap Stam was a great experience that I am really grateful for. He is someone very passionate about football and the way he wants to play.

“Collaborating with him and Said Bakkati, his assistant, helped me to better understand who he was as a person and as a coach and also better grasp his high level of expectations.

“It was really interesting for me to witness daily the level of detail he was able to provide in his analysis of the game and feedbacks to the group but also the way he was trying to reach the players individually.

“His advice and guidance during our collaboration helped me grow a lot as a coach but also as a person.”

You have coached in France, Canada and the US. Are you open to moving to a new country again in the future of your career?

“I have been fortunate to travel a little since I started my coaching journey and I have enjoyed every single part of it.

“Discovering new countries and cultures through my love for football and my passion for coaching has been very enriching for me. That’s the reason why I am open to continuing travelling to pursue my coaching journey.”