Say hello to Coach Bilal D! Coach Bilal is a professional soccer player in the MLS currently playing for New England Revolution. He had his own private soccer coach as a kid and gained a ton of experience that he wants to share with developing athletes.
Tell us about your soccer career.
I played soccer professionally with the Harrisburg City Islanders of USL PRO in 2012. I played defense and made 19 appearances. The team advanced to the USL PRO playoffs. Before I signed with Harrisburg, I played for a season with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The Whitecaps drafted me in the third round (37th overall pick) of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. I made four appearances, including two starts, as a rookie with Vancouver. I played my college soccer at Notre Dame. I started 40 of 42 matches in my junior and senior years.
Why did you decide to become a private coach?
I loved playing soccer when I was growing up, and private coaching is a great way to get better. I had a private coach when I was a kid. It gave me more of a 1 on 1 experience instead of just one coach at practice that has to focus on an entire team. My private coach took time to work with me at an individual level depending on my needs, and that’s something I wanted to do.
What do you enjoy most about coaching?
It’s fun to see players improve and grow. Helping somebody else improve is so rewarding.
What can a client expect from private lessons with you?
An athlete can expect my full attention. I might notice things you haven’t before. I can draw from my experience of being in your shoes and playing soccer under many different coaches.
What is your coaching style or philosophy?
Private sessions are a great way to teach the fundamentals. The fundamentals are the foundation upon which you build your career. If you don’t focus on the fundamentals you might miss something. One week link can break the chain so fundamentals are extremely important.
Who is your favorite coach and why?
Brian Cohen was the most influential coach to me growing up. I was about ready to quit, but he made me fall in love with soccer.
What is your favorite moment in your athletic career?
Getting drafted and signing my first contract. I realized my first childhood dream.
Do you have any success stories from coaching an athlete?
I ran summer camps that wound up winning the state championship. I also coached a U12 boys team that went from not being able to win a game to winning the last tournament of the summer.
Did you participate in your sport in high school and college (if so, where)?
Yes, I was a captain of the McIntosh High School boys soccer team in Peachtree City, Georgia. I was a fullback at Notre Dame University.
What other sports or activities do you enjoy playing or practicing?
I like basketball and golf every now and then.
What is your favorite sports related movie?
Remember the Titans
What team do you root for most enthusiastically? (any sport)
Obviously the Revs, but also Arsenal and the Falcons.
Do you have any special talents or a surprising thing someone might not know about you?
I’m teaching myself to play the guitar.