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Academy Q&A: Get to know Sporting KC U-14 head coach Declan Jogi

By Anna Salloi, 07/30/19, 9:30AM CDT


Throughout the summer, is publishing a series of Q&A interviews with each member of the Academy's technical staff. In the sixth installment, we catch up with Sporting KC U-14 head coach Declan Jogi.

Where are you from and what native food do you miss from there?

I was born in Zimbabwe. I grew up eating spicy Indian foods because my grandfather is from India, so I love chicken makhani. It’s a traditional Indian dish. My mom also makes a mean curry – lamb, goat, chicken, beef, you name it! I also love our traditional Zimbabwe food called Sadza. You eat it with braised meat, muriwo (greens) and chibage (corn).  My favorite food here to eat is Joe’s Kansas City Barbecue. My kids like to pick Joe’s when they decide where we go, but even Joes does not compare to my favorite restaurant Mrs. J’s Kitchen.

What attracted you to soccer?

Where I came from, they all played in the streets. I was always around soccer.

What is your favorite place in Kansas City?

We love the River Market. My kids love to travel on the Streetcar. We call it “Streetcar Adventures” when we go all around all up and down the main streets. My kids also love Scheels in Overland Park because it’s a lot of fun for them, especially in winter. They love being outdoors and playing with our next-door neighbors. I take them to Sporting KC games and they love it. They already have their favorite players. My 8-year-old is a Johnny Russel fan and my 6-year-old was a Daniel Salloi fan from day one. My 3-year-old is too young to pick one now but enjoys everything. They are also on a Gianluca Busio wagon now.

What was your favorite soccer club growing up?

As a kid I grew up watching Tottenham, and I still follow them.

What makes the Sporting KC Academy special?

First, there is a real pathway from the Academy into the first team. Second, we have very good leadership. That is a key aspect: to make sure that we have clear vision mission and a plan of how we are going to execute it. Third is the resources that our ownership is willing to invest. I think these three points are critical. We have to be connected and we have to share the vision. It’s a full circle.

What’s the best part about being a coach?

I think it’s mentoring. One is on the soccer side, and being able to help nurture and give players from a young age a good foundation towards fulfilling their dreams on the field. I never got that as a kid. I never (received) that level of coaching, and I feel like it could have helped my performance later as a player. So that has always been my motivation—to be able to give kids a good foundation towards achieving to their goals. In general, it’s mentoring young men. It’s not just about helping them with soccer, but helping them grow to be a great man and succeed in their communities.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?

I love sweet treats. In my home we call it “special-special.” So, I enjoy a good wine, beer and desserts in general. I also love fried foods.

What is your favorite city or country to visit?

I really enjoyed visiting Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. That’ probably my favorite city that I have visited. I’d like to visit Italy. In the United States, I’m interested in visiting New York because I have never been.

What is your favorite movie or TV show?

My favorite movie is The Godfather. As for shows, me and my wife enjoy British shows. I’m a fan of the lighter shows and the sci-fi shows.

What is your favorite music?

I’m a huge Boyz II Men fan. In the shower I love listening gospel music.

What other passions do you have?

I’m Christian, so I go to church downtown with my family. We go every Sunday. I try to go with them as much I can, because with our schedule it’s not always easy on Sunday. I love being with my family and spending time with them. Coaching kids also gives me energy. Family is my passion, coaching is my vocation. Without my faith, I couldn’t complete my journey. Faith has guided me all my life.