Amir Couillard HPFC Heat ‘00
Player: Amir Couillard
Team: HPFC Heat '00
Position: Center-Attacking Midfielder (#10)
Amir Couillard is the type of person and player from whom young players in our community should learn.
From the beginning, his path has been his path - he’s owned it every step of the way. From WSSC to HPFC to Coerver, coaching, and refereeing - Amir has utilized the resources within the association and community to help him accomplish his soccer goals - including to the point of giving back. He’s become a key contributor on the B00 team, and he is a PSPL Surf Academy Player. More than his accomplishments, Amir should be proud of, and players should take notice of, how Amir has navigated and responded to the situations that he’s experienced along his path...
The choices he’s made for himself, to stay disciplined and diligent in developing his game, has made Amir a better player. He started in WSSC and made the jump to HPFC in 7th grade. He started on the Red team, and played there for three years (before the birth year switch, at which point Amir made the B00 Blue team). During those three years on the Red, he committed himself to the habit of developing his game. He started playing everyday on his own, sometimes knocking things over in the house with a ball at his feet, spending hours on his own playing against a rebounder in his backyard, or playing soccer tennis with his sister, Aaliyah. He would join or start pickup games or go down to the field by himself whenever possible. He seeked personal training in the areas he wanted to improve on, including shooting, speed and agility training, and Coerver technical work outside of HPFC. He continues to supplement his training with activities he’s interested in and that he thinks will make him better, including TOCA training. It’s not that any one of those things in particular has made the difference. It’s that he’s been committed to developing his game, and using whatever tools he’s interested in to become better in the ways he wishes to become better. It is the whole picture, the diligence and pursuit of growth, along with great patience and grit, that has made the difference.
It’s essential to note that fundamentally Amir’s passion for the game has always backed his commitment - which only got stronger as he persevered through personal adversity. During those first three years with HPFC, Amir was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), causing joint inflammation throughout his body, especially in and around his knees. This severely limited his movement, and he often had to play through pain and the frustrations of limited mobility (his body not being able to keep pace with what his mind wanted to do). Add to that the limited playing time he started to get because he couldn’t get around, despite the fact that his attendance at practice remained high, and most players in Amir’s situation would have left the game or made complaints or excuses. Amir made a different choice, keeping his passion and long-term mindset as the forefront of his decision-making. He underwent medicinal treatment, and endured painful deep massage therapy, all while going through natural growing pains. His passion to get better deepened, and he started getting personal running form training to work through the limitations of JIA. Realizing he could get more from working on his own, he decided to forego high school soccer his sophomore year, respectfully declining a spot on the team. He played as much as he could, and enrolled full-time at Friday Coerver. Whenever he could play, he did. And his love for the game deepened with every step, every touch of the ball, every experience.
As Amir has grown, so have the clarity of his goals - always backed by humility and earnestness in working for their success. With the advent of the PSPL Surf Academy several years ago, Amir made the goal to be on the team by U16. He went to tryouts for two years, and made the team his third year as a forward. Though he loves playing in the midfield, he knew there was great competition in that role in the academy, and wisely put his greatest skills and resources to use in a position he knew could take him further in the given environment. Some players would complain that they couldn’t play a certain position. Amir chose to maximize his abilities in a new position for his own growth. The academy has opened up new possibilities for Amir, and it’s only because he’s made the most of it; Last summer he accomplished another goal of his, playing in Surf Cup San Diego, with the Academy team.
On his HPFC team, this season Amir started in the forward position, but his desire to play in the center midfield role remained. Backed by the improvements in his skills, and his widening ability and fitness level (JIA has essentially gone completely away), he decided to ask for a change. Instead of refusing to play forward, he gave it an earnest shot, and then, and only then, did he communicate directly with his coach. He sent a message not of demand to play center mid, or refusal to play forward, criticism of his coach’s decisions, or threat of leaving the team if he didn’t get his way; He wrote a thoughtful message from his heart (followed by a face-to-face meeting), crafted in I-messages explaining where his thoughts were at for his own development, what his goals were, why he thought his path of development was best suited to the center mid role, and why he thought he could better help the team within the role. He left the choice up to the coach, and said that he only wished to express his thoughts on the matter. Soon after, he started to