Niki is a founding member of PPA, Nick leads building the Academy curriculum and developing the coaching staff to ensure the highest quality leadership & mentorship across all programs. Nick holds significant coaching and playing background having done both for the DC United U-23 Team amongst other high-level programs in the DMV.
I sat down with Niki to talk to him about his playing and coaching experience, his role in PPA, and about PPA’s upcoming tryouts.
Coach Niki pictured above
Can you briefly give a little background about you?
I grew up playing in Northern VA for RFC and the D.C. United Academy system when it first started. I played H.S. Soccer for Robinson and was 1st team all met. I played for American University and was 1st team all conference in 2009-10, Captain of D.C. United U20’s and went to back to back semis.
I went on to coach for Dematha High School as well as Bethesda and ASA (Alexandria, VA). Involved in coaching the D.C United U-23’s over the Summer. I've been full time with PPA since its blown up in 2015.
Why did you and co-founders Mike Worden and Jamie Davin decide to start PPA?
We were in love with the sport of soccer and passionate about working with kids. We had been working with local clubs and tots programs and felt like we could provide better product with our connections in the soccer and coaching world.
As a founder how did you envision PPA and how does it compare to what PPA is now?
I never thought PPA would become what it is today. I envisioned PPA as being a small company that served players in other clubs through private training, clinics, and afterschool programs. Now we have become a club that can compete with clubs that I previously thought we would be servicing through private training.
What is your favorite part about working for PPA?
My favorite part of working for PPA is the “ppalife” style. I love getting to interact with other coaches who are passionate about the sport of soccer and share the same interests as myself. The camaraderie amongst the staff is unbelievable and they are people who I would love to spend time with outside of the work setting.
Being a former player I don’t think you ever fully get rid of the competitive itch so it is great to still feel like you are a part of a team and you are competing to accomplish your team goals.
What are some qualities about PPA that are unique compared to other clubs in the area?
The environment and atmosphere attracts players to like the sport of soccer. Player are only going to become motivated and driven if they are passionate about the sport of soccer.
PPA has upcoming tryouts can you tell us a little bit about what PPA coaches look for at these tryouts?
We are obviously looking for individual skill and talent but most important to us is that the player has the “PPA” mindset. PPA mindset includes being coachable, high work ethic, team player, and being respectful.
What advice would you give players trying out?
The most common mistake I see tryout players making is “pressing” or trying to do to much. I always explain to our tryout players that you don’t need to score any goals or do any fancy moves to make a premier team. If you make a mistake, don’t worry and keep playing. If you don’t make a premier team it is not the end of the world. We are not telling you that you will never make it….we are telling you that you are not ready for the program at this exact moment. Even Michael Jordan was told he wasn’t good enough for his varsity h.s. Team once upon a time.
Check out our full tryout schedule at ppateam/tryouts.