Coach in Focus: Dani Martinez

Getting to know Coach Martinez

Coach Dani Martinez hails from Spain, but he has been in the United States since 2001 when he arrived in Wilmette at the age of 20 to be an au pair and student for three years. Once here, he earned his BA in Sports Management and an MA in Education with an administrative certificate. Currently, he is working on an MA in Physical Education.

Coach Dani started playing soccer at the early age of five. One day, his uncle asked him if we would like to play either soccer or basketball at school. Since he had just been playing soccer in the street with other neighborhood kids, he told his uncle he would play soccer. The rest is history as he has never stopped being involved with the game since that moment. This is a great example of why Coach Dani embraces Fun4All, a core value for Team Evanston. Coach Dani lives soccer, like most soccer coaches. He loves to play, watch, and coach the game. All these elements bring joy to his life.

In 2012, Coach Dani joined the club’s coaching staff. His main goal as a coach is to help kids love soccer the way that he does. Given his years of playing and being coached, he has had many playing experiences in different countries with different kids and different coaches, so he knows how much things can vary. But, from all those experiences, he knows how good it can be when a player has a good coach. From the coaching side, Dani knows that when a player is coachable and wants to learn, good things can happen. That interaction is the most rewarding part for him. Of course, he likes his teams to compete, to play well, and to win, but at the core is the learning that happens during training and games as a team.

To instill the club values, Coach Dani lives and coaches by example. His positive and friendly attitude is always on display for his team. He feels that his players learn better by seeing the values happening instead of just being told about them. To him, the most important club value is Respect4Others. It is his go-to values when coaching. At the core, Coach Dani believes that if you have respect, for yourself, for others, for things, and for actions, you cannot help but pull in all the other values into your choices. For Coach Dani, it all starts there.

Coach Dani coaches Team Evanston's U10 Girls Blue (2010). He also coaches the Chicago Fire Juniors U16 Girls Premier and the U17 Girls Premier. He is the Director of the club's Camps and Clinics.