Team Evanston U9-U12 Director of Coaching, Almir Hot, is a familiar face on our soccer fields.
Coach Almir moved to the United States from Serbia in 2003 when he received a soccer scholarship to Lindenwood University in St. Louis after already having played in Serbia and Germany. After winning the National Championship with Lindenwood, he moved to Chicagoland to finish his degree at St. Xavier University. In Chicago, he played for the Chicago Storm.
For Coach Almir, soccer is connected to much of his life. Not only is he involved in soccer as a youth coach and program director, but he also sees the many benefits of how soccer connects to other situations in life. Much of what he has learned through soccer still resonates with him. What he has learned through the game has shaped him into who he is today.
Although he did not intend to become a soccer coach after finishing his playing career, he was inspired by Arsène Wenger, then the Arsenal FC manager. Coach Almir became an Arsenal supporter when Wenger was appointed the Arsenal manager during the 1990s. The way that Wenger could influence his players caught Coach Almir’s attention. As Wenger once said, “Young players need freedom of expression to develop as creative players….they should be encouraged to try skills without fear of failure.” For Coach Almir, it was inspirational.
Joining the Team Evanston
After beginning his coaching career in Chicagoland, Almir joined Team Evanston in 2016 as a staff coach. In 2017, he became the interim Director of Coaching for the Eleven United (now Chicago Fire Juniors North Shore) high school boys’ program. In 2018, he then became Director of Team Evanston U9-U12 in 2018. In 2019, Coach Almir was honored by the Positive Coaching Alliance with the Double Goal Coach Award along with his coaching colleague Dule Radovanovic. This award recognized positive, character-building coaches.
As a representative of Team Evanston and CFJ North Shore, all the club values are important, but Almir’s favorite is Respect4Others. He tries to demonstrate this value in his interactions with his own players, opposing players and coaches, and all of those he interacts with throughout each day. Almir believes that if players respect each other, then they can enjoy successes as a team. Respecting each other will also lead to having fun together (fun4all) as well as the ability to work together as a team to overcome or understand the challenges presented by the game (teamwork4success). Coach Almir knows how these lessons from the game are valuable throughout our lives and for the development of young people.
How does he instill the club’s values? He models the values by demonstrating the importance of the values in each of his interactions. He expects the same from those that he coaches and reinforces these positive behaviors during the season.
Goals and Rewards
Through coaching, Coach Almir find opportunities to teach players lessons that can extend to life beyond the field. For Coach Almir, this is of the utmost importance. Coach Almir always strives to share with his teams his passion for the game and teach the same lessons that impacted him. Recently, Almir ran into a former player who shared that he loves the game of soccer because of his time playing under Coach Almir. For that player, soccer now has become a family tradition. Coach Almir wants to see all his players thrive through playing, learning, and enjoying the game of soccer.
Coach Almir coaches Team Evanston's U10 Girls Orange (2010), U11 Boys Orange (2009). He also coaches the Chicago Fire Juniors U15 Girls Premier and the U15 Boys Premier. He is the Director of Coaching for U9-U12.