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Maks Yohannes Let's Play! Coaching Spotlight


1. What are you most passionate about?

    I’m most passionate about helping kids feel empowered, confident, and equalizing access to opportunities. 


2. Why did you join Let’s Play!?

    After-school programs and the volunteers that helped make them happen played such an important role in the community and my youth growing up, I wanted to give back in a similar way and hopefully make a positive impact.  


3. What have you enjoyed in your experience working with Let’s Play!?

    I have really enjoyed all the energy and enthusiasm that the children at Sargent Shriver bring onto the field every session. It’s also been very rewarding to be part of an organization that empowers its coaches to emphasize personal life skill development while (and through) teaching soccer skills.


4. What background, education, training, or experiences prepared you for what you are doing now?

    Honestly, I think being a big sister was the best preparation I could have received. My younger brothers were always full of energy and really into sports, I got to see first-hand how channeling their enthusiasm into organized sports provided a healthy outlet and had a net positive impact in other aspects- like school.


5. What’s your vision for the community you serve and how can others contribute/support?

    My vision is to expand the Let’s Play! Program and engage communities to become active supporters of the schools, children, and mission. I believe having an expanded support system would drive the long-term success of the children.


6. Who were you inspired by as a young player?

    I was most inspired by my father and Mia Hamm. My father played soccer as a teen in Eritrea, growing up he was always willing to play outside and teach me. Mia Hamm was my hero as a young girl, watching her play made me feel limitless and empowered.  


7. What is the best piece of coaching advice you ever received?

    The best piece of coaching advice I’ve received was to be great listener, make each child feel heard and acknowledged. And of course, keep it positive and fun.


8. What advice would you give a young player?

    Believe in yourself and give it time!