Army names Yongsan Soldier 'Coach of the Year'
Sgt. Angel L. Rivera, a human resource specialist for U.S Army Garrison Yongsan, left, led the U.S. Armed Forces men's volleyball team during the World Peace Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2011. (Courtesy Photo)

YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- Sgt. Angel L. Rivera, a human resource specialist for U.S Army Garrison Yongsan, was named 2012 Army Coach of the Year after successfully leading his men's volleyball team to a perfect record.

Rivera's successful leadership was recognized by U.S. Army Installation Management Command headquarters on Joint Base San Antonio Fort Sam Houston, Texas, Feb. 15.

Rivera led the All-Army men's volleyball team and achieved a 12-0 record during the 2011 and 2012 Armed Forces Championships. As a U.S. Armed Forces head coach, his leadership shined again during the 2012 Conseil International du Sport Militaire Volleyball Championships in Amsterdam, Netherlands in May.

To get to know the coach better and learn more about his road to success, the Yongsan Garrison Public Affairs team interviewed Rivera.

Question: How do you feel about being named Coach of the Year?

Answer: "I feel really excited and surprised at the same time. This is something that I wasn't expecting, because when I coach, I do it because I love Volleyball, not because I am looking for awards. But I am always looking forward to wining my games, and I think that helped me win the title."

Question: How did you start coaching the volleyball team?

Answer: "In 2011, I submitted the application for the assistant coach opening, and I was selected to go to a trial camp for my background experience in Volleyball. During the camp, I became the head coach of the team. We finished the competition undefeated, 6-0, during the first season as a coach of the All Army team, and I was able to repeat the streak the year after too."

Question: What is your coaching style?

Answer: "I see my coaching style as a sharing one. I like to listen to my players because, sometimes, one coach cannot see what 12 players are doing simultaneously. I like to have feedback from the players and from there I take what is the best decision for the team."

Question: What do you value as a leader of team?

Answer: "I value being able to share my knowledge and time with these amazing athletes of our team. Also coaching volleyball for players ages 12 to 18 is amazing, because I not only teach them volleyball, but I also teach discipline and how to be a team player. These lessons are ones they will use both in the volleyball court and outside the court in their regular life, and I am proud to be a part of the process."

Question: What is your secret method that leads to the perfect 12-0 record?

Answer: "I don't think there is any secret, really. It is simply about earning the respect of your players and listening to them. Be open to hear what players say, because every single player came from a different background and different coaching style, and when you listen to them closely, you can learn many things."

Question: When was the most impressive moment of your coaching career?

Answer: "It was when I had the opportunity to coach the U.S.A. Armed Forces team during the World Peace Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. That was an experience that I will never forget. We had the opening match against Brazil in the Maracanazino stadium in front of thousands of spectators, and it was a breathtaking experience to represent my country."

Question: How do you manage your schedule, between working full time work and coaching?

Answer: "I admit it is really hard, but not impossible, especially if you have a supportive family, supervisor and chain of command. But no matter what, you always need to create the balance and don't let what you do affect your performance at work and your family."

Question: For soldiers who may be interested in joining your team, what should they do?

Answer: "Soldiers who are interested in joining the Volleyball team and other Army sports can go to;
Online All Army Applications at: https://apps.imcom.army.mil/apptracmain. You can also follow Army Athletes at: http://twitter.com/ArmyAthlete and www.facebook.com/TheAllArmySports.

Question: Anything else you want to add?

Answer: "I just want to thank my wife Crystal Rivera for her support, my chain of command from HHC USAG Yongsan and the Directorate of Human Resources personnel. Thanks to all for the support!"

Page last updated Mon March 11th, 2013 at 00:00