Josh Coan is an American professional soccer player currently playing for FC Tucson of USL League One. A crafty forward with an endless amount of passion for the game, Coan grew up in Indianapolis and went on to attend the University of Pittsburgh. After two seasons with Pitt, Coan transferred to Marquette and became a star, leading the team in points, goals, shots, and shots on target in his senior season. Following college, Coan signed a contract with FC Tucson where he will now play his first professional season!
1. Growing up in Indianapolis, how did you fall in love with the game?
I’ve loved sports for as long as I can remember. Initially, I was a huge golf and basketball fan (still am), but some friends convinced me to try out for the local soccer team when I was around 8. From then on fell in love with the game, began watching it on TV, and the rest is history.
2. After high school and academy, you went on to play at the University of Pittsburgh. What made you choose Pitt over other schools?
I visited lots of different schools and spoke with all of their respective coaches during my recruiting process. When I went to Pitt, I felt a real sense of professionalism and an ambition to improve and grow the program, more so than some of the other schools I was looking at. Playing in a top college conference in the ACC and having some of the top coaches in the country, I felt it was a really good opportunity for me to learn and develop as a player as well.
3. How was your transition to college both on and off the field?
It was definitely a learning period. I was lucky enough to get a lot of minutes in a conference full of some of the best players in the country as a freshman, so I had to grow up quickly and adapt. In the academy where I was coming from our team had great success and was a top team nationally, so going to a place where we were rebuilding and facing some of the strongest programs out there, it was definitely a new experience. As for the academics, I came in the summer immediately after the academy playoffs finished, which allowed me to take some classes early and give me a jump start helping my transition for the first full semester easier.
4. What’s the toughest part about managing both high academics as shown in two ACC Academic Honor Rolls and a high level of play as shown by making 25 starts in two seasons during college?
I think learning to stay organized and manage time well is a super crucial aspect of not only being a college athlete, but a successful person in general. Staying on top of schoolwork and social activities in my case really helped me to turn up to training and games fully focused and not worried about anything else off the field. When you aren’t worried about the test you have after practice you didn’t study for, or the homework you have to rush to finish, you can really just focus on improving on your craft on the field and that helps you be successful.
5. After two seasons at Pitt, you transferred to Marquette University. Describe your reasoning behind the transfer.
Firstly, I am super grateful and learned a lot about myself and the game during my time at Pitt. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out at the time for a couple reasons but overall, I definitely don’t regret it. Things just didn’t go as expected after some time, so it was best to part ways and move on to Marquette.
6. What’s the biggest misconception about college soccer?
I think there are several big misconceptions about college soccer. The main one I hear a lot is that it is bad for development and a dead end in terms of leading to the professional game. Although I do agree, it is certainly not the same as an 18-year-old signing pro like in Europe or as a homegrown and being in that environment every day, there is definitely a place for it in terms of development. At 18, I was not at all ready to sign a pro deal but by 21 and 4 years of experience in the college game in two great conferences, I was a completely different and more mature player who was. Everyone’s path is different, and college can definitely be one for American players.
7. In your time at Marquette, you became an integral piece of the team. Overall, what’s your favorite on the field memory from your time with the Golden Eagles?
There are countless memories I will remember for the rest of my life I made at Marquette. But scoring the winning penalty after so many rounds against Creighton at their place to knock them out of the big east tournament was probably the top one. They were such a strong team that season and the #1 seed, we both played great styles and had such a good battle. That was easily the craziest and most fun game I have been a part of, and I don’t think anybody who traveled with us from the squad slept that night in Omaha.
8. Who’s your greatest role model and why
For me a player I have always looked up to is Cristiano. He’s always been my idol and I am a massive fan. Not only is he the greatest player of all time along with Messi in my opinion, he is indisputable proof that no matter where you come from or your story, with hard work, dedication, ambition, and belief you can absolutely achieve your goals.
9. What’s the nicest stadium you played in during your college career?
Well there was no better feeling that playing a home game under the lights at Valley. But away from home Creighton was probably my favorite. Their huge grandstand and massive crowd were a blast to play in front of. Also, for some reason, even though it should have been a really intimidating atmosphere with their quality, fans, and nice stadium, for some reason it felt super welcoming and I always played some of my best football there.
10. In January, you signed your first pro contract with FC Tucson. How were you feeling after signing your first pro contract?
It was probably one of the best feelings in my life. I had actually signed a bit earlier but had to wait for the MLS draft to conclude to announce it since they ended up putting me on the board anyways. I was dying to finally share it publicly and overall was just an amazing moment. It was a lot of years of hard work so finally being rewarded and signing a pro deal is something that I’d dreamed of since a kid made a moment I won’t forget.
11. What were you doing between your time from finishing the season in college and signing with Tucson?
I was back in Indiana with my family for a few weeks just training and spending time with my parents. I would drive up to Milwaukee to spend time with friends and hop into some sessions with the team but really just doing my best to stay sharp before preseason. I also joined a CrossFit class to help stay strong and in shape which was a really cool and different experience.
12. What’s your biggest advice for other players working to become pro?
The biggest advice I have for young players is to believe in yourself and always stay hungry. Always looking to improve your game in any way possible is key. It is not enough to just show up to training with everyone else, you have to put in the extra work to craft your game and never give up. Some of the players that are seemingly ahead at 10, 14 ,16 etc. aren’t always the ones who make it in the long run, so trust the process and your time will come.
13. If you could sit down and eat dinner with 3 people, who would they be?
Cristiano for some inspiration and my idol, Kevin Hart for the laughs, and Elon Musk for some intelligence. Should be an interesting group.
14. What are your main goals for the future?
Firstly, I want to have a successful year with the group and do well here with Tucson. Eventually I would love to break into the MLS and continue moving up in the divisions. Also, off the field, I would love to start a brand of some sort or even some version of a podcast or something would be super cool.
15. Nike or adidas?
I’ve always been a Nike guy, but no problems with Adidas.
16. What do you feel sets you apart from others that helped you become a pro?
I think my determination and hard work got me here. I’ve put in countless hours on my own to improve and I just had a belief.
17. Go to snack on the road?
Not the healthiest but sour patch kids and melon Gatorade (best flavor by far trust me).
18. Favorite song?
Alright by Logic, Paranoid by Post Malone, or Mirrors by Bruno Mars. So hard to choose I love so much music.
19. Any last words for the readers?
Hope you enjoyed the read, pleasure to share some of my story and excited to see some future interviews as well.
Founder, The Sports Court
Big thanks to Josh for the amazing interview! Truly a top player on the field and a great person off of it! Best of luck this season and in all of your future endeavors!
Photos via https://www.instagram.com/coan23/?hl=en
A huge sports fan who loves to learn about all sports, from every corner of the world!