January 28, 2013
|Tony Amato ’00 was recently named coach of the University of Arizona's women's soccer team.|
Tony Amato ’00 knows a thing or two about succeeding in soccer.
A member of both the Sunshine State Conference and Rollins Sports Halls of Fame, Amato was named SSC Scholar Athlete and Athlete of the Year as well as Academic All-America while a student at Rollins. As the winningest coach in Rollins women's soccer history, Amato led the Tars for seven seasons, building the program into perennial Sunshine State Conference champions and one of the top teams in the South Region.
After leaving Rollins in 2010, Amato grabbed the reigns of the women’s soccer team at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas, where in three years he led them to the best season in the school’s history.
So, it comes as no surprise that the University of Arizona Wildcats hired him in December to make champions out of their last-place women’s soccer team.
“We have the potential to climb the ladder in the PAC-12,” Amato says. “There is a lot of work to be done but Arizona is a great school in one of the top conferences in the country.
But he’s definitely up to the task.
How would you describe your coaching style?
If you were to label it, I am a cooperative-style coach who tries to relate everything to the big picture. I build a family atmosphere, invest in the players, and I really want them to succeed. I focus on developing the players over four years and enjoy the process along the way.
What is your initial strategy for the Wildcats?
The first thing you have to do is change the culture. I’ll establish a set of core values that the team will hold each other accountable to. This will be the foundation of our culture, and it will allow us to relate back to five or six things that define what we’re going to be about.
Obviously, a major piece is that I follow these values. I hold them dear; it makes me so unwavering in that respect.
What do you think has been the secret of your success?
It all stems from my passion for the game. When I first became the head coach at Rollins, I was so focused on making the team better that it took me a month to realizes I hadn’t gotten paid yet. It hadn’t even occurred to me to go pick up my check.
When you build a career out of your passions, you don’t have to worry about the money. I got into coaching because I loved the game and loved coaching it. I don’t wake up on Monday and feel like oh god, I have to go to work.