TRI-CITIES, WA – In preparation for kicking off their inaugural season in the Evergreen Premier League, Tri-Cities Alliance FC has been hard at work on the practice pitch. With self-imposed expectations that are lofty by anyone’s standards, the team has turned to Jovan Rojas of Northwest Athletic Performance to ensure everyone is the best shape possible.
During a break in training the team and his private clients, we set down with Jovan to get to know the team trainer and Tri-Cities Alliance FC player a little better.
Tell me a little about how you got started with soccer in Tri-Cities?
I’m from Pasco and played for Three River Soccer Club. I was part of one of the best soccer teams, not only in Washington, but the entire country when I played for Pasco High School in 2012. [That year’s Pasco Bulldogs soccer team was ranked #2 in the national ADIDAS high school rankings.]
What degree did you earn while at Eastern Oregon University?
I got a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology, which is exercise science. I’m also a NASM [National Academy of Sports Medicine] Certified Personal trainer.
When I first met you, I noticed a distinct leadership vibe. What do you attribute that to?
I enlisted in the Washington State National Guard when I was 18. As I worked my way up to the rank of sergeant, I learned how to lead others.
Well, from one veteran to another, I appreciate your service. I’m currently in the Washington Air National Guard, so we need to put a beer on the next Army-Air Force game. What do you think?
That’s an easy win for the Army! I’m In.
So what brought you back to the Tri-Cities?
I started working on fitness and training students but athletes while I was finishing up college and that’s when I knew I wanted to start something in my hometown that no one has thought of before. Specifically, I want to train and coach predominantly soccer players.
Most of the coaching and training done with teams doesn’t emphasize, or have the time to individually focus on, what the individual players need to work on. That’s where I come in and that’s the hole Northwest Athletic Performance fills. I am able to provide feedback on the development of the player based on their age and where they should be. Quickness, agility, awareness, ball control, passing, movement off the ball. Those are just some of the skills the nation’s top players are experts at and we can get a head start and sharpen those skills and get the player where they need to be. From there, players will see the success of training with Northwest Athletic Performance on the pitch and coaches and scouts will recognize the talent.
Do you train other athletes as well?
Yes, I have done work with track and field athletes, basketball, football, and softball players. Every sport is different – however, whether it is power, speed or long-distance conditioning, I can help achieve those player’s individual goals. Working with athletes is always a fun and challenging experience because, not only am I teaching them about different aspects or points of view or training styles related to their sport, but I am also learning from them.
How is training a team like Tri-Cities Alliance FC different from training an individual player?
Training Tri-Cities Alliance FC has allowed me to be creative and work in a big group setting and that is something I love. I love to break down athletes so I can build them back up and make them leaders on the pitch. A lot of the guys have not been coached or trained at the high level I require so it’s nice to see where we can take them and what opportunities we can create for them. I have gotten feedback from some of the players early on like “Damn, I haven’t ran this much since high school” or “You kicked my butt, I haven’t been this sore in years.” However, now the feedback is more like “You are making me fit again, thank you” or “Now I see why we do this drill because in the game…”. Things like that.
What does that mean to you as a trainer?
I love that I can show that soccer is an on-going learning experience. Every time you step on the pitch or training field, you have the opportunity to become better than you were yesterday. Learn from the coaches and from teammates. Share the moments with the other guys as you all go through the conditioning weeks and preseason training with and keep that experience forever.
Jovan, thank you for your time! And we appreciate everything you do for our Tri-Cities Alliance FC team!
Interested in hiring Jovan as a trainer for your team or as a personal trainer? You can find more information about him via the links below: