Meet the Coaches: Fredrik Hognestad
In the second instalment of Meet the Coaches we catch up with the super coach of our Women’s State 2, Fred! Read all about his coaching, idol, favourite season and a dramatic game against a strong rival.
Can you introduce yourself please:
I’m Fredrik or Fred as many will recall me as. I am both a player and a coach at MUSC and started my playing journey at the club after moving to Melbourne from Norway in 2017, to study at Melbourne Uni. Time has passed since that, a bachelor has been substituted out by a master, and playing has been accompanied by coaching.
Why did you choose to coach for the Melbourne University Soccer Club?
After moving to Melbourne, I wanted to start playing soccer again after a few years off because of military service and various other commitments. The obvious choice was to start playing for the university club, as I did not know a single person in the country. However, I could not be more satisfied with the decision. After having played for a while and fully embraced the community, the possibility to coach a team arose in the middle of the season, and I knew this could be a great chance to give something back to the club.
What do you feel are the main benefits of coaching for MUSC?
The main benefits of coaching here are the vibrant community of likeminded coaches who all strive to improve. Coming in as an inexperienced coach, I had a terrific support network around me to help me develop as a coach and a leader. The fact that this is Victoria’s largest senior soccer club also meant that there is a diverse and interesting player pool to work and improve with.
Has there been a favourite season at MUSC, if so, why?
As a coach, last year (2019) has to be the one. That was my first full season as a coach, but the group of girls we had in that State 3 West team was truly amazing. The range of personalities and backgrounds, skills and strengths, and friendships and fun came together so nicely with a strong commitment from everyone. Despite the age range within the team being more than 20 years and people coming from 8 different countries, the entire team became one big friend group. Lastly, the fact that the on-pitch performances were extremely strong too, did not make it less fun either. At our end of the season “westies award” there was not a single dry eye, as the season came to an end. But I have to add that this season was very promising and could have been a strong contender as well, just sad that we didn’t get to see it play out.
As a player, however, my favourite season has to be my first season with the club in 2017. Being a goalkeeper in a club which historically has been struggling for keepers, I got the chance to be part of two teams during that campaign. On top of that, both sides (Metro 2 and State 5 Reserves) managed to secure their respective title. One of the things that made that season stand out for me was the consistency in the people you played alongside. Being able to play next to the same lads week in and week out made us form a special bond and ultimately allowed us to perform on the pitch.
Has there been a standout player you have coached at MUSC?
There has been a lot of very talented players over the short three seasons I have been involved with, and it feels terrible just to mention one. But, undeniably, one of the most talented players to have played under me is Pema. She probably could and should have played for a team higher up the divisions, but she chose to play in our squad despite having several appearances for the Bhutanese national club. Her speed and ability to find space made her a pain in the butt for any team we faced, resulting in her finishing top goal scorer in the league.
Who is your coaching idol, i.e. who do you find inspiration from?
As a Manchester United fan, it is impossible to say anyone else than the manager of managers himself, Sir Alex Ferguson. His ability to renew himself, the team and the tactics during one of the most rapidly changing periods of the game is astonishing. Also, the way he kept his players hungry and fought off complacency is remarkable. Having read his book “Leading” is clear that it is not a coincidence he is the most decorated manager in history, by quite some margin.
How would you describe your coaching style?
I would say I set clear expectations and require commitment (*cough*, attendance spreadsheet), but at the same time focus on having fun and enjoy ourselves. Soccer at MUSC is supposed to be that time of the week when you can show op to training or game and be yourself, forget about the stress and obligations of everyday life and have fun. Therefore, it is essential for me to create an enjoyable environment, but to do that we need everyone to pull their part.
Do you have a particularly memorable moment relating to your coaching experience?
There are a few actually. One that meant a lot to us was our second game against Altona City in the 2019 season. After having lost to them during both legs in 2018, and having drawn with them in the first game of the season, we were battling for a second spot when we faced off against them in the third last game of the year. We knew this one would be decisive over who finished on top of the other and having never won against them, we went into the game at Prinny nervous, but prepared. It didn’t take long before we scored our first goal, and then a second one just before the break. Knowing the second half were our statistically stronger half, we knew the victory was within reach. Despite their best effort to turn around the game with the wind in their back, we put away another one just before full time, and their coach went nuts. It felt really good to stick it to them after they had several nasty tackles and even had a player twice Andy G’s size trying to clear the ball trough poor Andy’s knee.
How do you prepare for a match on gameday/do you have any quirky pre-match rituals?
So before a game, I look at the stats for the opposition team. Trying to figure out which players we need to be mindful of and also analysing our previous meetings with that particular team. Then I like to go around inspecting the pitch and get a feel of the dimensions of the pitch we are playing on while the girls get changed. If they are particularly chatty, I might have a few go’s at some freekicks while waiting for them to arrive, or talk to other players and coaches in the pavilion if we play at home.
Besides soccer, do you have any other hobbies or passions?
I love to watch almost all sports, and yes, the weird ones too. I will watch everything from a 4-hour chess coverage to snooker, soccer, cross-country skiing and bike riding. I also play a bit of PS4 when waiting for Karo to finish up studying in the evening. But I don’t have that one hobby, besides soccer, which takes up vast amounts of time, despite being interested and spending a little time on a lot of different things.
Are you interested in joining Fred and our coaching team? Find out how to become a coach at MUSC: https://www.musc.com.au/join-musc/join-our-coaching-team-in-2021/