Exploring The Off-Season: Kirk Mastromatteo, Belgrade Vukovi

Photo: Jiuliette.c
What is "the off season"? Does it exist in football? 
The off-season is a multi-faceted time of year in the game of football today. Coaches and administrators spend time preparing for the upcoming season. Recruitment of sponsors, import players, and growing the brand of the organization is fore front in any teams mindset. 

What are the main goals coaches work towards during this time?
Schematically, coaches prepare and study the opponents for the upcoming season along with the players that are presented for free agent/import signing. From a player’s perspective, it is a time to physically rest from the vigors of the game, but also one must begin to prepare physically for the next season as well. Strength training, agility and speed training are a must along with position specific drills which can be done in small groups

When do you start looking for imports? What things do you consider when sifting through options?
Probably within a month of the end of the season, teams begin to start looking at the possibility of the previous import returning, if wanted, and then set a “need” list for the upcoming roster and a list of prospects in each of those categories.

What things can an import do to increase their chances of gaining a teams interest?
In my opinion, the best way an import can increase attention is to provide not only highlight films, but full game tape as well. How one plays the entire game is far more important to me, than a few random highlights. Also have a complete profile on Europlayers and be prompt in replying when a team contacts you. Also you can send a complete introduction to teams with a profile of yourself, accomplishments and complete film assortment.

What is the worst thing an athlete can do to hurt their chances? 
I would say the lack of sufficient film and professionalism will deter a team from players.

Once you have narrowed it down, what factors go into furthering your selection process? 
We try to have a top 3-4 players at each position and go down the list as we make offers at the position/athlete type that we desire. Of course financials come into play, but also a desire to be with the team and the mindset of the player weigh heavily into the signing decisions, along with the players ability and acceptance to work at multiple positions.

What type of building events do you do team between seasons? 
Unity in the off-season program builds a lot of the family environment that is needed in the game of football. From training to everyday life you see players congregate together and share due to the similar mentality they have from the game of football.

Do you have any advice to players about how to approach their own off-season and recruiting seasons? 
Be a professional… Prepare yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally for the world of football played at a high level in a foreign land. Also… Prepare the best possible information to successfully market yourself to those teams that are in need of you, the player and professional.

Lance Kriesien
Mia Bajin