ULSTEINVIK (Nettavisen): Last fall, Hødd moved to the Obos League for the first time since 2016. Now the club sits in an impressive second place in Norway’s second-highest league and are unbeaten as one of three teams after five matches.
In the driver’s seat sits Joachim Dragsten, who has no top-level career to look at, but has long coaching experience despite his young age.
– I have to maximize building on what I have. When I can’t show something as a top player, I have to be so good at everything else that it doesn’t matter, Dragsten tells Nettavisen.
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Watch highlights from Kongsvinger – Hødd below:
– I will never become General Dragstin
Although it has become more common in recent years to hire younger coaches in Norwegian and European football, the average age at Norway’s two highest levels of men’s football is 50 years.
However, Dragsten does not see his age as a challenge in selling his message to older players and coaches.
– You have to earn respect. Because the natural respect for being older or someone who has been playing football for 30 years, you don’t have that. The respect you get, you have to earn it. It’s that simple – it’s a for-profit industry. If you do well, you will get good publicity, if you do poorly, you will get pepper.
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The coach from Klæbu in Trøndelag is particularly interested in one thing in coaching – the human side. Being a good person and educating are important cornerstones of Dragsten’s coaching philosophy.
– In the dressing room we have a very flat structure in terms of hierarchy. When a member of my coaching staff speaks, it’s just as important as speaking. I know that coaches who are ten to twenty years older than me are very worried about “I am the king,” “my assistant,” and “you are my subjects.” I will never become General Dragsten.
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– sI thought I was very educational, careful and kind
Tronder moved up the ranks of Norwegian football, from what he describes as an activity director for youth teams to becoming a head coach for top football clubs.
– I have already started my coaching career for the children’s and youth teams of Skid. My first coaching job was two nights a week with the second and third teams of the 13-year-olds at the club. Then I stood on the worn out second track to Skeid and was almost the leader of the activity.
The job did not solve all of Hødd’s manager’s problems financially, as he saw himself having to take other jobs besides a coaching job at Skeid and studying sports psychology at the Norwegian Sports Academy.
– I worked two nights a week at Skeid, three evenings a week at G-Sport, and then got an extra job where I stood guard at Ullevaal. In the VIP’s there, I stood in a suit and tended to the door. She acted as a bouncer in the cup final for Hødd when they beat Tromsø.
Little did he know then that in about ten years he would go from sponsoring the cup champions at Ollevale to sitting on their bench.
After Skeid’s five years as a coach at the academy, a coaching career was to be put to the test. The club’s new board of directors must make it difficult for Dragsten to continue at the club. Questioning his philosophy and coaching style, Skeid announced the Trønder position while he was still working there. This without him knowing about it.
The powerful forces in the club thought I was doing it wrong. They thought I was too educational, too cautious and kind. I asked myself is this what I worked around the clock to achieve and then I just got fired. I was kicked out of the club and it was hard. Not the people I send Christmas cards to, so to speak.
Skeid’s general manager, Daniel Holmeide Strand, explains that Dragsten’s situation occurred before the current board and management arrived at the club.
We who run the club now have a good relationship with Joachim. It is not possible to comment on the events before our era, Nettavisen told.
At Christmas 2016, Dragsten returned to his parents and had five shows ahead of him. The choice was between four paid youth soccer teams in Oslo or working as an unpaid A-team coach for third-division team Lokomotiv Oslo.
– You’re at a huge crossroads. I sat down with my dad and tried to stand up for myself and him that I wanted to be a senior coach and not a Gutter 9 coach. I felt like I was done with the activity manager part.
Dragsten took over as coach of Lokomotiv Oslo, the supposed weakest team in the division. When, against all odds, he managed to save the place, Eidsvold Turn offered him new challenges with a view to promotion to the second division. He did not hesitate to seize this opportunity.
– When you spend two years moving to the second degree, and then you take the second degree well too, you feel that you have something to do here. It was really an affirmation to just drive and see what you can achieve.
Listen to the podcast, season card below:
– hungry more than ever
Dragsten says his goal in his coaching career was to be able to make a living from football full time. When Hødd knocked on the door, the goal came true. However, the coach had not finished dreaming yet.
– I’m hungrier than ever. I want to succeed a lot and do well, and to make the team I have to be as good as possible.
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With the promotion with Hødd in the fall, more people noticed Dragsten’s strong performance. This led to him running away with the award as Young Coach of the Year in November.
– I took it as a confession. It was a new motivation that made me want to work even harder. You get confirmation that the 10 years he has now spent with football have been worth it.
Kongsvinger is hit by Hødd
Now I actually play football manager in real life
There has been a lot of media coverage about 30-year-old coach Will Steele using the football coaching game “Football Manager” as an important aid in his coaching career. Hødds Dragsten says the game has also been an important part of his life, but he should not be given credit for being where he is now.
– Every year as soon as a game came out it was just a matter of putting it on the PC and playing it around the clock. Get in there and try different things and systems. But it’s a game, so you won’t actually get into it. I remember when my first really coaching job was secured, I told my friends that I actually play football manager in real life.
Syver sent Skeide Hødd to heaven with a cannonball. Pictures provided by TV 2
Coach Hødd says that in the early twenties, a large number of hours were put into the practice match. With two and a half years of education abroad in Brazil and Bali, he was surprised when he looked at how many hours he played.
– I remember on my computer that I recorded the number of hours I spent playing. I did three months of education abroad, and then one month at FM. A third of the entire residency was the football manager.
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