BY: KARINA MEDELLIN
If you had asked Alen Marcina about a future in coaching during his professional soccer playing days, he would have laughed at the thought. Now the 34-year-old finds himself in a position he never imagined as the San Antonio Scorpions Head Coach. So, how did the Canada native become the head coach of the newest addition to the North American Soccer League?
The road to San Antonio had several pit stops and detours. Marcina’s pro journey took him all around the world. He attended Barry University in Miami, Florida. It was there that his college coach would foreshadow his coaching future.
“He said, one day Alen you’re gonna be a great coach,” Marcina said. “And I laughed. I said there’s no way I want to deal with guys that were arrogant and have egos.”
Shortly after graduating Marcina began his professional soccer career in 2002. New Zealand, Greece, Germany, Denmark and Puerto Rico were just a few of the places his talents took him. Over the span of a six year pro career, Marcina represented 12 different teams.
“At the time I was frustrated,” Marcina said. I bounced around a lot. But now, in my coaching career, it was a blessing.”
After Marcina and his wife had a daughter in 2009, they decided to move to San Antonio where most of his wife’s family lives.
“It was a no brainer.” Marcina said.
Still, when Marcina announced his retirement he had no plans of coaching professional soccer. In fact, at the time of their move, the San Antonio Scorpions didn’t exist.
“I think things happen for a reason,” Marcina said. “Sure enough the next year, San Antonio announced a pro soccer team. So it couldn't have worked out any better for me.”
Marcina was hired on under then head coach, Tim Hankinson, prior to the 2012 season. After a disappointing season led to Hankinson’s firing, Marcina was named the interim head coach last August. In November of last year, Marcina was officially named the new head coach of the Scorpions.
Marcina knew his replacing of Harkinson, a 60-year-old Major League Soccer veteran, would draw critics.
“I knew there’d be critics as a young coach. But I can’t get bogged down with that,” Marcina said. “I knew I had a responsibility.”
A responsibility to turn the Scorpions around after a less than impressive season. Despite having recently acquired his new title, Marcina does not plan on taking things slow as head coach.
“We want that championship,” Marcina said. “So we’re not gonna stop working ‘til we get it.”