…as an educator you lead by example not by arrogance.
Tomasz Janas is one of SWU’s truly international talents. A naturally competitive person, he has always strived to be the best he can be. Growing up in Poland, his goal was to become a professional soccer player – and he worked hard to achieve it. As an eager young player, he made the Polish National U16 team. Then he went through the ordeal that no athlete wants to go through…
Due to injury, Tomasz was forced to retire. Thankfully, although that meant retiring from his career as a soccer player, there was one thing Tomasz just couldn’t do: retire from soccer, period. “I decided to coach,” he says.
That was in 1993. Since then, Tomasz has achieved a great deal. He has coached at the provincial and national levels with ASA and CSA. He has been a Goal Keeper Coach with Soccer Canada since 2004 and runs a successful goalie coaching program used by SWU and many other local soccer clubs.
Tomasz has been with SWU since 2003. As one of our prized Technical Directors, Tomasz works as hard as he did when he was a young athlete. He’s still extremely competitive. But he’s driven by more than that. “I am inspired about making a difference in a kid’s life” he says.
Tomasz has definitely achieved that goal during his years with SWU. One great example is the SWU 1991 Girls team. They started as a group of players which had been cut from the rosters of all the other teams in the city. Tomasz brought them together, not just as individuals but as a team, and made them believe in the sport and his philosophy. “We went from not winning a game in the indoor season to winning all of our games in the following outdoor season and going on to provincials,” he says. “We proved everyone wrong.”
In sports, the importance of a good mentor cannot be overstated. Tomasz gives credit to a great mentor of his own: Stewart Brown, an Edmonton-based coach who won 10 national championships and was inducted into Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame. “Stewart taught me how to translate everyday life to football: humility, discipline. He also taught me that as an educator you lead by example not by arrogance,” says Tomasz.
There was one particular statement of Stewart’s that especially resonated with Tomasz. “He always said to me: ‘You have to remember that the people you surround yourself with, that is how you will be seen.’”
Then again, Tomasz himself is no stranger to powerful statements. For success in soccer and in life, he has developed a mantra: “If you want to be the best, you need to play with the best and against the best.”