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A Soldier's Love of Football
by Army Spc. Darryl Montgomery - October 14, 2011

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FORWARD OPERATING BASE SPIN BOLDAK, Afghanistan (10/11/2011) – Football captivates a lot of military members throughout their lives, but, one soldier in particular has been more involved with this sport than most can ever say they have ever imagined.

Master Sgt. Marvin B. Morgan, the 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade’s equal opportunity advisor, enjoys teaching children the game of playing football. Morgan, a Killeen, Texas, said he wants to ensure that each child underneath the reflection of his voice becomes a better person, student, and player of the best game ever played. Courtesy Photo
Master Sgt. Marvin B. Morgan, the 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade's equal opportunity advisor, enjoys teaching children the game of playing football. Morgan, a Killeen, Texas, said he wants to ensure that each child underneath the reflection of his voice becomes a better person, student, and player of the best game ever played. Courtesy Photo
 Master Sgt. Marvin B. Morgan, the 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade's equal opportunity advisor, is a full-time soldier and a football coach when he is not soldiering.

Currently deployed to Afghanistan, the Killeen, Texas, resident is already planning his next big move in his coaching career.

Morgan, who currently coaches 9 to 11-year-olds, has been coaching since 2001 and said he has many wonderful memories from his time on the sideline and feels his time as a coach has been successful so far.

“Success for me isn't necessarily measured in wins and losses,” Morgan said. “It's being able to watch a kid who doesn't know how to play at first, and by the end of the year, you see they have a skill set they can build upon.”

“Last year, we had 23 kids on the team and 15 of them had never played football in their life. Of the eight other players, only five of them had played more than one
year,” Morgan said. “To bring them together and try to build a cohesive team and win a game...that's the challenge I like.”

Morgan likes to instill qualities in his young players that many do not see until they are much older. He said he lets his players know that they are not just athletes; they are student-athletes when they play for him.

“You aren't just an athlete, you are a student-athlete,” he said. “To play for Coach Morgan, you are a student first. If you can't get it right in the classroom, you're not going to be able to get it right on the football field. Therefore, you can't play for me.”

“I'd rather you get it right in the classroom first, and then come and try to play football for me,” he said.

Morgan said that when children learn about the student-athlete concept early on, they will be better able to handle it when they get to the level where it is required, such as high school and college.

“Discipline is another big area I focus on because it takes discipline on the field,” he said. “To know the right snap-count, to be able to know and run the right plays, it all takes discipline. It's hard to be disciplined in that if you aren't disciplined at home or in the classroom.”

Morgan says he has had a lot of rewarding experiences, but the most rewarding experience he has as a coach so far is to hear about how his kids have matured academically and socially.

“To see a kid who I had at nine, 10, and 11-years-old,” and now they are 14 to 16-years old, and they still remember what you did for them when they played for you,” he said, “those kids will always remember what Coach Morgan taught them, ‘to play like a champion.'”

“That's our motto, ‘to play like a champion,'” he said, “but, to play like a champion, you have to practice like a champion, you have to think like a champion, and you have to act like a champion. You can't just go play like a champion; there are things a champion does to become a champion.”

“The plan is, when I get home form this deployment, and we fall into the next football season, I am going to coach one more year with the nine through 11-year-olds before I move up to middle school aged kids.”

“I feel like I've mastered the age group I coach now,” he added, “so, I'd like to see what I can do with older kids.”

Morgan, who has a master's degree in education, said that when he decides to retire from the military, he would like to apply to become an assistant principal at a middle school in order and coach football at the school, which will help positively influence the students on and off the football field.

Morgan says his objective as a leader and football coach is to, “ensure that each child underneath the reflection of my voice becomes a better person, student, and player of the best game ever played.”

By Army Spc. Darryl Montgomery
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2011

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