APUS Alumni Stories: How Richard Bucciarelli Turned a Hobby into a Career
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By Melanie Conner, APUS Alumni Relations Outreach Liaison and Richard Bucciarelli, APU Graduate
True dedication and passion have led Richard Bucciarelli, American Public University graduating class of May 2017, to take his love of soccer and build a career. He has also used soccer to continue his “over-speed training on a treadmill versus over-speed training on the ground” research.
Richard’s been involved in the sport of soccer almost all of his life. With positive coaching influences from high school to college, Richard has become a successful coaching influence in return, training kids in the sport he loves.
Richard earned a master of science in sports and health sciences from APU after obtaining his bachelor of arts in kinesiology and health science in 2005 at York University in Toronto. He is now continuing his education at the University of Guelph in Ontario, where he is studying biomechanics and the biomechanical analysis of speed training.
Through his research, Richard has demonstrated that certain types of training – including treadmill and over-ground training – can improve speed. In focusing on biomechanics, his goal is to determine why soccer players are able to increase speed through treadmill training.
Richard shows us that success is no accident. He works hard and plays hard to share his love of soccer and coaching with others.
What have you been doing since you completed your master’s degree?
I ran my business, Soccer Fitness Inc., while completing my master’s at APU. I have continued to do that since graduating.
I have also been accepted for a Ph.D. in biomechanics at the University of Guelph, so I have been pretty busy with work and school.
What inspired you to pursue a career in soccer coaching?
I have always been involved in soccer. I have played the sport since I was five years old.
Eventually, I ended up playing for the men’s varsity team at York University, where I obtained my undergraduate degree. While I was there, my coach began to involve me and some of the other players in coaching soccer at a local youth club where he was the technical director.
While I continued to coach, I also began to work as a personal trainer at a local gym. Some of the parents of the kids I coached, who knew about my background in kinesiology and personal training, began to ask if I would be willing to train their children.
I also got requests from soccer coaches, asking if I would be willing to train their teams. From that point on, I decided to try to do this work full-time. Fifteen years later, here I am!
How did you prepare to enter this field?
I believe I have been preparing for it my entire life without even realizing it. My combination of playing soccer, coaching and educational background in kinesiology and health sciences prepared me to do the work I eventually ended up doing.
How has your master’s degree assisted you in the field?
The knowledge I acquired from my master’s degree has been invaluable. Several of the courses I took at APU, including Exercise Physiology, Sports Biomechanics, Exercise Prescription and Nutrition, provided me with the opportunity to further my knowledge, mostly by requiring me to read and to stay abreast of the current literature about these topics. This, in turn, allowed me to provide better advice and better training to the athletes and teams I work with in my business.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
My biggest challenge is time management. I currently run a business that includes a 1,500 square-foot facility; I employ 10 part-time employees and five intern students. We provide fitness testing and training off-site, as well as coaching/continuing education courses throughout the year.
I am in the midst of my Ph.D., which includes coursework and research. Also, I have conducted and published several independent research projects.
We have a mobile fitness app that we sell to athletes and teams as a home training program. So the biggest challenge when managing all of these things is to organize, prioritize all of the different things I need to do and make sure everything gets done.
What is your greatest accomplishment to date?
There are a few accomplishments I am proud of, but the one which stands out to me was the first time I had the opportunity to represent my country as fitness coach of the Canadian Women’s National U17 Team at a major international competition, the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Under 17 Championship in Guatemala City, Guatemala. I still remember how loudly I was singing the Canadian national anthem prior to the start of our first match against Panama. It is a memory I will never forget.
What advice do you have for people seeking a career in coaching/soccer?
My advice would be to stay humble, work hard and prepare to make sacrifices in order to achieve success working in soccer.
A career working in the sport you love provides you with the most rewarding feeling in the world, but this is not a conventional job. It requires a lot of sacrifices, including time and money, which I do not think many young people are really willing to make.
What do you do in your free time?
I don’t have a lot of free time. But when I do get some, I really enjoy spending time with my family, running and playing the drums. I was in a band in high school and I still enjoy playing a few times a week when I get the chance.
Please share a closing thought about your journey.
My opinion about school, work and life is that people should figure out what they enjoy doing and then work as hard as they can to be the best at it. That is what I have tried to do and will continue to do.
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