SNOHOMISH COUNTY, WA— Daghan “Dagi” (pronounced “Dah-Jee“) Kesim grew up in the passionate world of Turkish football. He was getting training and experience with a couple of pro teams in Istanbul and was following in the footsteps of his father who played for Besiktas. He was even in the national team player pool in Turkey — before injury sidetracked his career.
Making it in SnoCo
The injury meant he would have to concentrate on coaching to stay in the game. “My mother didn’t want me to get depressed about the end of my pro career. She thought I should just get out of soccer,” Dagi says. “But I stayed with the game coaching in schools and doing private training. Eventually she suggested going to the United States.” In Snohomish County Kesim got several soccer coaching jobs and founded youth club Gala FC. Since then he has gained a reputation as a passionate coach, a lively sideline presence and a demanding gaffer. When you play for Dagi, you know exactly what he wants from you.
Dagi expects quality
Australian-born player Blake Camilleri came to the Steelheads late in the 2018 season. He’s been training with Dagi and some of the upper age players from Gala FC this off season. “Dagi really cares about improving players, both mentally and physically,” Blake says. “He is also always expecting high quality performances from each and every player, always pushing them to improve and perfect their techniques and mentality during the run of play. Overall the experience is very enjoyable and very enlightening as to how much a player can improve with the correct coaching.”
A Day with Dagi
Fabian Panduro (Marysville-Pilchuck) scored some important goals for SnoCo FC in 2018. He says a day with Dagi looks something like this:
Your Normal/Average Dagi practice
7:00 7:15 Warm ups/Cone drills
7:15-7:45 10 Germans or other conditioning drills
7:45-9:00 Defending tactic drills, team positioning drills,marking techniques/forms, defensive systems; attacking drills, shooting drills.
“Dagi will participate in game play to show you correct runs/pass plays throughout the entire practice and will make you excel as player. Many Dagi players go on to play college, semi-pro levels. Your success rate depends on your work rate.”
Another side to Dagi
Fans might hear Dagi roar instructions from the sidelines and get the impression that he’s maybe a bit too direct or demanding. They don’t see the other side of the man. Kesim is loyal to his players and club, and he can be very funny and lighthearted. One of his part time gigs is hosting trivia and music at a local wine bar. He’s been known to pick up the mic at karaoke too.
Getting the Steelheads started
Kesim has donated hundreds of hours into getting the Steelheads started. He’s been there right since the early days and is the one constant presence at training and on match days. He has more than earned the right to take the club up to the next level in the Western Washington Premier League (WWPL) in 2019.