When the Covid-19 pandemic was shuttering events and disconnecting people, Sebastian Acosta-Nijamkin turned to an old pasttime of his to keep players, parents and fellow coaches in the Delaware Union youth soccer club connected.
Acosta-Nijamkin, Operations and Development Director & Girls Director of Coaching at the club, along with Dwayne Henry, Rec Director of Coaching and others involved in the leadership of the Middletown-based club launched the DE Soccer Podcast, dropping their first episode titled “Dwayne Loves Free T-Shirts” on July 6, 2020.
“It definitely stemmed from the idea of being in quarantine and not being able to be around each other and these are conversations that we normally have on a given day, not as structured but definitely conversations we have on any given day at the soccer field before and after practice,” said Acosta-Nijamkin, who hosted a radio show throughout his time at Nova Southeastern University of Florida.
Since launching the show, they’ve passed the 52 episode mark covering a wide range of topics around development, mental health, coaching, refereeing, eating disorders and more.
“This is to a certain extent an extended version or an audio version of our style play handbook that we give out to all of our players at Delaware Union,” Acosta-Nijamkin said. “It stems from that. It’s not a coincidence that all of the people that we invite on the podcast are like-minded people who take development of soccer players very seriously.”
Though not a Delaware native — Acosta-Nijamkin was born in Argentina and grew up in Florida — he’s become well-versed in the tight-knit soccer community in the First State, something Henry knows firsthand from growing up in Dover.
Though he left to play soccer at Methodist University in North Carolina, Henry was drawn back home to help grow a new generation of soccer players in his hometown.
“For me, what’s been great about the podcast is networking and meeting new people,” Henry said. “I’m a young coach, I’ve been in it for three years. There’s guys who have been in it for 25 years or more so it’s having those conversations and just being a sponge and taking all of that information in and applying it to myself and to my players as well.”
While they have covered plenty of local aspects of the soccer community in Delaware and nearby Philadelphia, DE Soccer Podcast has not shied away from broader and more global topics around the game. They talk about global soccer and ask guests to share about their favorite players in each episode.
After Diego Maradona died last November, Acosta-Nijamkin had his father on to talk about one of the greatest to ever play the game, for example.
Along the way they sprinkle in club updates and segments on fair play, player of the match and history.
“It brings up something different you don’t talk about all the time,” Acosta-Nijamkin said of the Today in History segment. “These are things I don’t innately know so I have to research them. It’s a fun little learning experience.”
The range of topics also provides insight for listeners into the many pathways within the sport.
“It just opens up our listeners and I think it gives them insight on the different pathways within the sport that they can do,” Henry said. “You’re not limited to being a professional soccer player, professional coach or professional referee. You could be a journalist, you could be an athletic trainer, you can be in marketing and sales and those types of things.”