Football: Noah Dombrovski looks to change the culture of Academy Force as head coach
It's a word that can be used in many different ways, but Academy Force's new head coach Noah Dombrovski has one meaning behind it.
Culture doesn't mean the different backgrounds of the student athletes or the races of each player. To Dombrovski, culture is surrounded by the love of the game of football.
He's been able to experience this love since the fifth grade when he started playing the sport. Being a kid from Foley, Minn., there were two sports in the fall to participate in.
Football or cross-country.
For Dombrovski, he watched one player growing up and knew football would be apart of his life.
"I watched Barry Sanders and always wanted to be a running back," Dombrovski said. "I outgrew that position, but never the game of football."
The togetherness and cohesiveness of a football team, especially in a smaller town, was exactly what he needed in his life.
"You might have one player be a stand out player for the team," Dombrovski said. "But, that player still needs the other 10 teammates to perform well on the field. It really builds that family aspect in a strong manner."
Dombrovski is taking his football career at University of North Dakota and his handful of coaching positions around the area to the southeast suburbs to coach Academy Force.
The new head coach played outside linebacker for the majority of his football career until his senior year at North Dakota where he transitioned into the tight end position.
After his playing career ended in college, he went into teaching and that translated into coaching. Since graduating in 2009, Dombrovski has coached at many different locations because of personal and professional reasons.
He realized at each place that there's a specific culture with each team, each season. When the opening for Academy Force's head football coach came out last winter, Dombrovski knew it would be a great opportunity to get back to his true passion.
"The position attracted me because it was the head coaching position for a great team," Dombrovski said. "I have had almost every position in coaching besides being a head coach."
Kevin Kleiner, athletic director for New Life Academy, said they had a pool of about 30 people to choose from and each candidate had their strengths. One of the biggest reasons the job went to Dombrovski was due to his past in playing football and coaching not only football, but other sports as well.
Since Dombrovski accepted this position in February, Kleiner said that all the athletic directors are impressed with his transition and his love of making sure these kids learn the game the right way.
"At the end of the day, the scoreboard doesn't matter," Kleiner said. "Our top priority should be to help these kids grow as players and as people. We should be teaching them life lessons, while also playing a sport they love and are passionate about.
"If that happens, then the score will speak for itself."
Dombrovski understands that mentality entirely and has already included it into his summer program with the players. He's making sure practices and times in the weight room are fun and educational, so the players understand the meaning behind each activity.
He's been making trips to each of the six schools in the co-op to recruit players and introduce himself to as many students as possible. Dombrovski said it's worked because more students are coming out this summer to practice and understand the game better.
Now, the plan is to find these players' strengths throughout the summer and utilize them in the fall. There's only been a couple weeks of practice, but Dombrovski is happy with how the players are practicing and committing to the sport of football.
"The future is looking bright for this team and these players," Dombrovski said. "I'm just glad to be a part of this team and the future of Academy Force. It's going to be a fun journey."