CW4 Michael J. “Josh” Guidry (Courtesy photo)
Published: April 14, 2016
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 14, 2016) -- For one Army Aviator, the opportunity to focus on his love of the game of soccer has been a long time coming.
CW4 Michael J. “Josh” Guidry, a Black Hawk maintenance test pilot, was recruited out of high school for college level play, but decided to enlist instead.
After more than 20 years of service, including deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, he welcomed the chance as a Soldier to focus on sports as Men’s All-Army Soccer head coach, beginning with soccer trials at Fort Benning, Georgia, that began April 11.
“I’m very excited to have this opportunity and earn some experience,” said Guidry. “It shows that Army Aviators can reach for this level and balance, in sports and family.”
At Fort Rucker, Guidry serves as a personnel resources analyst for warrant officers for the Aviation Branch. His wife, Capt. Heather Guidry, is also an Army Aviator who currently serves with the 1st Aviation Brigade.
Each year the military services conduct an armed forces championship and this year the Army is the defending champion. The Army team won the gold medal at the 2015 Armed Forces Championship by defeating the Air Force 1-0 in the championship match.
Guidry’s job over the next few weeks is to shape the Army’s 2016 team. At the soccer trials, 34 Army players are invited to try out to make the All-Army team. From that pool, only 18 will be selected to play against the other branches of military service in the All Armed Forces tournament that starts at Fort Benning May 6.
In the Army trials, Guidry is looking not only to compose the Army team, but also for players who may be chosen to go on to represent the United States on the international playing field.
According to Guidry, after the eight-day round-robin style All Armed Forces tournament, players from across the services will be selected to go on to compete as the U.S. All-Armed Forces team at the international, Conseil International du Sport Militaire level. The average age of players is in their mid-20s and experience levels can range from home-grown experience to Division I college players, players with professional experience.
According to Guidry, choosing the invitees for the Army camp this year from more than 100 applicants was difficult for him and his assistant coach, Staff Sgt. Joshua R. Blodgett.
Earning an invitation to camp makes Soldier athletes set apart and includes an ambassadorial role, and multiple returning players this year have competed up to the CISM level in the past, Guidry said.
“All-Army Sports is a great opportunity because it supports Soldier readiness and well-being through athletic performance, military bearing and competitive spirit,” said Tony Poore, a sports specialist for Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation who manages the day-to-day operations of All Army Sports programs.
Poore, who selected Guidry for the head soccer coach position, said Guidry’s coaching philosophy and experience are exemplary.
“His professionalism is very evident and he values that the Soldier-athletes coming to camp are ambassadors for the sport of soccer back at their duty stations and the Army as a whole,” said Poore.
Guidry’s experience is highly sought after in a Soldier who will lead the Army team, according to Poore.
Guidry’s background includes being a player and coach at a number of institutions, including building varsity programs at Fort Hood, Texas, and in Korea. During a tour in the Washington, D.C., area, he was able to train with men’s premiere amateur teams and minor league clubs, and was exposed to professional coaching and soccer there, according to Guidry.
Throughout his military career that includes service in the Air Force and Army, he has coached, played and captained varsity soccer teams, and volunteered to coach youth camps and clubs.
In the “old days,” (before the War on Terror), varsity teams were post-sponsored all-star teams, Guidry explained.
While at Fort Rucker, Guidry has continued to work towards achieving a Class C coaching license, and volunteered to coach boys soccer for a youth sports club in Dothan. In the future, he hopes to teach and coach.
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