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J.J. Comeau and Marino Crocco, co-founders of E90Coach, help out youth soccer players at The Wallingford Inivitational Soccer Tournament last weekend. E90Coach will give soccer players an opportunity to find private coaches to book sessions. | (Photo courtesy of J.J. Comeau)

New Wallingford business connects soccer players with private coaches

WALLINGFORD — When J.J. Comeau thought back on his soccer career, he always had a private coach. The individualized lessons allowed him to prepare for the future and to play collegiate level soccer. This led to the founding of E90Coach.

E90Coach helps soccer players between the ages 6 and 16 find private coaches to book sessions. The website, www.e90coach.com, is still under construction, but will launch by the end of the month, Comeau said. The “e” represents the electronic aspect of the business and the “90” represents the amount of time played during a game.

“I thought back and I’ve always had a private coach,” Comeau said. “It played an integral role and led me to play college soccer.”

Once launched, soccer players or their parents can view biographies of coaches, learn what they specialize in and book one-hour private sessions. After each session, a coach will leave feedback and the athlete can rate the coach.

Comeau, 23, is a Wallingford resident and a 2008 graduate of Sheehan High School, where he was the goal keeper for the boys’ soccer team. He went on to play at the University of New Haven, where he was a three-year captain. As an undergraduate, he double-majored in business management and sports management. While he continues to work on his business, he is also pursuing an MBA, with a concentration in global marketing.

In addition, he coaches youth soccer and provides private lessons in Guilford. During the 2013-14 school year, he’ll be the assistant coach for Platt High School’s girls’ soccer team in Meriden.

While a number of national organizations already help athletes find private coaches, Comeau said they cater to all sports. Part of the reason why he decided to start E90Coach was to specifically target soccer players in Connecticut.

Nick Dionne, head coach of Platt’s girls’ soccer team, said the business is a good idea because it will help players in the long run.

“Getting that individual attention is different than being at a training session with 20 other teammates,” Dionne said. “The one-on-one time allows you to work on what you have to.”

A turning point in bringing the business concept to reality occurred during Comeau’s time in graduate school, when he was accepted into New Tech Haven, a program at the university. He participated in a business plan competition, where participants had to pitch their businesses to a panel of 18 professionals. E90Coach won, and Comeau received $5,000 as seed money to help with the launch.

Although the site hasn’t launched yet, Comeau gave a tour and shared his vision. In addition to reading coaches’ biographies, Comeau was proud that his developers were able to include the coaches’ availability as well. This way, a parent or athlete can see what days and time the specific coach can hold a lesson. It’s far different than what Comeau originally thought his business would look like, which he envisioned as a basic page and form.

“I would contact them and personally find them a private coach,” he said. “It was strictly a database.”

During his time at New Tech Haven, he met a web designer who helped him bring the site to its current incarnation. The site, and ultimately the business, is built for the athlete, Comeau said. It’s also a way of giving back to the community for Comeau and Marino Crocco, the co-founder of E90Coach.

“We came up with E90Coach as a way to give back to the community by developing and connecting youth players to good quality coaches and college players in the area by offering high quality, private and small group sessions,” Crocco said.

A large obstacle Comeau has been facing is talking to coaches and trying to get them to participate in the business. To increase the number of coaches, Comeau talked to former teammates and attended local tournaments, such as The Wallingford Invitational Soccer Tournament. When the site launches, a coach can sign up to become a private coach. After an interview, a background check will be performed, Comeau said.

“We will be creating jobs for college athletes who can’t maintain a full or part-time job because of their hectic schedules and duties as an NCAA athlete representing their school,” Crocco said.

For now, E90Coach will target Connecticut athletes. In the future, Comeau said he hopes to expand and make it become a national business. While he described the benefits a private coach can provide to players, he said E90Coach “keeps kids interested at a young age and gives a person experience.”

Since the website hasn’t launched yet, those interested in signing up for private session, finding a coach or looking for more information can email jj@e90coach.com.

evo@record-journal.com (203) 317-2235 Twitter: @EricVoRJ



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