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Q and A: Twenty-Four on Technical Director, Troy Lesesne

Q and A with Ellen Lesesne on her son, Troy Lesesne, throughout the formative years and how soccer became more than just a line item on his list of aspirations growing up.

By Chris Walker | May 12, 2019 | seekandstrikecollective@gmail.com

On match day, Coach Troy Lesesne wakes up and gets ready. He likes to cook breakfast, pancakes and eggs. After, he goes for a hike in the foothills. This has become a superstition for him. Lesesne manages his time on and off the pitch. He recently joked in a post-match conference that he likes to “arrive to the stadium entirely too early and pester his other coaches until they’re tired of him.” Seek & Strike Collective’s Chris Walker interviewed his mother, Ellen, by e-mail to find out more about who Troy is off the pitch.

Chris: What personality traits did Troy show at a young age? Are these still present?

Ellen: Troy was a born extrovert, eager to please, and full of determination. I do believe that these traits are still present, along with many others that come to mind. He has always been kind, loving, intuitive and funny!                                                                       

Chris: What was Troy’s childhood like?

Ellen: The caboose of our three children, he was adored by his brother and sister, their friends, and the entire family. He loved being outdoors and his first word was “ball”! I must say he was a precious little towhead with a “bowl” haircut. He did a bit of modeling and was on a Mother’s Day commercial!

Troy, the model

Chris: What are Troy’s hidden talents? Was Troy ever in a talent show?

Ellen: Troy could sing beautifully, and played Aladdin in a Disney production in the fourth grade. He may still sing in the shower

Chris: Did Troy play sports as a kid? What did he play? Did he win any championships?

Ellen: He tried most every sport, and was very good in just about anything. Soccer was always #1, but he played middle school basketball, tennis, golf, and did swim team in the summer. He won the boy’s highpoint trophy from age six through age twelve(swim).  By the time he was in eighth grade, he had to narrow his interest to focus on his first love! Many of the members of his first rec league team were still together through high school, and they are still very close. There were some exceptionally talented young men, who throughout their soccer careers won many championships!                                                 

The first of many casts for Troy

Chris: Troy’s pretty calm, well composed most of the times – was he ever wild and crazy?

Ellen: Soccer didn’t allow much time for misbehavior! As most soccer moms will attest, it is a deterrent to mischief. The kids are too busy and tired to be naughty!!!                                                    

Chris: Did Troy participate in high school sports? What sports did he play?

Ellen: By the time he was in high school, he was pretty heavily immersed into soccer. We truly ate, slept and breathed soccer!

Chris: Did Troy have any jobs while he was in high school?

Ellen: There is a family owned Grecian restaurant in our area that is wonderful about employing young people. He started as a busboy, and later waited tables. I think that every kid should have to work in food service, as it teaches many invaluable lessons!                                                                        

Chris: Does Troy have any nicknames?

Ellen: As long as I can remember, he has been called T-Roy. His friends still call him that!                   

Chris: What’s the funniest thing Troy has ever said or done that has gotten you tickled?

Ellen: After a particularly tough loss, a very young Troy threw himself down in the backseat for a good cry. Trying to console him, we asked if he wanted something from McDonald’s.  “NO!”’, he sobbed, “I’m never eating again!” Shortly afterward, he was devouring a Happy Meal.                                    

Troy showing his game face on the Clemson field

Chris: What is Troy’s favorite home-cooked meal?

Ellen: Bacon wrapped sirloin, baked potato, salad                                                                  

Chris: Does Troy have any favorite junk food?

Ellen: Troy and Amanda are very clean eaters.  He will occasionally treat himself to his one vice, Coke!

Chris:  Who does Troy consider a hero? Favorite athlete?

Ellen: I think it is safe to say that my Dad, Troy’s Papa, was his first hero.  He was Troy’s namesake, and a talented athlete and thoroughly enjoyed watching him compete through the years. Here’s a fun fact: As a child, among all of Troy’s soccer posters, was Eric Wynalda, who later played at Charleston Battery while Troy was there. I believe that they will be meeting up again, pretty soon!                                                                     

Troy with his first hero, his Papa

Chris: Does Troy have any Coaches that he looks up to or models his style of coaching after?

Ellen: Certainly, his high school coach, Kevin Heise.  Incredibly knowledgeable about all things related to soccer, he is still building strong grassroots programs. He has a tough no nonsense approach, with a no pain- no gain philosophy.  Troy so loves and admires Kevin, and still “checks in” when he’s home.  Ralph Lundy, a college soccer legend, was responsible for taking Troy to the next level at the College of Charleston. A former Marine, he brought the values of the Corps into his style of coaching. He was a strict enforcer of dependability and integrity, loyalty to the soccer family and good judgement. Such a wonderful set of values were instilled in Troy from both of these mentors.

Chris: Who introduced Troy to soccer?

Ellen: I don’t remember being formally introduced to soccer.   We just decided to get a little group together and join a Y team. That’s back when snack was the highlight of the game and even if you lost, the coach would ask, “but did you have fun????”                                                               

First year of Soccer, with his lifelong friend and teammate

Chris: How did Troy first make you aware that he wanted to be involved with soccer?

Ellen: Troy made a list of his ambitions around second grade, and among them were to become a pro soccer player and to coach an MLS team!  He also dressed as a soccer player for Halloween. Every Year.                                              

Troy at Age 5

Chris: How do you feel about Troy being a coach?

Ellen: I’m sure you have heard the adage that it will bring you joy if you find something you love and make it your life’s work. Knowing that your child is happy is every mother’s wish for her children…and Troy is most certainly happy! And I am beyond happy!                                                                    

Chris: How does Troy handle losing?

Ellen: I feel like he has learned to take games more in stride, although he certainly loves to win. He knows that it is detrimental to carry disappointment into the next training week, both for himself and the players.

Chris: Did you give advice to Troy about coaching?

Ellen: I have always told him to remember where he started out and to remain humble.

Chris: How did you feel when you heard Troy would be the head coach of New Mexico United?

Ellen: Oh, my goodness! That was one of the most exciting days of my life. When we watched the initial interview on T.V., it was just so surreal! His dad and I just cried!                               

Chris: Does Troy ever talk about the game plan with you or recap a game with you?

Ellen: Troy is pretty quiet before the games. We generally don’t talk to him on game day or even the day before. Don’t want to jinx anything!  Post-game discussions are dependent on whether or not he was happy with the outcome!     

Chris: What are some of Troy’s superstitions?

Ellen: Well, I’m guessing now not to change from the gray suit

Chris: Did Troy always see Coaching as Professional Career? Were there any other choices?

Ellen: Yes. And No.

Chris: What are some proud mother moments of Troy?

Ellen: He has won many awards, Gatorade Player of the Year, All America, Hall of Fame and retired #jersey. But the moment I saw him walk on Isotopes pitch on March, I could not have been prouder. Not only for Troy, but also for Peter and his vision and the wonderful community of people who had embraced the team. How perfectly amazing to hear that crowd of almost 13,000 supporters and to know that he was getting to be a part of it! I am so very, very thankful!                     

Chris: Is there a special message that you would like to leave for Troy in this Q&A? 

Ellen: Son, you are everything mom could ask for. Your drive to achieve your dream, combined with your ability to assemble this group of young men makes me so proud. I could tell when I met them that they were handpicked by you, not only for their soccer talent, but for those values you hold dear. They are an amazing bunch!

I wish for all of the United mothers a beautiful day this Sunday! I love you!

For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

Somos Unidos! – Ellen Lesesne

Photo: Ellen Lesesne for Youth Pictures

Photo: Josh Lane/NM United

Christopher Walker is a beat writer for Seek & Strike Collective covering the beat on New Mexico United and Albuquerque Sol soccer. Follow him on Twitter and join in on the conversation. @_ChrisWalker505

Twitter: @SeekandStrikeNM Instagram: @SeekandStrikeNM

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