Holy Cross College is proud to recognize, head of soccer operations and men’s head soccer coach, Omar Gallo, on his incredible achievement in receiving the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) “A” diploma. This qualification is the highest available for amateur soccer coaching at the international level, including the collegiate ranks. Gallo’s diploma follows five years of dedicated effort, extended due to Covid, with 8 days of annual summer training in Belfast, UK.
The prestigious UEFA diploma program, to which hundreds apply, accepts only about 30 applicants per year. The program requires 180 hours of education, 140 of which includes guided interactive content. This is supplemented by the practical in-person training each summer.
UEFA A diploma assignments ranged from session planning to recording and submitting video presentation of actual coaching sessions. The training allowed Gallo to “see the game from a new perspective and the main thing was that it focused on the four pillars” of competitive amateur soccer: the coach, the players – both individually and as a team, the training, and the match. Gallo notes significant growth in his coaching, particularly in periodization planning – managing the workload of players so that the effects of one long practice or one intense game might alter or affect training plans and skill development in the days and weeks ahead.
Gallo first came to Holy Cross College in 2010 as the assistant coach for the men’s soccer team. He became the men’s head coach by 2012. In 2018 he assumed the responsibility of also coaching the College’s women’s team and simultaneously became Director of Holy Cross College’s soccer operations.
The Holy Cross College women’s soccer team has seen significant improvements over the six years that Gallo has been the head coach. It has qualified for their league’s post-season tournament four of the last six years. Moreover, it has beaten nationally ranked teams and had multiple CCAC All-Conference recipients. Now that the women’s team is stable, Gallo plans to return to singularly coaching the men’s team while also retaining the position of being the Director of Soccer Operations. He will also oversee Holy Cross College’s new soccer stadium when that facility opens in fall of 2024 or 2025.
Gallo said the women’s soccer team is excited for his future stating that sharing the news in “a vulnerable way” allowed each team member to understand and support his decision. He believes that the new women’s head soccer coach should be announced soon.
Gallo migrated from Canada where he himself played goalie for Mohawk College and Cape Breton University. He feels that now that he has gotten the women’s soccer team to a stable position and completed the long sought after UEFA diploma in his professional endeavors, he will gladly shift focus to his family. Gallo notes that while coaching two teams, he’s missed a lot of family time and is glad that he can have a better quality of life. He’s especially grateful because he still has one younger son at home and can be more active in all his children’s lives. He credits his success to his family and especially his wife, who during the last three years was battling breast cancer. Finally, Gallo believes it’s time to repay their support: “Now, it’s time to give back to my family.”
Gallo is also Executive Director of Michiana Echo Premier, a position he has held since 2013. This club focuses on player development from ages 5 through 18. For his role as director of coaching at Echo, Gallo was Indiana Soccer’s 2017 Director of the Year. Holy Cross College is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) where it is part of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC). He was also recognized as the CCAC men’s soccer coach of the year in 2022 and the CCAC women’s soccer co-coach of the year in 2021.
Gallo would like to thank the entire Holy Cross College community, Michiana Echo Premier, and most importantly his family for their continued support. He is looking forward to entering his 15th season at Holy Cross College.