Getting to know: FCB assistant coach Casey Derkacz

Credit: Paul Hokanson |

FC Buffalo has a new coaching staff for the first time in five years, and we want to make sure you get to know the men taking over for Brendan Murphy and crew.

We started with the manager, Frank Butcher, and now get to know assistant coaches Casey Derkacz and John Grabowski a bit better.

Up now is Casey, who spends his days as the associate coach of the University at Buffalo women’s soccer program under head coach Shawn Burke.


What are you most excited about when it comes to coaching FCB?

“I think there is something exciting about having influence on a team that is representing the City of Buffalo, especially as a Buffalo native. I feel a great deal of pride in being involved at UB, and I feel the same way about FCB. It is my hope that we can put out a product that our fan base can truly be excited and entertained by.”

What qualities do you look for in an ideal FCB player?

“I honestly think when you look at constructing a roster, we obviously look for certain traits for certain positions. I believe that is quite obvious, but when it comes to general qualities you want for all your players, I think that you want a team that shows great tenacity, work rate, and, in the right moments, flair and creativity.”

When it comes to thinking about the game, what’s changed the most for you since your playing days?

“I think naturally, when you go from playing to coaching, there is a shift in mentality. As a player, you so often are concerned with doing your duty, preparing yourself as an individual, and now, in a coaching role, you have to consider preparations for an entire team. Tactically, psychologically, physically… you now have to analyze all of those facets for a group. You have to open your eyes a bit wider to evaluate the bigger picture!”

Who have been the biggest influences on your coaching careers?

“I’ve been lucky enough to learn from a number of coaches along my way and I have so many that have helped me develop a greater perspective about the game. Jim Harrigan, who had me in the early days of my playing, really was the early influence that had me considering that coaching was something I wanted to pursue. There was a lot of joy in his work- I wanted to emulate that in mine. ”

Who do you admire in the world of coaching, and why?

“As a Manchester United fan I think naturally I’d say Fergie. I found that I agreed with a lot of his philosophy in style of play; The United style that what was synonymous with highflying wing play, attacking from the back, etc. I believe Jose Mourinho has done an excellent job bringing a lot of that back this season as well.

“But, I also think as a coach, you should have multiple influences when it comes to your coaching philosophy. I do admire the way that Pep Guardiola tries to get his teams playing- very expansive, trusting the abilities of his players, etc. I do admire the way the Jurgen Klopp teams press from the front and are tenacious in their pursuit defensively. There is a lot to be said for even guys like Big Sam Allardyce who’ve perfected their style, albeit pragmatic in the approach.”

What’s your top memory from your time playing for FC Buffalo?

“I’d probably say wearing the arm band was something that was a real honor and a top memory. I was absolute garbage for the first 30 minutes of that game though so I don’t know how well it truly sits with me! There also was the Detroit trips – those never seemed to lack in entertainment value!”

Is there a game or date you are most looking forward to this summer?

“I’d have to say the opener. Opening the season at home in front of a Saturday night crowd… it’ll be something I imagine everyone will be up for!”