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Ironhorse soldier coaches football team

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Sgt. 1st Class Ethan Braud, a transportation coordinator assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, is a coach of the Pop Warner football team, the Fort Hood Warriors.

The Warriors are not a Fort Hood team but were founded by a soldier stationed at the installation. Braud said although the majority of the 22 players are military family members, the only connection between the team and Fort Hood is the name.

Since 2011, Braud has coached the Warriors, a Pop Warner Little Scholars Inc. football team, for two reasons. For the chance to influence young children and because his 10-year-old son is a Warrior.

“Being a football coach to that age, nine times out of 10, I will be somewhat of a foundation for the choices they make in the future,” Braud said about coaching athletes ages 9 to 11.

Although coaching football or joining the Army wasn’t in his plan, he’s happy with his decision.

Joining the Army right out of high school wasn’t Braud’s original plan, but due to family circumstances he had to make a choice.

“My plan was to go to college straight out of high school,” said Braud, a native of New Orleans. “My wife ended up getting pregnant with our first kid, so I had to make a choice ... that was a big decision maker for joining the Army.”

Skills he has acquired during his military career have transferred over to his coaching style.

“The biggest one is being a motivator,” Braud said, adding that many of the players are shy, and it can take awhile for them to come out of their shell. “Me, putting them in a position to where I let them know they can be comfortable being who they are ... expressing themselves verbally or through their actions and not being afraid to do so is probably the biggest leadership skill I use on the field.”

In addition to his military experience, Braud has incorporated self-taught lessons as a coach into his Army career.

“(Coaching) makes me a better leader,” Braud said. “Being around kids at a young age and noticing how each kid has a different personality helps me as a soldier, because it makes me realize adults are the same way. Each soldier won’t be the same.”

Braud compares techniques used to keep players motivated on the field to those used to motivate his soldiers.

“Things I would have to do to get a soldier to perform at their top level won’t be the same thing I would have to do for another to perform at their top level,” he said. “And I kind of compare that to my kids.”

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