By Aj Pfeiffer

Over the course of this country’s history, some have claimed that the American dream is dead. However, all one has to do is look at sports to find a thousand or more examples contrary to that claim. At the University of Louisville, an example of the American dream is alive and kicking.

Tony Jouaux, a native of France, received his degree in exercise science from the University of Burgundy and came to America to learn English and pursue his passion for exercise science. At first he wasn’t able to find a job in his field. On the brink of returning home to finish his master’s, Jouaux reached out to Tom Jurich, U of L athletic director.

“I knew I wanted to work with a soccer team,” said Jouaux. “I just e-mailed a lot of schools in Louisville to offer my help. The e-mail that I thought I would never hear about is the one that I got an answer from. I e-mailed Tom Jurich about my interest in working with the soccer team. Believe it or not, as busy as he is, he took the time to forward my e-mail to men’s soccer head coach Ken Lolla.”

After another three weeks and again almost returning to France, Jouaux heard from Jason Dierking, the head of the men’s soccer strength and conditioning program. Dierking told Jouaux that he and Lolla would like to meet with him. An excited Jouaux canceled his flight home and headed from Lexington to Louisville for the interview. Jouaux described the meeting and the events thereafter as a dream come true.

“After talking to them, I knew that Louisville was the place I wanted to work for,” said Jouaux. “They proposed me to start working with them as a volunteer starting in January for the spring season. I went back to France for Christmas and came back to Louisville to start working with the team.”

Jouaux then put in four months of volunteer service for several university sports programs and, in late 2008, was offered a graduate assistant job working under Dierking.

“We share a part-time [graduate assistant] with exercise physiology that will aid us in some research projects and also help assist with certain workouts,” said Dierking, describing Jouaux’s position.

A year and a half after beginning work at U of L, Jouaux received another surprise, one that proved he was an up-and-coming coach within the world of strength and conditioning.

“I will never forget my time in Louisville, but especially Nov. 24 at 7:30 a.m. in the coaches locker room before soccer training,” said Jouaux. “Ken Lolla came in and said, ‘Tony, I have a job for you… strength and conditioning coach of the Chicago Fire. Would you be interested?'”

Jouaux accepted the position and has recently moved to Chicago to work with the Major League Soccer team, but he is appreciative of his time with U of L.

“I thank U of L for my position with the Fire,” said Jouaux. “It would have never happened without my learning experience at U of L. The success of the team has put Louisville soccer on the stage and helped me a lot to get credibility for the job.”

In an official press release from the Chicago Fire, the team looks forward to working with Jouaux and cites men’s soccer’s success last year as a large reflection of their newest staff member.

“Congratulations to Tony Jouaux and welcome to Chicago!” reads the end of the release. “We wish you a long and productive stay.”

After his time with the Cardinals, Jouaux has now moved on to a Major League Soccer program, where he says he will retain the same goals that he worked so hard to achieve in Louisville.

“My goal is not different than it was with U of L men’s soccer,” said Jouaux. “Do the best I’m capable of doing and to have the fittest team in the MLS.”

Words like these and a work ethic such as Jouaux’s prove that it is still possible to achieve the American dream, for those who never give up in striving to achieve great things.