Soccer News: Great Advice From Former Top Pro Soccer Players and Top Coaches
SoccerToday Series on What I Know Now shares advice and wisdom from former soccer professionals and high-level soccer coaches. Series Includes: Rachel Buehler Van Hollebeke, Cobi Jones, Colin Chesters, Taylor Twellman, Carrie Taylor, Sean Bowers, and Kraig Chiles with Nick Perera and Ryan Guy — More to come!
Rachel Buehler Van Hollebeke
“I would give myself more grace and not expect to be perfect. I often evaluate my performance in a game and get hung up on a few negative moments instead of recognizing and appreciating the positives. I would also tell myself to focus on the controllables. I would tell my younger self to realize that there are things I just cannot change and move on. Instead, I would remind myself to always identify the things I can change and focus my energy there.”
Southern California raised Buehler is a proud member of the US Women’s National Team who played in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup and scored on the USA’s opening game against North Korea. Van Hollebeke also won the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics and just missed being on the FIFA World Cup squad for 2015. She graduated from Stanford University in 2007 and was accepted to medical school but pushed that off to continue playing professional soccer. Named by the NCAA Honors Committee as a recipient of the prestigious NCAA Top VIII Award, Buehler claimed the Cal South’s Hall of Fame award this year and currently plays for the Portland Thorns FC.
“In high school, my coach told me I was a terrible soccer player. Coaches are not always right. That is why there are coaching changes. It is important to believe in yourself and work hard to make your dreams happen. I would remind myself to always have confidence and to put in the effort to be the best.”
From Westlake Village, California, Jones is the all-time leader in caps (164) for the US men’s National Team and a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Jones played in the 1994, 1998, and 2002 FIFA World Cups. One of the top former soccer players in America and represented the USA in the 1992 Summer Olympics. Jones also played in the MLS for LA Galaxy. Now an analyst on Time Warner Cable SportsNet, Jones is also on Fox Sports.
“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for my coach at the University of Portland, Clive Charles. He cared more about me as a person than as a player and had such a profound effect on me. A coach can make a huge difference – I was told by my High School soccer coach during CIF that I wasn’t a very good soccer player. Clive made me want to run through a brick wall for him. I know now the huge impact a coach can have.”
Shannon MacMillan is an 1996 Olympic gold medalist and 1999 World Cup champion – and now is the Director of Club Operations of San Diego’s Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks. MacMillan made 176 appearances for the USA and scored 60 goals. MacMillan is a US Soccer’s Female Athlete of the Year for 2002 and claimed the Cal South’s Hall of Fame award last year.
“I wish I would have worked harder in High School and College to become a better soccer player and be more technical with the ball. Had I played futsal when I was young, I would have been a better player. Nutrition is also very important. I ate whatever I wanted to eat. Paying attention to what you eat, how you sleep, how much rest you get, were all things my professor recommended I should do, but I didn’t listen to him. Now that I am Professor in the Physical Education department at San Diego Miramar College, I know now I should have listened!”
Former Captain of the U.S. National Futsal Team, Sean Bowers was selected in the inaugural MLS Super Draft in 1996 – 26th pick in the first round. While Bowers played four seasons with the Kansas City Wizards (now called Sporting Kansas City) in Major League Soccer, he spent most of his career playing indoor soccer for the San Diego Sockers. Now he is a coach at San Diego Miramar College as well as with the XOLOS Academy and is the founder of 619 Futsal in San Diego, CA.
“Too many parents, kids and soccer coaches lose sight of the moment — for whatever reason — but if I could tell all of them something that I’ve learned it would be that all you have is the moment. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed in sports, so enjoy and live each moment, each practice, and each game as if it’s going to be your last.”
MLS MVP, Twellman had an eight-year career playing for New England Revolution. He scored 101 goals and was the youngest and fastest player in league history to reach the 100-goal plateau. Twellman’s career was cut short by concussions and he reinvented himself as a powerful TV commentator and is currently a lead ESPN soccer analyst.
“I wouldn’t change anything. The decisions I made in my life –good, bad and indifferent — have brought me to where I am today: the DOC of one of the best youth soccer clubs in the USA living in Americas finest City. Decisions made as a player could have made my playing career more high profile, but those decisions could have lead to me living a different life today. Every decision leads to a life lesson that has made me who I am and brought me to where I am today.”
San Diego Surf SC’s Director of Coaching Colin Chesters is an Englishman who played professional soccer for 4 years for Derby County FC in the English Premier League and 3 years with Crewe.
“Perhaps what I know now is that if I had coffee in college I would have been an All American — and you don’t have to crush the ball to score goals. What is important is that the motivation to get better has to come from within and not from my parents, teammates or coaches.”
Chiles is the Captain of the San Diego Sockers and was drafted 9th overall by MLS CD Chivas USA in the 2008 MLS Supplemental Draft. Chiles was on the US Futsal National Team and his in arena performance for the Sockers has earned Chiles constant MVP recognition. Chiles is also the Director of Coaching for Cardiff by the Sea Soccer Club.
Enjoy the moment: Looking back at my time within the game, it has gone by fast. Learn from everyone: There were times where I was so worried about proving myself that I didn’t take the time to learn from everyone around me. Karma comes around: Staying true to your philosophy and beliefs. It is not about the soccer: When I was young I was so concerned about winning and the X’s and O’s and always tried to out coach then the person/team I was going against. Coaching is not about the soccer really and truly-it is about the impact you have on someone.
Current Laguna United FC Director of Coaching Carrie Taylor that women don’t belong on the soccer field. A former college (University of Michigan) and professional (United States Women’s Independent Soccer League and Women’s United Soccer League) player, Taylor has coached every level from club soccer to the USL W-League. She holds a USSF ‘A’ License and a US Youth Soccer National Youth Coaching License and in fact teaches the course to other Directors of Coaching. She has also been involved with the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program for more than fourteen years.
Photo Credit for Chiles – Aaron Jaffe