Seasoned Soccer Coach JT May Joins Santa Barbara SC as Assistant Director of Coaching
The youth soccer landscape in the USA is constantly in motion — and top coaches and directors often explore new opportunities. Powerful experience combined with determination can make a powerful impact. Here is one of the latest movements in California youth soccer.
Jack “JT” May has now joined Santa Barbara Soccer Club (SBSC) as the Assistant Director of Coaching. May’s responsibilities will have a major emphasis on club-wide scouting and recruitment as Santa Barbara SC looks to continue to grow and serve elite youth soccer players in its area.
Known in the soccer world as “JT”, May brings a deep knowledge and years of expertise to the role and will place an emphasis on the girls’ programming and will be working with the Boys U.S Soccer Development Academy.
JT leaves Real So Cal Soccer Club (RSC) after 17 years in both leadership and coaching positions. He most recently served as Youth Program Director, Player Identification Program Director, and US Development Academy Staff.
JT brings 20+ years of youth soccer coaching experience, including 7+ years of director level experience to SBSC. JT holds both a US Soccer “A” license and US Soccer “Y” Youth License.
“After an exhaustive search it was immediately clear that JT is by far the most qualified and most prepared candidate to make an immediate and long-term positive impact on our program,” said Greg Wilson, Director of Coaching.
Diane Scavuzzo asked JT a few questions:
Diane Scavuzzo: Why come to this club?
Jack “JT” May: Santa Barbara is like home to me. I have lived in the Santa Barbara area off & on since I left Dallas, Texas in 1995. I’ve developed deep, life lasting relationships with the people here in Santa Barbara.
Very early on I developed a love for the city and lifestyle in Santa Barbara. From 1996-2000, I played for the Santa Barbara City College and San Nicolas State championship teams.
It was at that time I connected with Santa Barbara natives that accepted me and made me feel like a part of their family. This is where I learned to speak Spanish, Portuguese and appreciate the Latin American culture that is so rich here in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara soccer club has an incredible combination and mixture of two cultures that have proven to be a winning combination at the National Level.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is your goal?
Jack “JT” May: I see the major potential that the city & county of Santa Barbara has for female soccer players.
When I look at the development Academy rosters in other clubs, there are Santa Barbara players commuting out of our community to play Development Academy.
Santa Barbara and the Tri-Counties female players are already playing at the Academy level and deserve their own Academy.
I want to help put female soccer players on the U.S. Soccer Development Academy map in Santa Barbara County. This area is a soccer gold mine for our country’s Development Academy.
I believe U.S. Soccer is not reaching the top players in the Santa Barbara County area because so many academies are concentrated to the south. If U.S. Soccer wants to make sure that they cover all the important areas of California, there should be a Development Academy here in Santa Barbara.
Diane Scavuzzo: What advice can you share with youth soccer players who dream of becoming a professional player?
Jack “JT” May: It’s important for young players to dream big.
It is every youth soccer players dream to play professional soccer.
These dreams and hopes give players ambition and drive. Ambition and drive are what helps us become contributing members of our communities.
My best advice I would give a youth player who wants to play soccer professional would be:
Play soccer every day with as many different people, genders, teams and coaches as possible.
The more you play soccer, the better you get. The more you play with different people and different groups the more resilient and flexible you will become.
My educational background in psychology — I am practicing licensed family therapist with a Masters in Psychology and I gear my practice around athletes — combined with all my years’ coaching tells me that players who are able to cope with the pressures and stress are the most likely to successfully reach their dreams.
Coping with stress under pressure is a key ingredient to making it as an elite player.
This will give you the best chance of playing soccer at the highest levels.
In his role, JT’s main function will be to grow our younger club teams, Development Academy teams, as well as the EDUCO developmental programs, spring leagues, and after-school education program. In addition to these items, JT will focus on more fully developing the girls’ program with the end goal of a girls’ Development Academy in mind.
“I am thrilled to return to Santa Barbara after having played here in college,” said JT. “I look forward to taking the knowledge gained by not only my own soccer career but my time and experience coaching in Los Angeles and bringing it to the SBSC.”
“Santa Barbara Soccer Club has a proven track record of producing national championship caliber teams, nationally recognized players, and a countless number of collegiate and professional players in its more than 25-year history,” said JT. “I have a special relationship with many members of the SBSC staff and community which will play an integral role in fostering positive changes and growth within the club.”
“While championships are important, so is the cultivation of character in individual athletes, their role on a team and within our larger community.”
“My most important function will be to unite the Santa Barbara soccer community, provide a clear vision and will utilize resources to set us up for success to compete with the top clubs in California, MLS, and non-MLS clubs. I am honored and privileged to have been selected and I look forward to making meaningful contributions to soccer in the Santa Barbara community,” said JT.
“JT has my full confidence and will do a tremendous job uniting our soccer community and implementing strategies to increase team and program development,” said Wilson. “He will have an immediate impact and emphasis on the girls’ teams and families, a welcome addition in an incredibly important area of our club membership.”
- Over the next 12 months JT will be charged with:
Assisting coaches with scouting & recruitment of all younger teams and the Boys Development Academy
- Introducing Player Development Plans (PDP) for SBSC players, inclusive of providing a platform for additional training opportunities for all players.
- Begin integration of short and long-term development plans for all female players including our top players with future league development and implementation into the Development Academy.
- Expand SBSC’s current Friday night spring league integrating.
- Increase our presence in our local elementary schools with after-school programs
- Integrating Futsal as a weekly activity for all club members
In addition to coaching, JT also holds a Master’s of Arts in Psychology and is Licensed by the Board of Behavioral Sciences as a Marriage & Family Therapist. One of his specialties is working with young athletes interested in enhancing their performance in sport, increasing their flexibility under stress, and resilience under pressure.