Pro Spotlight: Kraig Chiles on the San Diego Sockers’ Push for a 15th Championship
Kraig Chiles and the San Diego Sockers are gearing up to win the MASL championship this season and want to hoist their 15th arena soccer title. SoccerToday’s Diane Scavuzzo spoke with Kraig Chiles on the expectations for the upcoming campaign and his mentorship in guiding the club’s new players — as well as his work with youth soccer players in San Diego. #QUESTFOR15
MASL Soccer News: With the San Diego Sockers’ quest for their 15th title underway, Captain Kraig Chiles is prepared to mentor the new, younger talent to the organization for the 2016/17 Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) campaign.
Building on a great legend of 14 championships, and realizing that fresh talent will help the team reemerge as the league’s best, the San Diego Sockers have a vibrant and exiting new team this year — a great balance of highly successful veterans and eager, talented newcomers to the Sockers.
One of the most celebrated indoor soccer players in America and, with a heart of gold, Chiles is a leader on and off the field — and serves as a great role model.
Chiles played his college career at San Diego State University where he was named to the All-Pac-10 team three times, including First Team All-Pac-10 during his senior year. He was selected as the 9th overall pick by CD Chivas USA in the 2008 MLS Supplemental Draft.
Chiles joined the Sockers in 2010 and earned league MVP honors on three occasions and was named to the three-man shortlist last season. During the 2015-2016 season, he was named to the MASL First Team for the sixth straight year.
Chiles has been a member of the United States Futsal National Team for the last 6 years, earning 40+ caps scoring a ton of goals. A goal scoring machine, in the Home Opener for this 2016/17 MASL season, Chiles scored a Hat Trick and provided several assists.
Chiles uses his knowledge and passion at the youth level as Director of Coaching for Cardiff Mustangs based out of North County San Diego. Chiles serves as the head coach for the club’s B06 and G00 teams.
SoccerToday spoke with Chiles on the approach of the Sockers heading into the season as they look to bring another title to San Diego.
Diane Scavuzzo: Congratulations for your first victory — winning 12-1 in your Home Opener. What is different this year at the San Diego Sockers?
Kraig Chiles: This year seems to be different for a number of reason.
It starts from the top down, with the appointment of former pro player Sean Bowers as General Manager. Bowers is great and really understands what needs to be done.
On the field, we have real depth, experience, speed, and two all league goalies — a great start for our challenge to win the national title. We are also working well together as a team.
Diane Scavuzzo: Were you involved in selecting the newcomers?
Kraig Chiles: As the captain, I was involved in selecting the players brought into the squad. Obviously, Head Coach Phil Salvagio and Assistant Chiki Luna have final say — they have done a great job building this roster. We have welcomed some great new talent to our team for this 2016/17 season.
Diane Scavuzzo: How can soccer pros effectively mentor newcomers and younger players?
Kraig Chiles: First of all, mentoring starts with setting a good example. Then it is about finding out how you can best help the newcomers or younger players succeed.
For our coaching staff and veteran players, it’s about helping our younger players find their role — and pushing them to do their job to the best of their ability.
Its important to help the younger players feel confident and comfortable playing.
It is an honor to mentor players. There is real joy in mentoring the younger players.
It is all about creating an effective team culture. Our team chemistry this year is working well. Last year, the team chemistry was not as good. When we lost a game, there would be finger pointing in the locker room. Some of the veteran players would go their own way. This year, that is not going to happen.
Diane Scavuzzo: Do you work with your San Diego Sockers’ teammates at Cardiff Soccer Club?
Kraig Chiles: I try and use a lot of the Sockers guys that may not have the time to coach club soccer but are fantastic, knowledgeable coaches at both the Sockers and Cardiff Mustangs camps.
For example, Anthony Medina — who is a real estate agent when he is not playing professional soccer for the San Diego Sockers — has helped me with several times with our youth soccer camps.