Captain Kraig Chiles of the San Diego Sockers
SoccerToday SOCCER NEWS INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVE
The San Diego Sockers are America’s Finest City’s professional soccer team and play fast-paced indoor soccer at the Valley View Casino Center — great for sports fans and families alike, going to a Sockers game is a great night of entertainment. And, for youth soccer players, watching the Sockers pass the ball, score goals and defend their quest for their 15th National Championship is not only fun, it is a great learning experience.
Soccer News: For the 2017/18 Major Arena Soccer League season, SoccerToday will be bringing you all the best in coverage of the San Diego Sockers.
Our exclusive interview series will bring you inside the minds of players, coaches, and management, as the Sockers begin the hunt for their 15th championship.
Next, in the series, it’s current San Diego Sockers Captain Kraig Chiles.
Diane Scavuzzo: What did you think of the San Diego Sockers’ home opener?
Kraig Chiles: It was a good result. Winning the game was great — but, I think we could’ve been sharper, especially in the beginning of the game.
Getting the crowd involved and picking up a win is the most important aspect of the game. We gained a little momentum early in the year and most importantly got the win.
We knew it would be a good game. Syracuse is a quality team and a playoff contender. We did not take them lightly. Maybe midway through the season, we can be a little bit sharper.
From a spectator standpoint, it was an exciting game. The late heroics from Matt Clare were awesome.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you think of the upcoming 2017/18 MASL season?
Kraig Chiles: The goal for this season is to peak late and go deep into the playoffs.
This is probably the best roster the Sockers have put together in the last 9 seasons.
We need to make sure the team is gelling so that we have a great season.
Diane Scavuzzo: What does it take to get the team to gel?
Kraig Chiles: We just need to bond the first few months to set the tone for the season. We need to get together off the field and spend time together. We have had past film review parties and I recently hosted a BBQ a few weeks ago at my house.
When you enjoy playing with your teammates, you will play harder for them.
And when you don’t like your teammates, it can be harder.
Diane Scavuzzo: Is team bonding as important in the world of youth soccer?
Kraig Chiles: This 100% applies to youth soccer teams as well—understanding how to be a good team — and teammate — is extremely important both professionally and in youth soccer. Some kids naturally step on the field and become leaders other kids take a back seat — it’s finding a right balance. Everyone brings something different to the table.
In a tight group, we can use each other’s strengths to counter each other’s weaknesses.
Diane Scavuzzo: How is this SD Sockers roster different than last year’s team?
Kraig Chiles: We picked up a lot of talent — five extremely talented players came in. There is no sense of complacency in the locker room.
Starters on the team are battling to play and this pushes people to get better and not be comfortable with where they are at.
We are competitive at the Sockers practice — that is where players win their spot in the lineup.
Diane Scavuzzo: What does the SD Sockers’ General Manager Sean Bowers bring to the organization?
Kraig Chiles: Sean Bowers is in his second year as the teams General Manager and he is doing everything in his power to turn this organization in a more professional direction.
Unlike a lot of GMs, Bowers listens to the players and back office staff to make this organization more professional. He is not egotistical and is willing to hear everyone out and the organization has taken big strides because of it. Bowers is the main reason the Sockers are on the move in the right direction.
Diane Scavuzzo: What was it like meeting former Sockers player Nick Perera on the field?
Kraig Chiles: Perera’s a fantastic player. We played against each other in college, and of course when he played for the Sockers. But, when the whistle blows there’s no love lost.
During the game, I’ve got no friends on the other team.
When the game starts, we all have goals and objectives and we put everything aside for 60 minutes. When that whistle blows at the end of the game, we are friends again — regardless of the final score.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you think of Perera is as a player?
Kraig Chiles: Nick is one of the most technical players in the game currently. He’s a fantastic challenge.
Diane Scavuzzo: Can you describe the family-friendly environment the SD Sockers have created for the players and fans? Players have their young kids in the arena before the match starts — it is super cool.
Kraig Chiles: We have an incredible atmosphere. Part of the motivation that keeps me going is creating these memories for my children…in the locker room and on the field. Those are memories that my kids will cherish forever.
Diane Scavuzzo: What can a youth player learn from watching the Sockers?
Kraig Chiles: There’s a lot you can see and learn on that field. You can watch the pros’ footwork and youth players can gain an understanding by watching.
The speed of play and the movement off the ball — and the teamwork … can really be learned by watching a Sockers game. It is a great learning tool. I am the Director of Coaching at Cardiff Mustangs: Cardiff Soccer by the Sea and it is always great for youth players to watch a pro game.
Kraig Chiles is a three-time MVP who played on the U.S. Futsal National Team as well as in the MLS with Chivas USA, In college, he captained the men’s team at San Diego State University and holds a U.S. Soccer “National C License” — Chiles is the Director of Coaching for the Cardiff Mustangs and also gives back to the game and coaches at the Marine Corp Recruiting Depot League.