A Coach In The U.S. spotlights international coaches who have made successful careers in the U.S. with YESsoccer.
Stephen Bell joined our team as a seasonal coach in the spring of 2012 before joining Connecticut based club, Shelton Youth Soccer Organization as a YESambassador.
Matt Brown directs recruitment for YESsoccer. He caught up with Stephen recently and asked him about his evolution as a coach here in the U.S...
Tell us about your background and how you got into coaching?
Like most young soccer players, I aspired to play professionally. I was fortunate as a youngster to develop through the youth system at Cambridge United who play in League 2 in England. I represented Cambridge United by playing for Cambridge Regional College, where I studied. I was also fortunate enough to play a high level of semi-professional football until I came out to the U.S. 4 years ago.
Once I realized that I was not going to be a professional football player, I instead set my sights on becoming a Physical Education teacher. Whilst training as a teacher, I also worked for the sports organization "Premier Sport," where I delivered Physical Education lessons and extracurricular sessions in Primary and Middle schools.
Alongside this I worked as a Regional Development Coach for Cambridge United Coaching within their Regional Development Centers across Cambridgeshire.
Why did you chose to coach in the U.S.?
I originally chose to come to the U.S. to enhance my development as a Coach and Teacher, and to return to the UK to continue Teaching. I wanted to learn from others, from different ages and different cultures, and hopefully teach them something in return.
What is your coaching Philosophy?
I believe that across any group and level of play the coach's number one priority is to engage the players they are teaching and create an enjoyable atmosphere. Keeping players hungry to play the game whether it be Recreational, Travel, Premier or College is a key component to a player's development. Across younger ages I put players in an environment where they can make decisions for themselves under my structure and guidance as their coach. This enables players to be creative, but also allows them to make mistakes, which is where players will learn.
When working with a competitive team, here the focus is more geared towards winning, I still allow players to make their own decisions, within several different systems and formations. Their decisions will be influenced by the style of play and formation. In every session, I will work on two or three systems that I feel will benefit the group and the style of players I am working with.
What were your goals when you joined first joined the YESsoccer team?
My goals when I joined YESsoccer were to work in new cultures, with different people and players, and to develop myself as a person and as a coach.
I have been fortunate enough to become a Regional Manager for YESsoccer and help continue to grow the organization, whilst passing on my knowledge and experience to new clubs and coaches in the New England region.