A Coach In The U.S. spotlights international coaches who have made successful careers in the U.S. with YESsoccer.
Matt Brown directs recruitment for YESsoccer. He caught up with Dean recently and asked him to tell us how he made it in America...
Tell us about your coaching background and how got into coaching?
I started coaching when I was 17 at local area clubs in the Northeast of England. I coached as many teams as possible to learn the trade of coaching and take on board traits of other coaches.
My love of coaching developed from playing the game, by wanting to understand what good and bad coaching was. I also had a fantastic role model to bounce ideas off in my brother, who is currently a Director of Coaching at a large club in New York.
Why did you chose to coach in the the U.S.?
After completing my Sports and Exercise Science degree at Northumbria University, I found myself pondering how I wanted to apply the skills I acquired with that degree.
Having had a great experience studying the theory of coaching as part of my degree, I wanted to engage in the practical application. At the time, living in the Northeast of England I was restricted to coaching 1 or 2 teams at a time. This did not offer me the opportunity to substantially develop my coaching skills.
I was friendly with a number of fellow coaches, who were developing their coaching careers in the U.S. and they said the environment for football was thriving within the country. Each of them were subsequently coaching 3 to 4 teams at a time, which also allowed them be financially stable.
I quickly researched the opportunities in the U.S. and discovered YESsoccer. I immediately connected with Matt Brown, who is solely responsible for kick starting my journey to the U.S.
Matt connected me with the Michigan Fire Juniors, with whom I have now worked since 2012.
What is your personal coaching philosophy?
My coaching philosophy changes every year, which I strongly believe is a positive at my age and the stage I am at in my career.
Reflecting back on what and how I coached in 2012, I would not employ those techniques and content today. Currently, I am pushing the players I work with to be competitive, to battle, to have strong values and to apply maximum effort towards training and games.
Not one coaching philosophy can be used across every team I work with as every teams needs are different. Therefore, I have had to develop a flexible approach to my coaching, based upon the age, ability and development phase of the teams I work with.
What were your goals when you first joined the YESsoccer team, and what are your goals for the future?
Initially my goal was simple: To become a better coach.
I initially focused on developing as a coach, but quickly understood that in U.S. youth soccer, about 40% of your time is spent physically coaching. The remaining 60% is spent communicating, engaging, getting parents/players to buy-in, having good relationships, etc.
My first year was challenging due to a personal lack of maturity. I would not meet communication expectations, but being thrown in at the deep end allowed for accelerated personal growth. I am now in what is my third year of coaching full time in the U.S. I am solely responsible for coaching 4 teams, 2 of which were recently promoted to play within the states elite division, with a third soon to be confirmed also. I have been promoted within the club to manage the clubs social media accounts and club marketing.
My personal goals for the future are to continue to acquire my U.S. coaching licenses and develop my understanding of the U.S. coaching system. The game of soccer is ever evolving and hence, we as coaches must always strive to improve.
I also aim to help YESsoccer continually develop and I am passionate about asking how I can help, large or small with their evolution over the coming years.
You are now a valuable member of the YEScoachID Team. Can you tell us a little about how that opportunity arose and what you done as part of YEScoachID.
YEScoachID is a great opportunity to observe incoming coaches for the next year and to assess their fit for the company, based upon our Field Of Values.
I was invited to join the YEScoachID Team after showing a desire to help YESsoccer grow and to become a quality company. Our goal as a company is not to swarm the U.S. with our coaches but to make sure our coaches leave an impact in the communities in which they work. We assess coaches when they attend our YEScoachID Event based on many factors such as coaching ability, how they fit with our values and at what level they would be best suited to coaching. The YEScoachID Team assist Matt Brown and Recruitment Manager Chris Andrew plan, run and assess the events.
The YEScoachID Team are on hand following the event to help new coaches with transitioning to the U.S.
What advice would you give to a coach applying to join YESsoccer for the first time, with lofty ambitions?
I was always told that I have to serve my time before I could start pushing buttons and asking for certain advances in my work field. I would echo that advise to new staff looking to transition to the U.S. Instant success and credibility does not exist.
Despite working in Michigan, I consistantly offer to assist our SITC staff working in neighbouring states. This attitude has reflected positively on me and if an opportunity to progress has arisen, the senior YESsoccer have supported me, to repay my investment in YESsoccer.
In order to develop long term opportunities in the U.S. you can never be standing still. You have muck in and always ask the question, "What more can you do for you?".