Lebanon Valley College Assistant Men’s Soccer Coach
United Soccer Coaches Faith-Based Coaches Community Member
“People ask me all the time, what’s it like to coach in college… I tell them.. ‘It’s all about soccer, but it’s not about soccer at all.’”
Who or what inspired you to pursue coaching?
I attended college at Messiah University and started for all four seasons, 1980-1984. During my time there, our team was the NCCAA National Runner Up team in 1980 and then the NCCAA National Champions in 1981. With those results, we made a play in the NCAA National Tournament during my junior and senior years, which was a first in Messiah’s history.
My experience at Messiah led me to continue to stay connected within the soccer community as I pursued an active career as a marketing executive, working at companies such as Campbell Soup, Hershey, and Ollie’s Bargain Outlet. I wanted to continue to make the sport a part of my life and decided that coaching was a great way to give back after a great career in the sport.
I’m a USSF “D” licensed coach and have coached at various clubs, such as Campbelltown/Palmyra Youth Soccer Club, LDC United, HMMS, and PA Classics. I also serve on the coaching staff at Hershey High School. And I continued to stay connected to the college game through boys’ soccer camps at Messiah College, the US Naval Academy, and Hope College. And I even brought the full color commentary to the game doing live broadcasts of Messiah University’s men’s soccer matches for a time.
Currently, I’m coaching at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA and pursuing my USSF “C” License.
What do you think the most important role of a coach is?
I’ve been strongly influenced by the late Layton Shoemaker, Messiah’s former Head Men’s Soccer Coach, who believed that coaching starts with the game, but embodies an investment into the lives of every player, well beyond the field. I know that for each of these kids, the game has a tremendous impact on their lives. But ultimately, they will be on the outside of the field one day instead of playing on it. My hope is to see the men I coach go on to have successful careers, strong families, and a strong faith. Winning and performance have a huge role in what we do at LVA, but our relationships are more important. My desire to pursue excellence with and for these players on and off the field and to invest what God has given me stems from the investment that strong leaders and coaches like Layton Shoemaker made in me. The entire LVC coaching staff is committed to living out the idea that their God-given time and talents should be used to invest in the relationships they have with the players, with the goal of leading them into being men of character on and off the field.
What are some of the core values that you and the coaching staff use to lead your program?
Head Coach Charlie Grimes and the rest of the coaching staff operate under the vision, values and principles of the program, many of which are based on biblical principles.
The vision of the LVC Men’s Soccer program is to be ’The best training ground in college soccer’. Lofty goal? Yes. But he who aims for nothing will surely hit it. We are striving for excellence in everything we do and it starts on the field and in the locker room.
Two of our core values are:
- We love one another. &
- We walk like champions.
Players in our program learn a great deal about the game but also about the importance and extreme value of relationships. The coaching staff works hard to model and emulate the love of Christ throughout all aspects of the player’s experience during their time at LVC. We are crystal clear with our players that their value to us and to the program isn’t solely about how they perform on the field. It’s way bigger than that. Our players also learn that champions in life pursue excellence in all things. And we tell our guys all the time, this isn’t just a 4-year experience, it’s a 40+ year experience. We remind them that the things they learn in their 4 years in the program will help them for the rest of their lives. The practice of pursuing excellence on the field translates to pursuing excellence in their classes, at their jobs, in their relationships, everywhere.
Who is someone who has impacted your soccer coaching career in a positive way?
For me, that’s Layton Shoemaker. He truly lived out the idea that soccer is about more than just what’s on the field and poured into me and my teammates. His leadership inspired me to lean into coaching as I wrapped up my business career. I really like pouring into our guys and just loving them for who they are. Each young man in our program is special and each has a unique and compelling story. We love them for who they are, not for what they do on the field. And we get to coach, and mentor them all along their college journey. What an honor and privilege. And we hope that we can have a positive impact on their lives and trust that they see something different in our coaching staff and that seeds will be planted both now and for the future.