I started my coaching journey as an Active Duty Marine coaching my kids over 25 years ago. I was the parent volunteer that stepped in when the team would fold if there were not a coach assigned.

Looking back and being a player and transferring to a coach I was definitely a dinosaur coach. If only I had the knowledge and experience that I have now I am sure players would have enjoyed the season more. I was the lines, laps, and lectures coach and can just laugh about it now.

While still on active duty and playing for Marine Corp teams the coach who was a Naval Officer, Dr. John Thomas, inspired me to start to take Coaching Courses. I was fortunate to achieve my USSF A License, USSF National GK License, National Youth License, and formerly known as the NSCAA Premier License. He mentored me in coaching teams and teaching other coaches in the game and took me under his wing.

I worked with John Thomas (JT) in a soccer club called Villa Soccer Club in San Diego as a coach. I then moved on to be Club Director of Coaching for Mesa Soccer (San Diego Fire) as well as La Jolla Youth Soccer (La Jolla Impact) for 11 years and coached many great players and met many wonderful families.

During the time of being a Club Director, I was introduced to Steve Hoffman who is the Cal South Technical Director who provided me the opportunity to be on Staff, teach Coaching Courses and assist in ODP. Both John Thomas and Steve Hoffman were great mentors and because of their mentorship and guidance, I was able to achieve my current goal as State Technical Director.

My biggest career accomplishment was to be a State Technical Director. My first opportunity was working with the former Technical Director of Utah Greg Maas, who was a great Mentor who I had the privilege to work with for 2 years as his Associate. With guidance, I applied and had the opportunity to be State Technical Director for Illinois for 5 years. I was then provided another opportunity to go back to Cal South as the Recreational Director for 2 years. While missing the position of State Technical Director and position opening, I was afforded another opportunity in my current position as the New Mexico State Technical Director. I have been blessed to have mentored and worked with many coaches and administrators in all the positions. I have been privileged to be in as well as my new position. I will continue to stay connected and be available to anyone who I was lucky to work with.

I have had many role models in my coaching path who have inspired and guided me through the years who I have a lot of respect for. The few I will name are Dr. John Thomas, Steve Hoffman, Greg Maas, and Sam Snow. I chose these few as they provided a direct impact on my success and appointment in my career accomplishments and respected mentors.

My advice for new and young coaches is to find a mentor and get educated. Start attending coaching courses and work alongside those more experienced than yourself. Challenge yourself to reach your goal as a coach.

Be sure that it is “player-centered” and not “coach-centered” and have a plan with dynamic activities so players stay engaged and all are challenged. Allow players to make decisions for themselves with no Lines, Laps, and Lectures, and don’t be a “Dinosaur Coach.”

Rick Flores
New Mexico Youth Soccer Association Technical Director

Please join us in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month September 15th – October 15th, 2020 and throughout the year. If you would like more information about being a part of the United Soccer Coaches Latino Coaches Advocacy Group please email us. Latinocoaches@unitedsoccercoaches.org