Head Coach - Boys
Staples High School
United Soccer Coaches Member Since 1983
Current and previous involvement with United Soccer Coaches
Member since 1983
Member, Advocacy Council
LGBT & Allies advocacy group founder (chair, 2013 to present); took a lead role in creating Diversity & Inclusion online diploma course, and Play With Pride initiative
30 Under 30 Selection Committee (current member)
Soccer Journal editorial board (current member)
Convention presenter and panelist (1998 to present)
Staples High School head coach, boys (2003 to present); 214-71-40 record; 4 league, 1 state championships; 14 Team Academic awards
NSCAA Presidential Honor Award, 2014
NSCAA National Youth Coach of the Year, 1990
Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame inductee, 2000
Connecticut Soccer Coaches Association Coach of the Year, 2012; Norwalk Hour Coach of the Year (All Sports), 2010; Sportsmen of Westport Coaching Award, 2009; Connecticut Post Coach of the Year, 2006; Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, 2006
Co-founder, Westport Soccer Association, 1975; coaching director, 1995-98
Youth club coach, 1975-1990 (ages U-19, U-16, U-14); 10 Connecticut Junior Soccer Association state championships; US Youth Soccer Region 1 finalist
Organized over 15 youth soccer trips to Europe, South America, Australia
Over 70 players have gone on to play college soccer; 10+ have been elected captains
What other experiences in soccer, other sports and/or organizations would be pertinent to your work as a United Soccer Coaches Board member?
I am running for a seat on the United Soccer Coaches board because I have spent my entire life as a soccer coach – and a uniter of people. I believe strongly that our organization is indeed made up of UNITED soccer coaches. We can all help each other learn – and we can learn from each other.
A few examples:
I organized a public symposium that drew together high school coaches, US Soccer Development Academy representatives, college coaches, players and parents. The evening included honest, open discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of high school and academy soccer, and has been viewed many times since on YouTube.
My work with United Soccer Coaches’ advocacy groups has been deeply meaningful. In addition to helping create and promote initiatives like the Diversity & Inclusion online diploma course and PlayWithPride, I’ve developed strong relationships with member groups such as Hispanic, black and women’s coaches. I was a strong proponent of including the faith-based coaches group in our organization. As a member of the Advocacy Council, I work closely with the Women's, Faith-Based and Native American groups. I have learned a great deal from coaches in these groups, and am proud to work together with them for the good of this great game.
I am also active on a national level with organizations that promote diversity and inclusion, such as Athlete Ally and GLSEN’s Sports Project. I’ve spoken nationally on LGBT issues in sports – and the importance of allies. This work has enabled me to meet a wonderful cross-section of men and women in sports and education, inspiring me to work even harder for diversity and inclusion, and to promote soccer in general.
At the state level, I serve on the Connecticut High School Soccer Coaches Association. We work closely with United Soccer Coaches on a number of issues, and advocate for the game with public and private schools of all sizes. I am also a member of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference boys and girls soccer committees.
One of the most important aspects of high school coaching is college advising. I have developed close relationships with many college coaches, in Division I, II and III. I am particularly proud that the Staples High School team I coach has won 14 Team Academic Awards from United Soccer Coaches.
My soccer writing has enriched my life. As a longtime contributor to Soccer America magazine – and the founding editor of its Youth Soccer Letter – I have had the great fortune to interview (and learn from) top coaches and administrators. I am proud of my 12 writing awards from the Professional Soccer Writers of America, as well as my most recent book, “We Kick Balls: True Stories from the Youth Soccer Wars” -- a memoir of my life in this amazing sport.
Though I no longer spend my summers at soccer camps, I look fondly at my years helping direct The Soccer Farm. Its motto was “where great players grow.” Those are fitting words for the work I’ve been privileged to do, for so long.
Taken together, I believe that my career in soccer has prepared me well for a seat on the United Soccer Coaches’ board.
What do you believe are your strengths that will make you an effective Board member of United Soccer Coaches?
I have been active in soccer at many levels: high school player, club and high school coach, journalist and author, active United Soccer Coaches member. I have watched (and helped) the game grow, from the 1970s on. Now, as our organization enters a new era, I believe my talents are well suited for a position on our board.
As a coach, I am extremely well organized. I set short- and long-range goals, and determine how best to meet them. Because the best-laid plans often go awry, I have learned to be flexible. I am detail-oriented without being obsessive.
My large staff (8 assistants) all have strong personalities. My job as head coach is to guide, inspire and empower them. I delegate responsibility well, build consensus to develop a shared path to success, and revel in each of my coaches’ successes.
It is also my job to guide, inspire and empower 25 teenagers. My greatest strength with my players is my ability to create a strong “team” environment -- not only on the field, but off. I work hard to develop a culture in which each player believes he can become his best version of himself. Our players feel part of something bigger than themselves. They work hard, have fun, and develop lifelong bonds with each other, and our program.
I have an ability to articulate my vision of this wonderful game of soccer: where we are now, and where we are heading. I have spent my career using my writing (and public speaking) talents to advocate for soccer. And, as both a journalist and a coach, I have decades of media experience.
All that experience has helped me develop two important projects for United Soccer Coaches. The “Diversity & Inclusion” online diploma course is one important way for our organization to serve members. Play With Pride inspired countless teams, while focusing a national spotlight on United Soccer Coaches as a forward-thinking, broad-based sports organization.
Above all, I am a uniter of people. My passion for diversity and inclusion -- honed during my service as chair of the LGBT & Allies advocacy group -- is one of my greatest strengths. I have learned a great deal about the issues important to many of our members, including black, Hispanic, women and faith-based coaches. I use that knowledge to help every member group -- and every member of our association.
I know how United Soccer Coaches works. I have attended conventions for over 30 years (and presented at many of them). I have lent my editorial expertise to the Soccer Journal board. I have been to the Kansas City office, met the staff, and participated in wide-ranging meetings. I am proud to be part of this organization. I am energized by its members, excited about its future, and eager to play a role on the board.
With my strong background as a coach, soccer writer, advocate for the game and consensus-builder, I look forward to the chance to serve