MH: I started coaching when I was about 17, so I’ve been through a lot in 40 years. There’s not one thing that prepares you for the role I’m in now. Now I’m the Executive Director for a small organization that we are trying to grow, both at the recreational level with players that are just starting, all the way to U17.
I went from working as a college coach at LSU (Louisiana State University) to going to the Dutch Federation for eight years, then going back to the club game in the US in Michigan for 12 years, then landing the job with US Soccer at the Development Academy. In my 40 years, I’ve worked with national teams, college-level players, and also TOP Soccer (three-year-olds).
Looking back at those 40 years, what prepared me for this role is that I care about every player that plays; boys, girls, the age and level don’t matter. I’m motivated to help players get better. In my role with U.S. Soccer, I also helped with the course for academy directors, who teach the coaches. So my passion is wider than just coaching players, it’s also coaching coaches so that we can make sure that every player has the best experience possible and they become lifelong participants, either as players, coaches, referees, or even board members.
I think I’m much more mellow than I was in my earlier years when it was always about the best players. I just want to make sure the 500 kids that are in our program every Saturday enjoy their experience and come and leave with a smile. If that’s not the case, then we need to look at what we’re doing wrong.