June 23, 2022

Coaching the Bigger Game with Christian Devries, 25-Year College Soccer Coaching Veteran and Mentor of Many

Coaching the Bigger Game with Christian Devries, 25-Year College Soccer Coaching Veteran and Mentor of Many

In Episode 87, Christian Devries, Paradise Valley CC Men’s and Women’s Soccer Head Coach, Member of University of Minnesota-Morris Hall of Fame, Founder of Athlete of Significance and Complete Player Pathway, and Co-Founder of Coaching the Bigger...

In Episode 87, Christian Devries, Paradise Valley CC Men’s and Women’s Soccer Head Coach, Member of University of Minnesota-Morris Hall of Fame, Founder of Athlete of Significance and Complete Player Pathway, and Co-Founder of Coaching the Bigger Game, talks with Phil about his passion for coaching and how he is using his 25 years of coaching experience to help the next generation of players and coaches flourish. Specifically, Christian discusses:

  • His incredible story, how he developed his passion for soccer, leadership, and coaching, and how he is using soccer to teach life lessons to his players and many others (1:39)
  • What he wishes he knew and did at the beginning of his coaching career 25 years ago (12:33)
  • Changes he would make to our youth soccer programs to help our kids develop and flourish (21:31)
  • The college recruiting process from a coach’s perspective (29:03)
  • His thoughts on Arsene Wenger’s quote, “It’s better for an 8-12 year old child to have no coach than to have a bad coach,” and his thoughts on what makes a great coach (34:39)
  • His Athlete of Significance, Complete Player Pathway, and Coaching the Bigger Game programs, and how you can get involved with them (41:52)
  • How he is using lessons learned from soccer in his marriage and parenting (1:03:02)
  • His recommendations (1:06:45)

Resources and Links from this Episode


Phil: Welcome back to How Soccer Explains Leadership. Thank you again for being a part of the conversation. Paul Jobson and I are very excited that you are a part of this conversation and have been for the last, I think 80 something episodes just crazy. We're almost at a hundred episodes, but we are, and we've had some incredible guests and today is no exception today.

I have with me, my good friend, my partner on coaching, the bigger game. We've talked about this on the show quite a bit, and I'm excited to finally get Christian Devries on the show with me and, Christian, how you doing, man?

[00:00:37] Christian: I'm doing good. Trying to beat the heat a little bit. Being inside Phoenix is starting to approach its 112 hundred 14 degree temperatures.

So, You know, doing a little work inside, getting ready for the, the summer camp season and getting the teams ready for next fall. That's

[00:00:54] Phil: right. That's right. Yeah. It's it's, it's Folsom today 103 degrees. So we're not excited about that either. I know that's [00:01:00] like super that's like spring in Phoenix, but We'll we'll deal with it. Like we always do. So, Christian, you, you are now are getting ready for your 26th year coaching at currently at paradise valley community college coaching, both the men's and the women's soccer teams. And you've done a whole lot more and you're doing a whole lot more than that.

So I wanna let you just share your story how you developed your passion for soccer and leadership, and really just how you got to be where you are today. Working at paradise valley, working with me on coaching, the bigger game and doing several other things as well.

[00:01:29] Christian: Phil. I think that the story goes back back to college.

It really, it really does go back to college and, you know, I don't want to get into the discussion about what I think is wrong with youth soccer right now. But I think there, there is a little bit about that. Back when I was a youth player, I, I kind of got burned out. And you know, and I, when I got burned out, I, I wasn't faced with what our youth are faced with now, which is, which really scares me a little bit.

So, you know, and that, that can be part of our discussion as we talk about this, but I just stopped playing [00:02:00] soccer in my, in my, you know, my junior year in high or sophomore year in high school. And, and I didn't know quite what I was gonna do. And I, I actually ended up running cross country and I enjoyed running cross country.

I was a kid that I actually didn't have an intention of going on to college. I, I don't think my parents were really pushing me to go on to college because I didn't know where I was gonna fit in the grand scheme of things, but through running cross country I was, I was introduced to Adams State college and one of the premier cross country programs in the entire country.

And I, I decided to go to college and, and as I went there, I. I actually found out that that was a good place for me because that's where I started to find myself. And so my first exposure to really like topnotch coaches was, was Joe Vitto. I, I had one of the premier coaches in the country in any sport that I was listening to on a daily basis you know, pursuing excellence.

It, it was his idea every day we'd meet in the classroom and he would talk about how do we pursue excellence in what [00:03:00] we do and that we should always be chasing that idea of excellence. And, and he would talk to us through, through stories, but he would also talk to us about why we're doing what we're doing.

And I think that's really important when we start talking about this idea of, of coaching. How many of us as coaches are talking with our players about why you're doing what you're doing, what is the reason behind. The message that you're giving are what you want them to do, what you want them to do. And I thought that was real, real impactful as having that influence as that coach from him fast forward a little bit.

I, I only ran my freshman year and I got the knack for wine to play soccer again. And so I helped start the club soccer team at Adam state college. And I played like through there, I ended up finishing my bachelor's degree. I went on my master's at Adam state and I kind of got this niche that what I, what I really want to do is I want to be involved in college athletics.

And, and what's that going to look like now? I'll be honest with you, Phil. I didn't think coaching was the route I was [00:04:00] initially gonna go. I just wanted to be involved in college athletics and, and working with college athletes because that's where I found myself and who I was. And I thought that was such an impactful time in my life.

How can I continue to impact the lives of people that are, that are in college? Well, I got involved in coaching some youth soccer at that point. And I took my first coaching course. I had just finished my, I was in my master's degree. I was just finishing up my master's degree. And I, I was take, I took a United soccer coaches.

NSCA, at the time national soccer coach association took my first coaching course and I threw my name in for a hat for a college job in Missouri. And, and the fact of the matter is, I mean, I, I got the job I I'm 23 years old and I got the head coaching job at Missouri valley college. And it had nothing to do with what I knew about soccer. Actually had nothing to do with, even with what I knew about coaching, the coach that I just left was teaching general psychology and human relations courses.

I just graduated with my master's [00:05:00] degree in guidance and counseling. I was the only candidate that had a background in psychology. I got the job because I can come in and teach a psychology class and, and, and teach, you know, it was a small private school. So I was teaching and then I, I got to be coaching.

And that's when I really realized that this is what I want to do for, for my living. I, I, I really took that deep dive into that. So I spent some time at Missouri valley college. I had a little break as a high school counselor, and then I was very fortunate, blessed God winks. I call him given the opportunity to start the inter the intercollegiate soccer program at the university of Minnesota Morris for women's soccer.

So again, here I am a young, you know, I think I was 26 at the time. I'm starting a college soccer program. And, you know, when you, when you're doing that, there wasn't a blueprint for how to start programs, right. This was the time when programs were starting to. Pop up everywhere on the women's side, it, it was really that title IX happened.

And in that a, that, that [00:06:00] late nineties is really when boom women's soccer exploded in, in the intercollegiate market. You know, it was really because of title IX. And so there wasn't this blueprint on how you start a program. So I had to rely on what I thought was important and it always came back to how do I build relationships?

How do I, how do I, I always approach things from the positive standpoint of things. I never coached from what we did wrong. I always coached from what we do. Right. And I knew that that, that's what I knew. And that's how I went about coaching. And when you're starting and you're under resourced, you don't have everything.

You, you, you, you, you don't have all the tools. You might not have all the experience. What you've gotta rely on is what you do know and focus on, on the good of what is in people and the good of what's in your self, cuz we're gonna, we talk about that in coaching, the bigger game. The good of what's in me.

And how do I bring that out in terms of coaching to build relationships that help people. And so I coached that [00:07:00] women's program for eight years, ended up winning three conference championships, and then the school wanted to add men's soccer. And so they asked me if I would start the men's program mm-hmm well, now I had a blueprint.

I knew what it was gonna take to build a, to start a program. So I have had, now I'm starting my second intercollegiate soccer program in my career. But now I had a blueprint and I, I kind of go back to relationships. I don't know if I knew building relationships was the, was the way I termed it at the time

I knew that it was relationships that was gonna help. So it was tying into relationships with coaches club coaches you know, tying into relationships with high school coaches as well as really intentionally building relationships with kids as I recruited. So actually home visited almost every single kid I recruited, which was really that that's not typical at a, at an NCAA division three level that doesn't normally happen.

And [00:08:00] so that was important for me is building these connections with the players and the parents through home visits. And you know, what I found through doing that is we ended up not finding the best players. We found the right players. And, and that was, that was so important to that. Fast forward, I end up at spring hill college for a few years and I rebuilt the women's program there.

And and then I had to take a break. I, I mean, at that point now I'm almost 20 years in and it was time for me to take a break and my wife had just taken a job that allowed, that allowed me to take a break and it, she was focused on what she was doing. So I started building what, what I call the leadership development program.

I wanted to really focus on what were the things that made me successful as a coach. What about, how did I build these relationships? What are the lessons that I taught all my players and how could I instill that to other people? And so I, I started a company called Volta sports and sports and leadership at the time.

And from that, I, I really started to [00:09:00] take a, a deep dive in myself. I actually started to go get some coaching for myself and work on my own self leadership and what was important for me to move on because where I was stuck as a coach and what I was doing, I was stuck at how do I continue to get better?

And I was trying to get better by trying to win more games or, or do more of this. And where really got getting better is I had to redefine what my, why was, why was I doing what I did and what was important for me? And I had a mentor that kind of told me, says, well, what do you do? And, and, and I, ed de Costa, I mean, ed de Costa is this incredible mentor of mine.

And he goes, what do you do, Christian? What is it that you do? I go, well, ed, I, I coach college. I coach soccer, but I wanna, I wanna do leadership training. He says, no, you, you don't coach soccer. What do you do? And I go, I, [00:10:00] I coach college soccer. And he goes, no, what, what do you do? And it was there that I really had to sit back and go, what is it that I am really doing?

And what it was is I'm impacting the lives of young men and women at a time in their life cycle that they're trying to define who they are and what they want to become. And that when I had that experience, how can I make that experience grand for them? How do I make that experience important for them that they walked out of that college?

Truly understand. So it wasn't about that. I was a soccer coach wasn't that I was a college soccer coach. It was, I was a person that was impacting the lives of college students through the game of soccer. And when I realized that aspect of that was my why, then I was actually even able to focus more on how do I.

Impact more people [00:11:00] and do it even on a grander scale. And so that, that's kind of where that started.

[00:11:05] Phil: Yeah, absolutely. And AOS is Athletes of Significance and we will get into that a little bit more. And so yeah, what I would say is that is there's so much there, as you talked about, there's so many different spots. I mean, one of the things you, you didn't mention, and it doesn't surprise me that you didn't mention it is you were just inducted into the Minnesota Morris hall of fame for your, you know, starting up those programs and the conference titles and all that different stuff.

But I, I ventured a guess that none of that would've happened if you were focused on just winning games, but you were focused on developing people and developing programs. And, and that's, that's something that is why I love working with you on this stuff. But. But I just wanna hear, you know, with that, with all the work that you're doing, you know, in these different programs you're doing now, like, what do you wish as you go back to those early years?

Like, what do you wish, what are some of the things like, you know, now after coaching [00:12:00]entering your 26th year what is that golden anniversary? What's what's 25. Yeah, silver, golden, whatever. Some, some sort of precious metal. And what, what, what do you wish, like going back? What, what do you wish you knew?

Mean, it's kinda like a classic question. Like, you know, versus, you know, some of the things you wish you, you don't wish you knew because you had to learn 'em, but some of those things, like, what are those things that you wish you knew back then that you don't know now? I mean that, you know, now,

[00:12:23] Christian: I, I'm gonna tweak this question just a little bit for you and, and then, and, and then come back to answering the question.

Would I wish I would've done earlier in my career. I think is important to answering this question that you have as I started at, at at Missouri valley college, that first job back in the nineties I did, I did befriend you know, a coach at, at a rival school and there wasn't a rival school. They weren't a conference corner, but it was another school in Missouri and, and Rick burns.

And I got to talk with Rick burns and Rick burns was quite a bit older than me. He was later in his career and we would just we'd get [00:13:00] into talking. And, you know, he actually loved the fact that I was doing these home visits and he said, you know, what you're doing from a recruiting standpoint is different than what a lot of people are doing.

But I really wish I would've spent more time talking with him and letting him mentor me. Right. I, I, I really wish I would've, you know, here I wanna mentor you, help me, help me understand where you've been. Where I'm at and how do we navigate these different things and what have you learned through these situations?

So I really wish that I would've engaged in Rick as a mentor a lot earlier than I did, because my, the next time I really invented engaged in with a mentor wasn't until, you know, I was in my late forties, you know, so there was a 20 year span that a lot of that work was doing, I was doing on, I was doing it myself.

I was learning, but how much more could I have learned? Yeah. And so wherever you're at, if you're starting at, at stage one, or you're already at stage 10, do you have a mentor that's there to work with [00:14:00] you? I think in terms of what do I wish I knew then that I know now is and that it's really a good question because there's so many things that, you know, I wish I knew how to connect with people better.

Right. And, and that, and that comes from the, you know, you and I have talked about this, the disc assessment, I'm sure you've talked about disc assessment. The, the idea of what I learned about disc assessment and how people are operating and, and asking two really basic questions. Right. You know, you know, what type of person are you in terms of your motor and your speed and how you operate, and then are you task or people oriented and asking those two simple questions can really help me understand how somebody communicates.

I know now who I am as a quote C personality has held me back from so many incredible opportunities because I don't put myself out. [00:15:00] I am so reserved and cautious and thinking and cognitive that I've probably missed out on opportunities to engage with other people that now that I know about those things, I, I am able to put myself out there to be a constant learner and learning from people and, you know, Phil, you and I are the opposites.

And I think that's why we work well together is because some, I, I mean, I, I sometimes need that eye to get me excited. Right. Because I'm gonna be asking a lot of questions. Mm-hmm . And so if I really would've known that if I would've known disk, honestly, 20 years ago, how much better would I have connected with my players and with my colleagues and developed, developing my programs and, and not, I, I don't, I don't, I love everything that's happened in my career.

Yeah. And I've been very successful in my career, but that one question, what, what do I wish I knew then? I wish I would've known about this idea of [00:16:00] disc assessment. Yeah. You know, and, and how do people operate and think, and, and process and communicate because it's changed my entire world in the last seven to eight years.


[00:16:10] Phil: absolutely. You know, and that's why we talk about that so much on the show. I mean, it's something that you and I both, like, I wish I knew. Well earlier in my life. I wish I knew that when I got married, I wish I knew that when I started having kids, I wish I knew disc. You know, when I first coached, when I first worked with people, when I was a teenager and I wasn't necessarily comfortable in my own skin, like all these different things that it helps us understand.

And that's something that I, I get really excited. That's why, I mean, that's why you and I are doing what we're doing. That's why I teach disk. That's why I train disk. That's why I've been able to do that with the, you know, different university teams, different high school teams, different organizations.

It's because when people understand themselves, They understand others, man. Things can start clicking. Things can start happening that never would've if we're just winging it. [00:17:00] And that's usually what we do. And so, yeah, absolutely. And it's interesting cuz that's a similar answer that sir, Alex Ferguson said, I'm not saying you're sir, Alex Ferguson, definitely.

But that's a similar answer. He had to the question of what would you wish you knew at the beginning of your career? And he said I wish I knew how to communicate better and that's what disk is all about. It's about how do we communicate better? How do we connect with people? How do we understand people?

How do we understand people so that we can connect with them better and communicate with them better and resolve conflict better and do all these things better. And so that's something that I yeah, I, I think it's a, a great, great answer. And it's always a hard question too to, because. If you, if you knew all those things, you wouldn't have done everything the way you did it.

And if you didn't do everything the way you did it, you wouldn't have learned other lessons that you, we can only learn some lessons by just failing miserably and learning it through the school of hard knocks and learning it through that and failing forward. And so yet I think [00:18:00] there's things that you and I both know we're better off not failing in some of these ways, right?

Not burning bridges, not creating toxic cultures, not unintentionally having kids burn out that didn't need to burn out, but it was just, we actually burn 'em out because of how we're wired and how we don't really understand that. So that's something that I think we need to, you know, realize that there are some things that we need to let people fall off their bike, so to speak when we're mentoring them, but we don't let 'em fall off a cliff.

Right. And these are some of these things that I think we can, we can help people to ride their bikes better, so to speak.

[00:18:35] Christian: as we, as we talk about that, I'm going, you know, the, the, the difficult, the difficult relationships I had with players throughout my career.

Cause I not, it hasn't all been roses, right. It hasn't been a better roses. There there's been some difficult relationships that I've had with players and I've, I've wonder what would've been different. With those particular players, because I did connect with, with, [00:19:00] with players. I think our, my success happened from connecting with players.

Mm-hmm , but the ones that I had, those difficult relationships, what would've been different and not in terms of my win and losing that, that's, it's irrelevant to me winning or losing. It's what would've been different with their life. Could I have had a different impact on their life because the relationship might have been different.

And, and so you can't answer. So I think about even like the relationships I'm having now and with the players I work with now, and my current players, I know who they are. I understand their assessments. I, I talk to them and even, even, you know, even the ones that have been stressed relationships. I walk away feeling good about the conversations I've had with those players in that, you know, I might not just be the right coach for them, but I didn't leave them hurting.

Yeah. And, and I think that was important.

[00:19:51] Phil: Absolutely. No, and that's, that's just it, right? Like, I mean, it's not always gonna be a fit. It's not always the right fit for the, and that's something that we talk about a lot on [00:20:00] the, on the show too, what's the right fit. Right. And it's not always the right fit for you to coach a particular player and that's fine.

And that's not, not a bad thing. It's just reality, but don't make it because we don't put in the work on our end. Right. Like, have we done our work? If they're unhealthy, if they're toxic, we can hopefully help them get healthy. That's that's something that we can't force anyone to do anything. So with that, I do wanna go in, you teased this at the beginning, this wasn't even on the, the kind of pseudo script.

We don't have a script at all, but this wasn't even anywhere near the questions, but we talk a lot about, you know, youth sports and hopefully we can start. And I, as I kind of talk about, and I know Diego Bo and ager, and I talked about it kind of the redeeming youth sports. And I say that because I do believe when we were younger it was better.

Right. I think in the sense of parents were coaching a lot more. I don't think we got as serious as we you know, are as quickly as we are nowadays. And, you know, in the, the idea of year round and specialization, all those things. But [00:21:00] can you speak to that from your perspective? Like what. If there were, you know, things that you, if, if you have a magic wand and you could say, I'm gonna change these things today.

And I think these two or three things will have the most impact in helping our youth to be able to truly flourish in every area of life through youth sports, what

[00:21:21] Christian: would you, what would you do? Well, I, I can speak to it from the standpoint. This is why I'm concerned about it. This is what I think we need to understand why I'm concerned about what we're talking about on youth sports.

And, and I, and I'm talking about that age group, even starting as young as you eight now through that you 15 age, and then there's that next group is that you 15 to you 19, which is the kids that I'm recruiting, right? Those are the kids that we want to see. Do they want to come onto college? So I, I I'm really the things that are bothering me and the things that are addressed.

I I'm often asking myself this question. I I've asked myself this question. I've talked about this with a number of different people in light of the recent [00:22:00] suicides that we've seen with college athlete. We've seen this, you know, a number of, of, of athletes that have taken their lives. At the college level.

And so as a college coach, that really concerns me, what is going on and where are we missing the boat that we're having these players under so much pressure that they can't handle it anymore, that they, they, they feel the only way out is to take their lives. And so now that you I'm really, really cognitive of that idea and what am I doing with my own teams and what am I doing with training people?

And it got me thinking what is happening is we are now gone into, and, and I'm gonna call it the alphabet league. That's what I call that. I mean, that's the way I term it, whether it's MLS next, GA a D a EC and L C and L R E 64, all these quote elite platforms. And I'm seeing all these parents saying I have to have my kid in this elite platform.

We have to be doing this because it's the only way for them to get to college. And they're not gonna be able to play college soccer [00:23:00] if they're not playing at the highest level. And I, and I'm, I'm going. So we're now putting kids, I'm hearing 10 year olds are playing ECNL and parents are spending $10,000.

Mm-hmm $10,000 in a season taking their kid across the country to play an ECNL. That's a 10, they're not gonna be a college kid until win 19 18, 19. Right? Right. That's that's eight years. Yep. That's $80,000. What if you just actually put your kid in a healthy environment locally with good coaching where good development's taking place and that $80,000 you put in the bank, you don't need the college scholar.

They're gonna be able to find a good place to go play. I think that we have put so much pressure on our kids at such an early age now on these elite platforms, that by the time the kid hits high school, they, they, they, and they don't have mom and dad there. And I'm not saying mom and dad once put the pressure on 'em, but [00:24:00] they, they, they have time to focus on themselves.

And it's like, all I've been doing for the last eight years is go, go, go, go. And you know, and then this desire I have to win. I have to play at the highest level. And then all of a sudden I can't do it anymore where I think we need to go back to be able within your region, have plenty of competition and player development.

And if we have all these coaches with all these licensures, let's just focus on developing players. Let's, you know, we should be playing a game a week. Why are we going through these tournaments and playing five games in two days? And, and now we're dealing, we see injuries that are coming up. We're seeing, you know, all the burnout that is happening.

And so what I would love to see changed within the youth soccer world is can we go back to just staying regional community based planning thing? I mean, and I've never been to the UK. I, I honestly I haven't been to the UK, but what I do know about it, you play within [00:25:00] your community and in our little community and our little neighborhood's gonna go play your neighborhood and we're gonna play this.

And, and it, the, the desire and the play happens through that. And we build that up and, and stop putting pressure on the league that you're playing in is gonna get you to college. Yeah, I'm really, really passionate about this. We can talk about AOS and, and the complete player pathway that I talk about there is when we start using the leagues, the alphabet leagues as part of our recruiting tool as parents.

What we're doing is we're going straight to identification. We're saying the only way my kid could get recruited is if they're in this league, mm-hmm right. And what you've missed out on is you've missed out on an entire pathway where all the fun is and where all the enjoyment is and where all the learning takes place.

And that is how are you planning for college? How are you going through a process of knowing what it takes to be recruited for college and, and understand that process and understand what coaches do. [00:26:00] And then how do you develop yourself mentally? How do you develop yourself physically? How do you develop yourself spiritually?

How do you develop yourself in terms of what I call leadership? And then finally, character skills. Once you've done completely a planning process and you've, and you've, you understand the process to get recruited and you've developed and, and you've worked on these other aspects, then identification can happen and it doesn't have to be at the league.

Yeah. It could, it could be, it could be plain high school. I've recruited an all American out of a high school game. Yep. Yep. I mean, I, I, I just, absolutely, I, I just don't understand why we think that we have to have all these elite platforms and what every new elite platform that comes out, we're diluting, the previous lead platforms are already there.

Yeah. So what we're actually doing is diluting the development process of the players

[00:26:54] Phil: and from a, from a college coach, it makes it more and more difficult for college coaches to actually be [00:27:00] able to recruit well and identify talent because a lot of the best teams aren't even playing against each other.

Nope. Because there's too many different platforms, too many different tournaments. The, the ECNL tournaments going on the same weekend as surf cup, the same weekend as the ODP tournament, the same weekend as the national, you know, for us Ys. And it's, it's just. It's ridiculous. So you can't, I mean, and their budgets, they have to say, okay, well, I'm gonna have to just go to one tournament.

So they pick the ECNL or whatever. And some of those ECNL games are 12, nothing. And some of the other, you know, it's just, it's, it's just, like you said, there's, there's so much to it. And that's why I was saying, you know, so much of it is you talk about go regional. Like that's what we used to do. I played in south orange county, California, and I remember we had some of the best tournaments in the country.

Like it is now, but we didn't have people from all over the country. We had play, I mean, maybe a Phoenix team. Like we were like, wow. Their team came from Phoenix. That's crazy. How fun? You know, I think when I got older, it was like 16, 17, maybe you see a Utah [00:28:00] team or something, but you never saw like a New Jersey team or something else because it just wasn't even, it wasn't even part of the deal, you know?

And you know, some people are gonna write in and be like, Hey, I was in New Jersey and I played there in 1988. Okay. Fine. There might have been one offs, but point is it, wasn't the norm, which it is now. It wasn't the expectation, which it is now. And you talked about that like eight years. I mean, take the money aside.

If all you're doing for eight years is telling these kids, this is what you have to do to get to the next level. You haven't even asked them that. What, what's the most important question there? Not the most important, one of the most important que do they even wanna play at the next level? How do they know at 10

They don't, they can't possibly know at 10. But, but I mean, I, I don't wanna just speak for you. You're a college coach. I'm not a college coach, you know? So from a recruiting perspective, am I right on that? As far as, how hard is it to recruit now? Like what the heck?

[00:28:53] Christian: Yeah. Well, I, I mean, I, I, so again, when we can talk genders, yeah.

I coach both teams now and I've coached both teams throughout my career. I've coached on [00:29:00]the women's side, I've coached on the side and now paradise valley. I'm actually coaching both teams. So I recruit both teams now. And even I, I can see even on, you know, there's a difference in the genders. Mm-hmm right.

The guys with the guys, I, I can go out and I, I, I host a tryout and I can have 50 guys show up for my tryout. Right. And, and I've got guys that are contacting me all the time on the girls, I think because of the success that we've had on women's soccer in the us and women's soccer, we were the first country to truly embrace developing the women's game, the female game. So, and then NCAA really embraced that when I talked about, again, back in the nineties, when the title IX happened and, and, and the, the blow up of soccer, women's soccer became the equalizer for gender war equity against other sports. And so there was, and there still is there still more women's soccer programs in this country at the college level than there is men's soccer.

Mm-hmm mm-hmm that, that, that, that's just the reality. There's more opportunities. [00:30:00]There's more scholarship money out there for women. And so when that happened, We started seeing this big influx on the girls ECNL started with women or with the girls. There was an ECE voice team for, I don't have many years.


[00:30:12] Phil: right. Yeah. Just came that's brand new. That's like two, three years old. Yeah. Right. So

[00:30:16] Christian: EC and L that, that was that first kind of maybe that elite platform that really started to take hold was ECNL. And I think it, you know, I think again, if the intentions was right, they, they tried to have the regional locations, but then people started thinking I have to go all the way from New Jersey to Phoenix, you know, that, whatever that is that happened, but what has happened in the women's side, again, we've put so much pressure on these young girls that they're missing out on their high school years.

And I hear this all the time. This is not, this is not me guessing this is not a speculation. Mm-hmm . I am telling you specifically, as I've talked to players, high school players about one going playing college soccer, I would venture to say one and three have decided not to play out after college. Oh yeah.

Or after high school. Oh [00:31:00] yeah. But they're done. Because they've missed out on their high school experience. And what they tell me is I just wanna go and be a college student and have fun. Mm-hmm mm-hmm and, and I'm talking, these are top level players. Oh yeah. That could play at the vision one. Yep. Big programs.

And so, so now we we're actually seeing easily I'm I'm telling you, I think it's about one in three, maybe one in 4 25 to 30% of our female women players at high school are choosing not to play. Yep. Yep. So you've already decreased the amount of play. Secondly, now we have more women's programs than any other program out there.

And so now there's more opportunities for women to play. So it becomes even harder in terms of the recruiting and how you go about recruiting. That now becomes we, we get into this fight and this is where, what happened is through this entire fight, we started recruiting the kids earlier and earlier and earlier and earlier.

Because we're having eight year old, eighth graders commit to college. Mm-hmm mm-hmm, what is an, that, that was [00:32:00] completely asinine. And so at least the NCAA came in and, and stopped. Communication aspect of things. Right. You know, and, and tried to scale back that when you can start to talk to the athletes is a more reasonable time in their junior and senior year. Yeah. Because we, we created this monster of we, we gotta, I gotta commit by my freshman year, otherwise I'm not gonna find a place to play

[00:32:23] Phil: that's right.

Yep. Yep.

[00:32:25] Christian: It's it's. It drives me nuts.

[00:32:28] Phil: Let's it's crazy. And I, I will say, like, you just threw out an anecdote, I'm gonna throw out another anecdote. I mean, you threw out like a stat that is, is not based on any study by the way, but it's based on experience. Right? But that one in three, I had three girls on our, our, my high school team this year, all three made first team, all leagues Sierra Foothill league, best league in, in Northern California.

And three of 'em made first team, all league. One of 'em is playing in college. Three of 'em, all three of 'em were ECNL players. All three of 'em could have played D one [00:33:00] and one of 'em chose to go and she just. She signed in the last two months with one school. And then she actually got another offer for, for money recently.

And so the, these, this is the reality that these, these girls and boys, but, but I think girls even more so are, are, like you said, they're missing out on their, on their college or high school years. It's like, they've been playing college soccer since they were 12. Cuz they've been traveling without their parents.

They've been traveling all over the country. They've been playing in these showcases with people from all over the country. It's, we're putting 'em in these situations. They're absolutely not ready for and through that, they're missing all these lessons that we've been talking about. One thing I wanna say before, and I do want to get into those lessons because that's what AOS coaching, the bigger game, the complete player pathway, all that is all about is teaching those lessons and make sure we don't miss those lessons.

But one of the things I, I just read this quote today. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on it. I know I. I, I agree with it, but I, I, I think this, this is another issue we have with youth sports is because there are so many clubs [00:34:00] and so many teams, we lack a lot of, you know, really good coaches at those younger levels.

And quite frankly, at the older levels too, we have a lot of coaches, but not necessarily a lot of them are great coaches when you consider life skills, when you consider character, when you consider even the soccer side, but Arsene Wenger had a quote and he said, it's better for an eight to 12 year old child to have no coach than to have a bad coach.

And what do you think of that?

[00:34:29] Christian: Uh, I absolutely. Yeah, I absolutely, I, I mean, listen, we can talk about the game being the greatest teacher, right though. Whether it was soccer or whether it was, we called it Home Run Derby when I was a kid or whether we call we, we had our version of, of touch football, flag football.

I mean, we created our own games. Yeah. Based on the environment that we had and the circumstances we had. And we went out and we made the rules and we created the games and that's where we learned. That's where the fun of [00:35:00] competing comes in and those types of things. And so, yeah, I, rather than having a coach tell me, and then the coach, that's doing it wrong.

And the coach that's yelling all the time or the coach that is not giving, you know, the right things. I mean, I just read, I just literally read a, a post again. And this post was from a couple years ago is right after Iceland made their big run. Right. You remember Iceland? Mm-hmm I do. Yeah. Okay. So this was a post that came back up, but by talking about Iceland and that run that they made and how the, you know, they actually got the world behind them.

Let's talk, let's be serious. The entire world was Iceland with that. But how did that happen? It happened because Iceland made a decision that their best coaches were gonna coach the youngest players. right. They, they, they, you had to have the, you had to be, have a certain licensure to be working with the younger players.

Secondly, they have a, I, I can't, I I'm not, I don't wanna be quoted wrong, but it's this crazy coach to [00:36:00] player number that that is, you know, ridiculous where the players are getting that interaction with the coach at a regular basis. And they've, they've invested in the facilities and all those types of things.

So I, I think part of it is we think our best coaches need to be with our best players and our highest level players. Why don't we think about flipping that a little bit and let's, let's have some of our high license coaches with our younger players mentor. Volunteer coaches, mentoring young coaches. Why are we, we, we have this crazy model that's set up that you gotta go through all this licensure system, but you're not really being mentored.

You're trying to learn along the way. Why aren't we put better coaches with the younger coaches at the younger level and do some mentorship and, and teach and, and develop coaches that way. I think the other piece back to my whole experience of what I do, how I, how I've grown up, we are thought that coaching is about coaching Xs and OS, okay.

Anybody that [00:37:00] studied John wooden has got to know that the X and knows was the last thing that John wouldn't worked on. Mm-hmm , mm-hmm it was the pyramid of success. Right? And how he, how you show up and how you, how you show up every day and that, you know, you, you, you can't miss a practice and come back and gimme 110% because there's no such thing as 110%.

There's only a hundred percent. Yep. Right? So you need to gimme a hundred percent every day. And so I, I focus on what is our, what is really a coach? I mean, how do we really define a coach? What is the job as a coach? And so if I'm doing speaking and I've spoken to for state or associations, you know, I've, I've been at the United soccer coach convention running panels.

And when we start talking about what it is, that's going on, and we want to answer these types of questions, what I often find out, I'll ask, why do you coach? And you'd be surprised the coaches, I wanna teach life skills. I wanna [00:38:00] be able to, you know, to help them become a better version of themselves. You know, they say all, they say all the right things.

Mm-hmm . But then when I ask them, how are you doing it? Mm-hmm they don't have an answer. Yep. What they are doing is they're going and trying to figure out how to win by coaching Xs and OS. Yeah. So they go and they, they don't know how they plan to build life skills. Yeah. Or what I call character skills mm-hmm or what I call leadership skills and understand.

I I'm very intentional. I, I want your, I want the audience to hear this. Phil, all of these things are character skills, leadership skills. Okay. They are not traits. Yeah. They are skills because they can be learned. They can be taught. They can be improved upon, they can be developed. And so as coaches, we have to do a better job.

If, if we're gonna say, that's why we wanna coach, then we have to have that implemented into what we do. Mm-hmm right. It's not just about the XO O so we need to stop [00:39:00] coaching for the wins. On the field and for the scoreboard and for the feel good, we need to start coaching for making players, enjoy the game and, and, and feel good about feel how they played when they walked off that field win loss or tie.

Yeah, absolutely. It's really, I think that we need to, that's part of what we talked about coaching a good coach understands us a good coach is not playing for their record. A good coach. Isn't playing for their ego. A good coach. Isn't playing for wins and goals. A good coach is playing to make sure that every single one of those players can become the best version of themselves when they're done at the end of the season.

[00:39:38] Phil: Yeah, absolutely. You know, and that's something that, you know, it's interesting cuz how the last two episodes, I didn't, I didn't intentionally do this, but last week George Blamoh of, of he's, he's the amazing life coach over in Liberia and to hear his story and how he went through a lot of these things.

And I, I just imagine he didn't have, you know, these UAFA [00:40:00] a licensed coaches that he was getting coached by early on in Liberia, you know, but, and he was actually told by people early on, like you're never gonna make it. You're not gonna, like, you don't have a chance you're too weak. You're, you know, whatever.

And he ended up making the national team and he ended up, you know, getting a double masters after people told. And he, then what did he do? He went back to coaching and he decided that, you know, coaching isn't about. Xs and OS this is a guy who played on the national team. This is a guy who had to work his tail off and he realized that he can actually teach them about life.

So he created the whole life coaching book that we had last week. Go listen to that episode from last week. Amazing, amazing man, doing amazing things. He ends up being an ambassador to the UN just incredible, incredible story. You heard it last week. If you didn't hear it, go back, listen to that and check out that whole life coaching book.

But the reason I bring that up is because you similarly have coached for a really long time. And you realize like, as you just said, it's not about the Xs and OS we know John wooden said, it's not about [00:41:00] the Xs and OS. Right. Great coaches, look at it and go it's about so much more. And you know that too, which is, you know, why you started.

AOS. And you could develop that athlete of significance program, and then you, you develop complete pair pathway. It's why we are doing coaching the bigger game, but can you just kind of start with AOS and give the progression of why you're doing what you're doing beyond coaching? Cuz you could just, you know, continue coaching right off to the sunset as many coaches do and has nothing wrong with that.

But you're saying there's more and I wanna just hear that story, like just, you know, what, what is that more and why do you think it's so important to be doing what you're doing and what we're doing together with coaching the bigger game?

[00:41:42] Christian: Sure. So I, I think it stems from Phil as I, as I was in that transition of leaving you spring hill college and kind of, I was working on, you know, what am I gonna do next?

I, I, I didn't, I walked away from the college game, but I don't know if I, I was walking away completely. I knew I might [00:42:00] wanna get back into it, but what was I gonna do during that time? And I started to focus on, on my, myself and. Listen, I I've gone through my, a, B and C license. I've gone through United soccer coaches, premier and national license.

I've done the goal, keeping licenses. I've, I've even done a Brazilian license and you know, all that Xs and OS stuff is fantastic. I even sat on a UUA for license you back in December the C license. I, I didn't, I didn't didn't get it. I just sat in and that was helping one of my, one of my other good friends as he, he was working on that.

So that was to just continue to gain knowledge and everything. But one of the things that always frustrated me, because I had to go back to coach V hill that really poured into us the why we we're doing that. When you're at these coaching clinics, we spend like 10 minutes and I'm exaggerating mm-hmm but you, you might spend a lecture on sports psychology yeah.

In the entire coaching license. But if I go and I talk to high level athletes, they [00:43:00] they'll sit there and say, you know, it's when you get to the highest level, the talent is all the. Really at the highest level, the talent is the same. What separates you? Yeah. And it's your character, it's your leadership.

It's your mental attitude. It's your mental skills is what separates the players at the highest level. So if that is, if that's true, then why aren't we doing more of that in our coaching education programs? Yeah. So I, that, that's what, that, that, there's something that always stuck with me. And so as I walked away, one of the things I wrote down is I really don't believe that coaching is a, is a four pillar process.

I, I, I don't, I, I, you know, we've been told technical, tactical, physical, psychological, and then we don't spend enough time even on the psychological, as much as we do technical, tactical and physical, at least, you know, not my experiences. We we've focused on all these. And then we're just now starting to see the psychological pillar being developed and we being more caught aware of [00:44:00]that.

Right? Yeah. You can talk about the different things that are out there, but honestly, I, I believe it's more than that. And, and this stems from working with college athletes and working with high school athletes, I actually call it eight prongs. I think there's really eight prongs that are athletes are going through, and we have to understand these eight prongs.

And, and I think where I, I, it, it turned and we, you and I have changed it a little bit, but I initially turned it in when we focus on just four pillars, when we focus on physical technical tactical, and, and then psychological there, we're really focusing on you. What I call. Being athletic centered. How athletic are you?

How technical are you? How you know that, that we're, we're focusing on the athleticism of being an athlete. Yeah. And I really believe as coaching and this comes back from my studies of John wooden, my studies with, with Joe V. Hill, my, my studies, Carol Tony Dungy. Right. I, I, you know, coaches from other areas, we need to be more athlete centered.

And what do I mean [00:45:00] by athlete centered, there's more, that's influencing an athlete than just the technical tactical and the physical. We have to understand their academics. How are they learning? Not, not only what are they doing in school and what they're learning, but how do they learn? What is their process to learning?

Do we understand how they learn? We need to have a, we need to have what I call. I call a spiritual prong. I call it a spiritual prong cuz I'm faith based. My, my spiritual prong is based on my faith. I know I'm gonna come across non faith based players and coaches. So I call it the moral prong. It, it could be your moral compass.

Mm-hmm right. My moral compass is based in my faith, but what is it that's helping you make the decisions that you're making in life. Why are you going to do this? What are you looking to? That's helping you make those decisions that you are gonna be faced with, cuz you are gonna be made face. I don't like this person.

How am I gonna respond to that person? I don't like what happened to me here? How am I gonna deal with that? Why are we do we not talk about that? So we need to have that, that spiritual prong needs [00:46:00] to be really, you know, in, in depth and understanding there. I kind of, I, I kind of put psycho and social together.

I think the sociological aspects, what are we doing from a sociological aspect? Do we understand the environment in which our kids are coming from? If we don't understand the sociological impacts of our players, we're missing the boat as coaches. We have to understand what is influencing them at home. I am now in a very large Hispanic population.

I have a large group of first generation Hispanic students that come in play for me. And I, you know, I'm like I come from a Hispanic family and I understand that, you know, a lot of these young men that I coach the next step for them after high school is going and working with dad, mm-hmm are working for the business, but what can we do to change that, that, that narrative, that they get an education that can actually change the narrative for the family, because they do get the education.

I, I had to get [00:47:00] parents to come into the home visits and I had to have mom and dad in agreement with why the kid wants to come and play for us. Yeah. Because if I have mom and dad in agreement with us, then we start to break down the social barriers that might be in play for me to get the most outta my player.

If I don't do that the first time dad calls and says, I need you here at the work site, what's a kid. He's leaving practice and he is leaving his team hanging. That's right. That's right. So, because of this, so, so we, we have to be aware of that sociological aspect of what's happening.

[00:47:32] Phil: And I think that, that, you know, if you, if you wanna picture that folks, like we're not just making this stuff up, go actually is obviously dramatized.

But that movie McFarland, I think did a really good job with that, right. To show that picture of, Hey, my, my dad needs me. We gotta, we gotta work. And then for the coach to understand that, to be able to come into that and say, okay, how can we have a win-win here? Right? How can we cuz these kids need running and cause I was a cross country movie and you need them on [00:48:00] the farm.

So how can we make it a both and rather than an either or what does that look like? But you need to understand that before you could actually come into that. And,

[00:48:08] Christian: and then leadership skills. I I'm just, so I'm so passionate about what we call leadership and character skills, you know? So that, that was this idea of how do we create an athlete centered?

You know, we, we focus on the being an athlete centered coach that that's mm-hmm . So I had this idea of this eight prongs back in here, and that I wanted to mold it and develop it and, and work on that. And at the same time it was okay, where have I had great impact really at the time is what's really with the athletes.

And you know, I woke up in the middle of the night, one night and literally felt in the middle of the night, I woke up in a dead sweat, and I had to go find my journal. And I wrote my journal AOS athlete of significance. And what it was was this idea that coaches don't recruit [00:49:00] success, they recruit significance.

And what I mean by that is coaches are looking for the players that are gonna bring the greatest value to their programs. Your talent is important. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying talent doesn't matter. Your talent absolutely does matter. But also what matters with your talent is who you are, the character you're gonna bring the leader.

You're gonna be the type of person you're gonna be when you show up on my campus. Mm-hmm, just being a good player is not enough anymore. Right? You have, what is the full value you're gonna bring to my program? And I determined that as being significance. And so we wrote an entire curriculum based off of this idea of significance that we have 12 skills of significance starting with being a servant leader.

The very first one is S is a servant leader. How are you going to serve those around you? Because only when I give up myself and if I can teach my players to give up [00:50:00] who they are and give of themselves to their team, Will they get in return tenfold mm-hmm so if I really want to go to the next level, I'm I gotta learn to give of myself so that I open myself up to receive more.

So, you know, it's so important. So we talk about servant leadership. We talk about having integrity. We have a talk about, you know, having an attitude of gratitude. We had talk about what it means to be a nurturing player. Mm-hmm how do we nurture those around us? You know, at the college level, you're gonna be a senior.

How are you gonna bring along the freshman as they come in? What is normally what we do? Mm-hmm we haze the freshman and say, you gotta

[00:50:35] Phil: take care of all the equipment. That's right. Exactly. We make them, we make them serve. We make them be the grunts.

[00:50:40] Christian: Yep. But you talk about the all blacks. What do the, all blacks say?

Sweep the shed

[00:50:45] Phil: leaders. Captain sweep the shed. That's right. They're the servant leaders.

[00:50:48] Christian: So, so we, we need to talk about how do, how do we have this nurturing attitude to bring our players in, but you wanna know what another one isn't how do have we taught our kids truly how to be competitive. [00:51:00] Hmm. I think we teach 'em how to win.

Right. But is that being competitive? I, I, I, I think that's a skill that needs to be taught. And then we talked about absolutely. Absolutely. How, how do we learn to be competitive? So AOS stemmed from there and that they, we created a, a recruiting education platform to talk about AOS and develop that and start talking with clubs and organizations.

And we come into a club and we work with you and we give you that experience. And then from AOS, again, kind, the complete player pathway came out that that's part of that complete player pathway mm-hmm . But the funny story is you and I initially got on a discussion. The talk about you wanted to bring me on a year and a half ago, a year ago, early in your, in your podcast.

Mm-hmm you wanted to bring me on and, and talk a little bit about AOS and through a common connection with. and you and I started talking and you, you said something about coaches and I go, well, I really have my burning passion back over here. I have this real big thing and that's coaching the bigger game right now.

It wasn't turned [00:52:00] that at the time, right. It was turned at how do we become an athlete centered coach? Mm-hmm right. How, how do we do that? What does it mean to be an athlete center coach? And what do I need to do as a coach myself, that, to develop athletes that you know, and focus on this, on my athletes as, as individuals and as you and I talked more and more and more, we, we we've decided to collaborate and we've come up with this, this program called coaching, the bigger game, elevating significance in sports.

We are elevating the value that sports has in our lives. What are the leadership things that we are learning? What are the, what are the lessons that we learn? How do we grow through this experience and sport in our lives and elevate what we do and what we give back to others. And really the focus on, you know, Phil is, it's not about coaching.

The bigger game is not about Xs and OS. We're not gonna get together with you and [00:53:00] talk about what formations you should be playing. We're not gonna talk about the differences between 3, 4, 3, and 3, 5, 2, and 4, 3, 3, or whatever. We're, we're gonna talk about how do you deal with a difficult player? How do you deal with parents that are questioning things?

We're gonna talk about how do you actually, I know where we really start, how did I develop myself to become a better person? That's right. We start on self leadership. Yep. Right? If, if you want your players to become better players, then you better start focusing on yourself to become a better coach.

Mm-hmm . because if all you know is Xs and OS all your players are ever gonna learn from you is Xs and OS that's right. That's right. So we start with learning what, defining what your Y is. Yeah. So, you know, we can talk a little bit about the big game is, is it's really, it, it's a process of elevate self.

The coaching, the bigger game is how do I elevate myself as [00:54:00] a coach first and foremost? I've spent a year and a half taking a deep, deep dive in my own personal development and leadership through mentors and, and being part, you know, John Maxwell and, you know, Scott Fay and ed de Costa. These are three men that really poured into my life beyond not just being a, a soccer coach, but how, who I am and how I develop what I want.

Then from there, we start to focus on, we need to, we need to elevate the player first. Mm-hmm how do, how do we elevate the individual? So we've elevated ourself. Now we gotta look at elevating the player and how do we, how do we understand the player and who they are and get them to reach their full potential only from elevating the player, then we can start to work on the team.

Yeah. But where do most coaches go right away?

[00:54:48] Phil: They start with the team. How do we make a healthy culture? Yep. I, I, you know, and there's nothing wrong with that, by the way.

[00:54:55] Christian: No, we're not saying, but there's, there's, we're saying there's a better way. Start. [00:55:00] So we elevate self elevate the individual. Now we elevate the team and when we're elevating the team, now we are starting to see new things happen and the dynamics that happen and what happens with your team, it's just like, it's, it's so exciting.

You know, it gives you the goose pimples. You it's like, this is why I do what I do. Type thing. That's what I wanted. And then what ends up doing is you're leaving your legacy and see. And the legacy that I wanna leave is not that I was a hall of fame coach because we won all those championships. The legacy I wanna leave is every single one of my players is a better person because they played for me.

That's right. And when I stepped away from coaching, that's when the real eye-opener was for me. That's when I woke up to the idea about this idea. This idea lit a fire in me is because not one of my players talked about the six championships we won. Not one of my players talked about all American accolades, not one of my players talked about, you know, everything that happened.[00:56:00]

I had players saying, coach, I still use the lessons that you taught me every day. Coach. I remember when you taught me this and it, it, it, it, it still sticks with me today. I had parents saying, my son is a better communicator because of you. Yep. I, you know, I have a father that says, I can't believe the, the person my son has become because of being with you and working with you.

Yep. That's coaching the bigger game.

[00:56:24] Phil: That's right. That's what keeps us coming back. And that's why we're doing what we're doing. And, you know, and it's something that I, I look at it and go, those are the things that when I said nothing's wrong with teaching culture in a team, what I, I think there is something wrong with skipping yourself, skipping the individuals to go straight to team, because then you're missing everything.

And if you're toxic as a coach, the rest of the cards are gonna fall. If you have toxic individuals in your team, the rest of the cards are gonna fall. You know, you're gonna, you have to, you don't wanna have to root out. I remember going back to the first inter interview I did for this show with Paul [00:57:00]back in episode two.

And he talked about that. He goes, I'm probably slower than most coaches would recommend on getting rid of the viruses and the team. I want to be able to, you know, help them to heal. And that's what we want to teach. Is that, is that, how do we help them to heal? Well, you gotta know yourself and how you're coming across to 'em before you can go into that fray and you need to know who they are and how they're wired before you can go into that phrase.

So those are a lot of the things that, that we talk about. And we're gonna talk about on this now we've talked about coaching, the bigger game, a lot on the show already, so we're not gonna dwell on it. I did want you to, I wanted wanted people to be able to hear your perspective on it and where it came from from your perspective.

Cause I did do an off season talk on coaching, the bigger game back in, you know, like probably 40 episodes ago or so you can go back and check that out. If you wanna learn more about the nitty gritty of it and what it looks like. You can also go to coaching the bigger game.com to find out all the details you want to know and how you can sign up and how you can get involved.

You know, one of those [00:58:00] things that we've talked about is if you're a parent listening to this and you're thinking, man, this sounds great. I wish that my coaches did it well, get it for 'em. Right. You know, that'd be a great gift at the end of a season or the beginning of a season better yet. Don't wait till the end of the season, you know, because you want your kids to be able to benefit from this.

This is, you know, years, decades of experience, as coaches, as leaders that we're bringing to the table. It's not just us, either. We're bringing in other people, you know, John Wooden's to all these other people that we can't bring John wooden in himself. But fortunately he has memorialized his thoughts and his teaching in a lot of books and a lot of different things.

And we have scoured these different leadership, amazing leadership tools to be able to put it together for the coaches. So that's something that, that I strongly encourage neither Christian, or I would be wasting any time with something that we didn't believe in ourselves and that we haven't used ourselves.

And we just want to take these lessons we've learned. The years in the last couple decades and say, how can we put this down into a program that can help the younger coaches and [00:59:00] older coaches? Who've never thought about this stuff. You know, these are critical things to be able to get the most out of our players and quite frankly, to flourish ourselves.

So that's something that, that we want to do. And, and you know, I, I, I wanna just kinda wrap up the episode cuz we are over the hour mark, which is just crazy that we're already there, but I, I, I do wanna wrap up the episode and, and first before we ask the last couple questions I ask for everybody, how can people get information on athlete of significance and complete player pathway for their, for their kids or if they're a coach for their

[00:59:31] Christian: teams.

Yeah. And so, AOS sports.com is where AOS is at. And then complete player pathway.com is, is where you can get information about the complete player pathway and look into that. You know, we're actually in the process of, of. Bringing out some new things. And so I, I go new launch, shall we say, as we continue to up level what we're doing and, and as we're working with some things.

And so I don't have the complete player pathway has an, a great overview, but [01:00:00] understand within the next, you know, month or so, there's gonna be a home whole nother aspect. That's gonna come into play with that. Whether it's bringing it to a club, whether it's bringing it to a team, whether it's bringing it, you just want it for your families.

It's about understanding the process and you know what this, this recruiting process doesn't need to be scary. Yeah. Okay. It, it doesn't need to be scary. And you, and, and please, I would say pay attention to who you're listening. Right. Yep. Who are you listening to? That's giving you the advice. Are you listening to one parent that went through the process and how it worked for the one parent?

Well, the only, the only perspective they have is their perspective mm-hmm and what they did and what they did worked for them. But is that perspective gonna work for you? That's right. Whereas we are talking about over 25 years of experience of coaching college soccer and seeing the different levels and talking with college coaches and how they go about doing it.

And that, you know, I [01:01:00] think I would like to know how a college coach actually recruit so that I can make sure I'm putting myself in the right position to be recruited. That's right. That's right. Right. And, and so, and even as college coaches, we recruit differe. So it takes, it takes different ways in terms of how you might approach different college coaches.

[01:01:19] Phil: That's right. And I've been through the recruiting process on the other side with my kids and with myself and my wife went through that back in the day, and now my kids have gone through that as well. And to be able to bring that perspective to it, I think is, is important as well. And I, I remember, I not remember, it's not like it was a long time ago.

It was literally a couple hours ago, but I saw another post Don Williams posted something about, Hey, this June 15th date that's coming up. Yeah. Like it's just a date. You know, people will be bragging. People will be posting. People will be saying, oh, I got contacted by this. Or I got contacted by that.

You know what? It's just a date and it's not the end all Beall and don't freak out [01:02:00] and don't get too high on your horse. Right. And that's something I wanted to say too. When you say elevate self and elevate player, I wanna make sure you guys understand. We're not saying like. Make a big deal about yourself or be narcissistic and make it all about yourself.

No elevate who you are as a leader, elevate your ability to lead, elevate your understanding of self elevate, to be able to help you flourish more. That's what we're talking about there. So I just wanna make sure that, you know, that's not misunderstood as we just say a word can mean a lot of different things, especially in this English language we speak.

But anyway, so with that, we got, you know, we could, as we have, we could talk for hours about these things. But we're gonna, we're gonna cut it off here and go to the last couple questions, you know? So the first is what are a couple of lessons you've learned directly from this beautiful game that we love that you have used in your marriage and your parenting?

[01:02:52] Christian: I, I, listen, I, I think that what I've learned is it's not what happens to you. It's how you react, [01:03:00] right? , you know, things stuff's gonna happen to us folks, good stuff is gonna happen to us. Bad stuff is gonna happen to us. Good things are gonna happen on the field. Bad things are gonna happen on the field.

You're gonna get a call for you going one way. You're gonna get a call for you. That goes the opposite direction. Mm-hmm right. And it's a matter of how you react to it. You're gonna win the game that you probably shouldn't have won. Yep. And you're gonna, you're gonna lose the game that you should have

[01:03:25] Phil: won.


[01:03:26] Christian: absolutely. Right. And, and how do you react to it? So it's, I've learned through, I've got to put things in perspective is how do I learn from what has happened to me and how do I react to what's happened to me? I know I, I do, I want just a short little story about this. And when we talk about reaction I'm, I'm at SpringHill college coaching the team there it's the first year there, you know, we're, we're trying to build this culture and everything, and we we're playing Lee university in the fir you know, one of our games and Lee at the time, I think was at that time three time defending national champs and lead comes in and beats us 12 to zero.

Right. [01:04:00] We're down on that. I don't get down on it. I just focus on who we are. What can we do better? How do we improve fast forward? We qualify for the conference tournament for the first time. In a while, our first opponent Lee university, we go up to the university at halftime. The score is one zero, and one of the players goes up to my assistant coach says, he's never thought that we could, we can actually win this game.

And, and the assistant coach goes, yeah, coaches always thought we had a chance to win this. Hasn't he? Yeah, because it wasn't about XO O it's about who you are as a person. Right. Mm-hmm , it's, it's that idea that, you know, how are we gonna react to the situation? That's right. So with that lesson that I think sport has brought me is we are always gonna have we're.

If you haven't having failure in sport, then you're not playing correctly. Yep. That's

[01:04:53] Phil: exactly right. You're not trying hard enough. You're not playing at the high enough level. Right. You're not playing the game, quite frankly. You [01:05:00] not playing the game. Yeah. Like you said, I mean, so if you're not experiencing city with 19% possession in that FA cup game yep.

That one, that one match will, you know, I'll never forget as a United fan, but like that's not a game city should have lost, but they did right. One mistake. Right. So

[01:05:15] Christian: that, and I, and I've been there. And so how do we re so what, what I've learned through all this is as a coach, what do we take from each experience as a learning experience and, you know, what were the, what were the things that didn't go right.

And how do we make sure that that doesn't happen again, rather than dwelling on everything we did wrong? Yeah. We, we've gotta focus on where we're at and doing what is right. We operate our brains operate on positive serotonin. Yep. So we have to put that positive serotonin in our brains to be able to, to move forward.

[01:05:49] Phil: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Now I, I, I love that. And you know, it's something that I think about that we talk a lot about mental health on this show and in leadership, we, we need to be [01:06:00] mentally healthy and that's such a great principle that you just talked about that we do learn, absolutely learn from this game is you can't control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it.

And that is so important. And that is such a massive mental health principle as well. And if you're not healthy and understand yourself, it's, it's very unlikely. You're gonna react well when the, you know, what hits the fan. So, anyway. All right. So last question. What have you read, watched or listened to that has informed your thinking on how soccer explains life and leadership?

[01:06:35] Christian: Well, I I'm I'm I'm I love sports movies. Right. Yeah. So for me, you know, I love these movies that are, are made about coaches and, and the, and the stories of coaches. And so whenever I can kind of have that opportunity to watch a movie, I'm not just watching it for the entertainment value. Mm-hmm, , I'm watching it for what else I can learn from it.

So you [01:07:00] talked about McFarland, right? Yep. The, the great story that as the coach, I, the sociological piece, right? Absolutely. I have to understand the sociological impact. That's happening to my players. I, I look at coach Carter, coach Carter is now talking about kids that think they're privileged and they deserve something.

Yeah. You know, and, and how do we, how do we, how does he impart into them responsibility? Mm-hmm in that, you know, playing sport is not a right. That's right. It's it, it, it's, it's a, it's an honor to be able to do that. So, you know, you, you get that. I all, you know. Miracle, I mean, you know, fantastic movie, just talking about, you know, I, I, I, I always love the, you know, get on the ice and go again, go again, go again.

Now that's not necessarily what we're talking about. Great coaching, but, but, but there was something to that that's right idea about, are you playing for the

[01:07:53] Phil: right badge? Yeah. Who are you? Yeah. Who are you playing for?

[01:07:55] Christian: Who do you play for truly? So the, the message, there was the badge. This is why people ask me, why [01:08:00] do I, you know, why do I recruit high school soccer?

And I go, absolutely. I recruit high school soccer. Yep. I love recruiting high school soccer because high school soccer, I see the kid playing for the badge. That's right. That's exactly right. Club soccer. They come soccer. They can

[01:08:14] Phil: care less. They're playing for themselves. Yep. For the most part,

[01:08:16] Christian: but, but high school, I seeing a state champ that there's nothing more pure about the game, regardless of how good of a player you are.

Yep. And playing for the badge. So, you know, you got that out of miracle. So I think the, these ideas of these great sports stories that are told through to us, it's not just the entertainment value, but what, what is that lesson that you can pull out and then apply to your own life and your own coaching experience and your own marriage and your own parenting of what you're gonna be doing?

[01:08:48] Phil: Absolutely. You know, as I'm thinking through that, I can't help. But think of Remember the Titans, which I think is my favorite sports movie of all time, but I, I got to thinking we need a good you know, [01:09:00] soccer coach, movie, you know, like we have these all or nothing specials that we see the documentaries.

But I think all I can think of from a coaching perspective is kicking and screaming with will Ferrell, but I don't think that's necessarily a good model for us, you know? So not, not quite, no, we need to think of we need to think of a good a good one, you know, so, but I'm sure there is one out there.

Maybe it's in a foreign language that we need to, we need to pull out, but if you know that folks. Send me an email. I'd love to love to know that movie. I wanna watch it. So anyhow. Alrighty, man. Well, thanks again for I mean, I just thank you for your friendship. Thanks for all you're doing. Thanks for you know, already what we've been able to do together.

I'm excited to, to get it going. As, as we've said, folks, go check that out a coach for the bigger game, but just thank you Christian for who you are, what you're doing, what you've done appreciate you. .

[01:09:43] Christian: Yep. Thank you, Phil.

[01:09:45] Phil: All right, folks. Well, thanks again for being a part of the show. It's, you know, as, as these conversations go, sometimes, man, we just keep talking.

So thanks for sticking with us. Thanks for being part of the conversation. And as I said, you know, go check out coaching the bigger [01:10:00] game, go check out warriorwaysoccer.com just to see what Paul and Marci Jobson are doing through their warrior way camps and their warrior way gives as well as the consulting stuff that, that Paul's doing.

Check that out. And you know, you know, Paul's a, a great dude, who's doing great things. And Marci is more than just someone sitting behind the scenes. She is an amazing woman doing incredible things and always has. So folks with all of that, I hope that you're taking all that you're learning from this show and you're using it to help you be a better parent, to be a better spouse, to be a better friend, be a better coach, and to continually remind yourself that soccer does explain life and leadership.

Thanks again, have a great week.