Sept. 22, 2022

The Hero’s Journey and Coaching with Dan Williams, Founder of Sports Serve and Next Level Soccer Academy

The Hero’s Journey and Coaching with Dan Williams, Founder of Sports Serve and Next Level Soccer Academy

In Episode 100, Dan Williams, soccer coach and Founder/Coach at Next Level Soccer Academy, and Founder/President of Sports Serve, talks with Phil and Paul about lessons he has learned from playing and coaching, his work with the Global Sports...

Apple Podcasts podcast player badge
Spotify podcast player badge
RSS Feed podcast player badge

In Episode 100, Dan Williams, soccer coach and Founder/Coach at Next Level Soccer Academy, and Founder/President of Sports Serve, talks with Phil and Paul about lessons he has learned from playing and coaching, his work with the Global Sports Movement, his thoughts on youth soccer in the US, how overcoaching and focusing on winning affects our players’ development, demystifying college recruiting, and what the Hero’s Journey has to do with parenting and coaching. Specifically, Dan discusses:

  • His personal story, how he developed his passion for soccer, leadership, ministry, and coaching, and how he is using soccer to teach life lessons to his players and many others around the world (3:09)
  • The Global Sports Movement and how it is impacting lives around the world through sport, fitness, and play (10:10)
  • His thoughts on the trajectory of youth soccer in the US, positive and negative (12:23)
  • The role overcoaching plays when we talk about decision making and execution from a player standpoint (20:19)
  • How the focus on winning in youth sports has affected the development of young players (23:36)
  • How he has used lessons learned from soccer in his ministry (30:56)
  • How he is using lessons learned from soccer in his marriage and parenting (40:13)
  • Demystifying college recruiting (46:57)
  • What the Hero’s Journey has to do with parenting and coaching (49:35)
  • His book recommendation (59:07)

Resources and Links from this Episode


Welcome back to how soccer explains leadership episode 100. I cannot believe we are already here and I am so grateful to each and every one of you listening for each and every one of you who have downloaded one or a hundred episodes, we couldn't do without you. We also could not do it without our incredible guests. All these amazing people we have had on the show.

And you know, today is no exception today. I am so excited for this conversation. We get to have with a good friend of mine. I also have my brother in arms, Paul Jobson, who was the first interview of this podcast, doing it here with .me

[00:00:44] Phil: as we've said before, we are wanting to do this more and more um, to be able to have Paul do these interviews.

And it looks like we're gonna be able to do that quite a bit this season. So I'm excited for that. I hope you are too. So Paul, what's going on,

[00:00:57] Dan: man. Hey man. First

[00:00:59] Paul: of all, super [00:01:00] excited that we're gonna get to do more of this. I'm excited about kind of what we're planning out through this next season.

And of course, really excited about talk with Dan today too. But yeah, we're good. The Jobson household is doing well. Started school off well here and just ready to, ready to start rolling through this fall. It'll be gone before we know it. So we're trying to gobble it up as, as well as we can.

[00:01:20] Phil: yeah, I know that.

I know that all my kids are back in school. I thought you said it's starting to cool off here. And I was thinking, wow, that you're lucky.

[00:01:27] Dan: Oh yeah. We're in the, we're in the high

[00:01:28] Paul: nineties. It's cooled off about 10 degrees. Yeah, that's great.

[00:01:31] Phil: Well, we're the opposite direction. We're we're now in the middle of this awful heat wave where it's gonna be 105 hundred, six, a hundred ten, a hundred and eight.

I, so we're just, we're just looking to stay inside and not do anything, but that's not what we're talking about today. We are talking with Dan Williams. He is a soccer coach at Gwinnett soccer academy. Some of you may know it as GSA out there in the Atlanta area. He also. Next level soccer academy, which is his [00:02:00] personal training.

He does a ton of sports ministry that he's been involved with Global Sports Movement for years and years, I think probably decades. But Dan's gonna tell us more of that here in a minute, but without more from us in this little intro, Dan, how you doing,

[00:02:14] Dan: man? I'm doing great. Thanks for inviting me to join you guys.

[00:02:20] Phil: Yeah. Well, I know that both of us have had conversations with you and I've been able to share several meals with you and spend some weekend retreats with you. And so I I've been, this is a long time coming. I mean, the first time I talked with you, I thought I gotta get you on. And we've, we've kind of mentioned it a few times here and there, but now we we've finally been able to make it happen.

So with that, you know, I, as, as most people know, if this is your first time listening, then welcome. If it's not, you know that I love to start off each episode, each interview with just you sharing your story, you know, telling how you develop your passion for soccer, for leadership, for doing, doing ministry and how you got to be where you are.

[00:02:59] Dan: [00:03:00] Yeah for me. You know, I have a unique background, I guess I, I grew up in a different country. I was born in the United States, but went to Taiwan when I was two years old. Of course Taiwan's a lot in the news a lot right now for various reasons. But that's where I grew. And so, you know, my parents were missionaries.

That's how I found myself there. But growing up in a, in a third culture I was exposed to a lot of different things in, in the sports world and the sports side of things and, and going to an international school growing up lot of kids from Europe and other parts of the world you know, soccer was one of the sports that I enjoyed playing, growing up.

I think for me personally, I loved it because it was an invasion sport. And I played a lot of different sports, the ones that were more individual like tennis Man. I, you know, I love the battle but I didn't like the micro the microscope because the other part of soccer that I enjoyed was [00:04:00] team element the times when you needed your teammates to pick you up and, and you could find your place and how you contribute on the team.

And in, in individual sports, man, you're out there all alone. and and so soccer was one of those sports growing up. And of course, you know, it it, it gave me a, a college education you know, I looking at college, I, to be honest with you, I didn't even really look at the school. I. Was looking for a place to play.

And there was a small little school in Dayton, Tennessee that I sent videotapes to because I had a classmate, a high school made of mine who was playing there and told the coach about me and he gave me a scholarship and I said, great, I'm coming. And you know, wonderful experience in college playing soccer got to, you know, my education learned really for the first time to not let sports use me, but you know, a counselor, tell me and [00:05:00] ask me the question is sport, are you gonna use sport or are you gonna let sport use you?

And what he was trying to get me toward was, you know, here's this opportunity. We've, scholarshiped you, you be here, are you gonna get your education because of it? And thankfully I did. And then after that it opened the door to. Kind of kicked the ball around a little bit longer playing semipro back in the early nineties, there wasn't much of a pro league in the United States, and I'm not saying I was at that level.

But I was certainly good enough to play what was available. I wasn't interested in playing the indoor game. So I, I got on with an outdoor semi-pro team, but that didn't last long because the ownership kept on changing. So, you know, soccer for me, to be honest with you, as I look at it you know, it exposed me to a different way of looking at the world through my team.

It, it took me around the world. Certainly outside of where I grew up here in the [00:06:00] United States and here in the United States, took me around the Southeast. As I was traveling around playing the game and I, I got to meet a lot of very interesting people through my soccer experience.

[00:06:12] Phil: Yeah. So tell me a little bit about too, just the, how you have used it for, ministry and sports through the global sports movement.

What that even is. I know a lot of people probably don't even know what that is and just be able to share about how you got involved with that. And, and how you've been able to impact lives all over, around the world for decades.

[00:06:34] Dan: Yeah, sure. So, you know, in the, in the early nineties, I was here in Atlanta I, like I mentioned, you know, my soccer journey was coming to an end because it was, it was just, you know, the leagues were, were coming and going.

You know, and so I started like all the other players, I had a daytime job, you know, and, and my my job during the day was actually working in the tennis business. I'd grown up [00:07:00] playing tennis And I, and I was good enough to coach tennis and to, to be in the, the tennis business. I, I strung rackets for pros and things like that.

And, and so being in that business, I found myself, kinda languishing because it's like, okay, you know, this isn't the lifestyle I was looking for. I wanna a problem to solve. That's bigger than this. I wanna be part of a team that's accomplishing something in the world and, and tennis was wonderful.

But then I had a friend that I played college soccer with and also semi-pro soccer with. And he was working for the salvation army, which by the way, I had never heard of up to this point, but he had grown up in, in England. And so his parents were involved with the salvation army and he had come over and played college soccer and he was a really good player.

And we played semi-pro soccer together in Atlanta area. And. He had gone on to get his master's degree at Georgia state in sports administration. And then [00:08:00] the salvation army hired him because of his background, but also his education and his focus because the Olympics were coming to Atlanta. And so the salvation army wanted to start an office that would look at how they could mobilize and serve during the Olympics.

And so he'd pitched him on this idea and they, they accepted it. Well, he came to me and said, Hey, Dan, we're, we're running this urban inner city sports program and we're looking for somebody to run it. The guy that was running it has quit. And and I said to him, well, you know, I'm, I'm really not too happy with where I am in the tennis uh, world.

This isn't what I see myself doing. And you know, great. I'd love to. And so that turned into a part-time job that then in 1993, turned into a full-time. Job where I started working with the salvation army and others to develop sports programs that had a character enrichment development component in it, [00:09:00] multiple sports, basketball, soccer, baseball we even tried cricket, all different kinds of ways to connect with youth through the through the vehicle sport to change lives.

And that's how I got connected with a sports movement that I was totally unaware of, but because of the major events, we had all these different people coming into Atlanta. And I began to realize that there was people who were using or in the world of sport who were Christians or who were trying to make a difference in their community.

And I was that really appealed to me. And so I connected with them relationally. And got exposed to something called the global sports movement. And and really I've been involved with in it ever since. Yeah. And

[00:09:51] Phil: just real quickly. I know it it's, it's very there's a lot to it, but just briefly, maybe in two minutes, what is the global sports movement?[00:10:00]

[00:10:00] Dan: Yeah. To, to summarize it? I would say you know, the power of sport is the power to save lives and change lives. And we see that sport can cross over boundaries. It can cross into socioeconomic context. It. Enter war zones. It, it can cross over culture and language barriers. So there's a power in sport and the power to save and, and change lives is in the sport itself.

The sport experience through character development, through leadership development. And so the global sports movement has seen the power of sport, but the reality is that a lot of the resources are trapped. And so what would be possible if we built a global partnership, a partnership of people who are willing to give away their intellect their experience, their Lessons that they've learned at the community level, the things that have worked and [00:11:00] shared them with other people.

And so when we share things together, then we can resource others in ways that they couldn't resource themselves alone. And so it's really just a partnership of people who create open source resources to give away. So I bring things to the table lessons I've learned and I share 'em with somebody else.

And then collectively we build something for someone who's not in the room who they can benefit and take that resource to change and save lives in their community, through the vehicle of sport. Yeah,

[00:11:35] Paul: Dan, I love that. And I love the conversations we've had around that and what you're doing and what the global sports movement is doing and some really, really amazing stuff.

And, you know, through your, through your story, I mean, you mentioned Phil mentioned at the top, you know, that you're, you're coaching too at, at GSA and, and, and your own program. How did you get into coaching? And, and through that process, as you talk about like how you got into it, I also wanna talk a little bit about things that you've seen over the years, [00:12:00] how youth soccer has changed a bit, maybe some things you see that are, that are positive, that are changing in a positive way.

Maybe some things that you see are changing maybe in a negative direction. Well, maybe we could talk through some of those things, but how'd you get into coaching and, and what do you seeing in that

[00:12:13] Dan: environment? Right. Yeah, my, my I guess my bridge into coaching happened through my children. You know, I, I had played and of course I had coached a little bit when I was in college as an outreach, you know, as a service project in the community we would go out and, and help out with coaching.

After I, I was done playing, I remember I'd coached a couple of teams for a local church and they had a program in the community. So I'd always been involved in different ways like that. And then of course, when I was doing things with the Olympics here in Atlanta, and then launching into other parts of the world where I was going, soccer was always a part of what I did, whether it was running in a soccer clinic or you know, working with other soccer [00:13:00] coaches in their environment.

So I never really. Left the game, if you will. I just wasn't as deeply involved in it as I am today. And that really, that re-entry happened when my girls were born. And I introduced the game to them, a game that I loved and they both loved it. And so we continued. And so I started, you know, my entry point was rec program.

They needed rec coaches. And so I wanted to coach my girls. And so I did that, but then at a certain point, they, they kind of aged out of that and my quit when she got to high school, but my youngest, she was really, really into the sport. I mean, she just was passionate about. And so she graduated into the academy system.

And about that time, I had asked the academy to do a, a program in an at-risk school because they didn't have an after school programming, because it was a school that lacked resources. And you know, I said, Hey, the [00:14:00] club could send coaches as volunteers and run an afterschool program.

And they were looking for a project like that and they said, wonderful idea. And so I started it and then they would send coaches. Well, it, a couple of times they would call me, Hey, a coach, isn't gonna show up. Can you, can you run the program? I says, yeah, sure, sure. No problem. No problem. And so I would just, you know, last minute, go out there, do my.

Well, the club director would come out a lot of times. And then the other club coaches, and one day he walks up to me and says, Dan, why aren't you coaching in our academy? And I said, well, you know, I, I don't know how much time would that take. And of course at this time I'm starting to pay for my kid to be in the academy.

And I started to do the math in my head. I said, well, how much do you pay? And and when he, you know, we've walked, but basically what I was, the math I was doing in my head is if we can break, even here, we got a deal. And of [00:15:00] course, you know, that's how I got into coaching. And you know, I, I did all the coaches education and, and things like that.

And, and I've been involved in coaching since then. But you, you asked a couple of questions there about, you know, what have I experienced as far as challenges or what do I see in the game? I would say. In many ways, what motivates me to be a coach and continue to stay here is based on my experience of lessons that I've learned in 55 years of walking this earth.

But also, you know, since playing since I started playing that's what really I wanna give back. So if I look at the sport and the, you know, the simple answer would be the sport's done so much for me. I wanna give back. But in the, in the context of, of the sport, you know, there's a lot of challenges and I can't speak to all of them.

So I can only speak to my own personal experience, cuz I've [00:16:00] had a unique front row seat. Not only have I been a coach and I'm still a coach in an academy, but I'm also a parent of a player who's been on an elite pathway for a very long time. Now she's playing division one sport, a soccer now. But on this journey, I've witnessed a lot of ups and downs.

Like a lot of things that I didn't know a lot of frustrations you know, I've experienced as a parent, but not only that I've, I've experienced the frustrations of other parents who have come to me and go, well, why do we do this? And why is it done that way? And, and of course, as you listen, you begin to understand that there's a, the communication is, is the challenge.

There's a difference of understanding of where, where people are. And I, I would summarize it this way. Well, let me back up. There's a coach that I've just [00:17:00] recently come across Raymond VA ver Verhagen Verhagen I think I'm mispronouncing his last name because he's Norwegian, I believe, but he's he kind of talks about coaches' education from a totally different perspective.

In fact, I would imagine that most people that have come across as content would probably go it's all wrong. but I love people who think outside the box. So the way he talks about coaching is very interesting. He, he says football being European football is communication, decision making and execution on that decision.

Now that makes a lot of sense to me as a soccer coach, because as I'm coaching, I'm communicating a system of play. I'm communicating principles of play to my player. Based on that communication. My player is making decisions game time, real [00:18:00] time, situational decisions. And that's another reason why I love this game.

And I love your podcast by the way, because you're bringing attention to that. The beautiful element to soccer is that it's, that it's a player led game. Like I can coach 'em, I can prepare them. But once that whistle blows, it's on them, the decisions they make in real time. Now I give 'em a context for how I want them to make those decisions in a process, but it's on them to make those decisions.

And then it's the execution. Can I execute that decision? We run into that a lot at the youth level. And the reality is we get so frustrated a lot of times with them because they can't execute that decision. And we steamroll them, even if they've made a decision. That's the first step, right?

did they make like, I'll look at a player and go, they tried to make the right [00:19:00] decision. They just didn't execute it. Mm-hmm but then I'll, I'll listen to a coach say you that was poor execution rather than rewarding or emphasizing. That's a great decision you just made. We just came a little short on execution, but we'll work on that.

Yeah. I, I like

[00:19:22] Paul: that. And I think that, through coaching and you mentioned a little bit through that, the, the disconnect between maybe coach and parent, when it comes to how things are probably I'm assuming how things are being communicated. Like a coach may communicate something based. His or her knowledge, which is probably at a high level where most parents, assuming most parents don't have the high level knowledge, but having knowledge of sport they're coming in at different places.

And sometimes the coaches are speaking at maybe a different language. We would say at times maybe the, the kids understand a little bit more than the parents do to, to navigate from that a little bit. And I think they go together. What, what, what role do you [00:20:00] think overcoaching plays in that too?

When we talk about decision making and execution from a player standpoint?

[00:20:09] Dan: Yeah, I think you know, again, I can only speak to my own experience, so I, I have to, I have to talk about it from the context of myself. Yeah. So I do over coach and this is what happens to me when I over coach, I, I have a preferred future in my head.

it? It doesn't happen. And so I think I can make it happen. And I, and I try to do that by, by over coaching. And, and, and the kid isn't processing one, they have no context for my preferred future. They've not been there. They've not seen it. They don't understand it. All they understand is the moment, the situation that are in and that's situational leadership, that's situational awareness.

And I think [00:21:00] that's one of the challenges that I have to work on as a coach all the time and understanding, okay, what's when have I gone too far? When have I gone into information overload for, for what we're trying to accomplish here, because I'm not running a sprint, I'm running a marathon. And I think oftentimes I'm frustrated as a coach because I only have 'em for a short period of time when I look at the context of a marathon.

Right. And so sometimes I self-imposed pressure on myself because I'm like, they gotta get all this right now. And, and so I, I would say that from, from a personal standpoint, that's some of the battle that I fight as a coach and I have to constantly remind myself of, okay, what is it that I want to deliver and what is necessary for them to take the next step.

So have I thought about what, I'm, what I'm [00:22:00] building in layers. It, you know, am I building a sequence that's moving forward or am I just throwing, you know, things together and kinda. Cooking totally blind. You know, I need to think about a recipe. I need to think about the process here and where am I in that process?

And of course that's what coach's education tries to help you with is, is kind of give you some of those guidelines and, and, and, and help. But the challenge is, you know, as coaches, we can, it's very easy to find yourself moving into over information overload or over coaching. Yeah.

[00:22:45] Paul: LA last thing on just in this and I, this is also interesting to me as a coach, you know, I love one thing I love about our sport too, is that as coaches, we all can have different philosophies and opinions about how we go about the game itself, [00:23:00] you know, but I also think there's some things that we're trying to figure out.

As a country, I would say maybe of how best to develop our players. And you're obviously highly involved at the academy

[00:23:10] Dan: level.

[00:23:12] Paul: What changes have you seen over the years when it comes to, at that age group of, of the importance of winning and how has that maybe disrupted the idea or maybe it has helped the idea of, of developing

[00:23:26] Dan: young players?

Yeah, there there's a lot in that question. One is, you know, I think our focus should be on competition. I, I think competition is good. I'm not too sure winning is always good. In the sense of, let me explain that more there you can win and actually distract a player. You, you can, you can actually take a player's development backward by winning.

Yeah. And so you you're, but, but if you're [00:24:00] competing, if you're trying to create a competitive environment that is all about ownership, right? Because competition, I'm not the competitor. The, the coach is not the competitor. Now a lot of times I feel like the other guy's competing with me. because he's trying to get the edge on the official.

So he's talking to the official a certain way, or he's trying to get the edge on me by, you know, playing mind games. And I'm like, you know, what's going on here? What, I'm not the competi. You know, the competitors on the field. And so the ownership of the comp the competitive environment is on the player.

And, and the, and it's a wonderful environment because it, it it's, it's a player led environment. And then my job as a guide is to help them think through, okay, what'd we learn in that? You know, how do we develop from that? How do we move forward from that, regardless of whether or not we win or lose.

And sometimes [00:25:00] the winning, losing equation really distracts from that development process because the parents are distracted, the players, therefore distracted because the parents distracted because if you ask some of these kids, I mean, they just wanna play. And that's what we as coaches really wanna protect.

I believe. And really, really add more fuel to, is that desire to play yeah. The desire to figure it out. The, the passion that comes from really, really honing that skill or seeing a skill and being afraid of it because I, I'm not sure I can do it well. Okay. Let's work through that fear. Let's let's help you bridge.

Well, you get distracted real easy. If, if, if I fail, we lose. [00:26:00] And the reality is that's the conversation that happens at the premier league level. I don't why that conversation is happening at youth development level, you know, but it is a lot of the styles, the con the, even the words we use, we sound like we're in halftime.

In a premier league game, as opposed to a learning environment, which is a laboratory. A laboratory where we're experimenting and, and trying and failing and moving forward and developing. But I think a lot of it is because we just don't treat ourselves in a human way. , you know, we, we tend to treat each other as a number, in fact recently, because we're empty nesters, my wife and I are, we're trying to find shows to watch together.

And she goes, Hey, what's this all or nothing arsenal. I'm not an arsenal [00:27:00] fan. And I go, oh, we don't wanna watch that. And she goes, no, no, it looks interesting. And we watched it and yeah, great stuff. But one of the, one of the things Mikel Arteta said, and, you know, I don't know if you like him as a coach or not.

But I thought very interesting insight. He, he said in one of the little monologues of him in the office talking to the camera, he said, there's a Spanish coach that talks about players as numbers. And he goes, I can't look at a player as a number. I look at the player as a person now, regardless of what you think about Mikel Arteta as a coach, I just wanna extract that little nugget of wisdom.

And I think that's so true. I think a lot of times at the youth level, we look at that player as a six, we look at that player as a nine. Are they making the decisions that a, a, that a nine [00:28:00] should make? Are they de making the decisions at a six now? They can't execute. So I can't put 'em as a six. I gotta move.

Where, where can I hide them? Oh, I'll put 'em over here as a nine up front, or I'll hide 'em in the back somewhere else. And we're not looking at them as a person and going, where, where, where, where could they be in 10 years? You know, if they're nine, 10, where could they be in 15 years? If they're 12, 13 or five years, excuse me.

You know, but you're looking at it more from a trying to see into the future and then helping them, helping that on that process. So really looking them at, as a person first, rather than a number. Yeah. I like,

[00:28:50] Paul: I like that. And one thing somebody said to me recently in this same kind of context is that especially at the youth level, can we, can we teach kids to have a winning mentality?

As [00:29:00] opposed to focusing on the winning, can we focus on teaching the kids, how, how to have a winning mentality, which is like never say die and never give up and push on to the next thing. And, and that may lead that may or may not lead to a win, but on the day, if you give everything that you have, and you've, you've done your best on the day, you can't ask much more of a kid yeah.

Or a person for that matter.

[00:29:19] Phil: Well, and that's the thing that I think it's a good segue into some of the other things we wanna talk about today, but that idea, and this is what I tell every team that I coach is, Hey, success is, as John wooden said, right? Success is the, the sell, what is it? The understanding that you have given your very best on that given day, that is success that's winning, right?

So that idea of competition is I, when I get, when I step onto the field, I will compete at the highest level I'm capable of. I will give that maximum effort, right. That perfect effort. If I'm giving that, then that's winning. And the scoreboard may not show that, but we know that. We [00:30:00] individually, we, as a team, if we are clicking, if we are healthy, if we aren't toxic out there, if we aren't tearing each other down, if we're competing at that highest level, that's success, that's winning.

So, you know, and, and, and with that, I wanna, I wanna know, like, that idea is an idea. That's not just for soccer, that's an idea for life, right? That's an idea that we've talked about on this show before, but what are, what are some of those other things that you've taken from, you know, and we talked about one of 'em before even we started recording, but just from your, from your soccer playing days from your coaching from what you've learned from the game, and, and what, how have you used that in the ministry that you've done in the different work that you've done outside of the game?

[00:30:46] Dan: Yeah, I think one of the things that I, you know, going through coach's education, you know, we we're taught the technical, the tactical, and then the physical and the mental kind of those four different spheres. [00:31:00] The, but the more I've gotten involved in, the day to day coaching and drawing up, whether it be what we're gonna work on this year or how I'm gonna develop the players and thinking through all that I've realized, well, you know, come on tactical or technical or technique is physical.

it's, it's about the body and you know, tactical it's, it's, it's mind, it's thinking it's the brain, you know, it's the intellect all of those things. And so, When you compare that with my background in developing character in people, through the vehicle of sport. One of the elements that we understand as character coaches is, yes, the athlete has a body.

The athlete has a mind, but the athlete also has a spirit. And what I mean [00:32:00] by spirit is the human spirit, right? So when I talk with athletes, it doesn't matter what level I coach professional level athletes in my business. I coach college level athletes in my business. It, they, all this all resonates with them.

They know what's required of them physically, what they need to develop the skills that they need to develop the speed, the, the physical element. They understand that. And that's part of what they work on a lot during the day. And they have specialists that help 'em whether it be in the weight room or on the field, then when it comes to the mental side of the game, they understand that they have an intellect, that they have a, an emotional brain that they, you know, that the, the actual physical brain that creates all the chemicals that control their moods and all those different things is so they understand the mental side.

And, and now that we have mental coaches that are specialists coming into the game, they're even understanding [00:33:00] that even more. But when you talk about spirit, they go, what do you, what do you mean there? Tell me more. Because they know there's something else going on. There's another element that's going on.

It's that it's, that will it's the, the love, it's the it's it's that feeling that goes on and they can't quite understand oh, nor can they really explain it? Let, let me give an analogy. I, I like to explain it this way. Think of a, think of a sailboat. You know, if you think of a sailboat and if I was to say this sailboat is an analogy or a metaphor, excuse me, a metaphor for the spirit, the human spirit, you would look at this sailboat and it's leaning into the wind, you know?

And it's it it's it's going after the America's cup, you know, one of those pitchers where you see this sailboat just leaning and you, these people are off the, the, the bow holding the, the sailboat down with their way. And, you know, [00:34:00] you're just this sheer exhilaration in that picture where where's the.

Well, the spirit is not the sailboat, the spirit, the human spirit. Isn't even the wind blowing into that sail because you see all that power of the wind, the force that's going in sail the, the, the human spirit. Isn't that wind going in into that, to that sail in that picture. If you scan down, you'll see there, there's a helm, it's that round wheel.

So all this, you know, power, the force of the waves, the sailboat itself, that's bobbing up and down the, the force of the wind, none of those things of the human Spiller, it's that little wheel over there. That's actually controlling the pitch in which way that sailboat is going. And so the, the wheel, the helm is your will define meaning like.

Every athlete I've ever worked [00:35:00] with, they wanna know what, why am I here? Like why, what, why am I so attracted to this? And they're, they're trying to find meaning in what they're doing and that will that's pushing them in that direction. Is that helm? Or it's the it's the, it's the direction? It's the orientation towards goals?

You know, we, we love that picture in soccer, right? Because one of the principles is, Hey, you gotta be side on, you gotta have your, you gotta, you gotta have your face pointing, wonder your body position as important, you know? And so here that there's an orientation towards goals towards, I want to drive towards something.

Where does that orientation come from? Why am I attracted to this? And then there's also that freedom, you know, that freedom to make decisions. That's the spirit, that's the human spirit, the human spirit is that will that, that, that orientation, that freedom that [00:36:00] you have, it is the executive of your mind.

It's the executive of your physical. But what we focus on in sport is the physical and mental, and we never climb the stairways up into the CEO suite, which is that it's kind of hard to understand. It's kind of hard to feel, but you talk to an athlete about it. You talk to an elite level coach about it, and they understand that there's this other element that they're always trying to grapple with.

They're always trying to, to, to connect with, they're always trying to, to tap into and the best of the best. Have you mentioned wooden? I mean, Everybody stops at success. Everybody thinks that wooden was about success because he was able to verbalize it and communicate it. He wasn't about[00:37:00] success. He was about significance.

He understood that success was just that, you know, that just hit what it, it was significance. You look at his life. It was a life of significance. Yeah. We say he won this. He won that. But those things to him, it was a process that was about building people about helping people, helping those players achieve something they thought they couldn't achieve.

That was significant. And I think that's one of the challenges we have when it comes to sport. And so I look at what I do on the other side of where I spend my time and I bring it to the field. And that's how I engaged my athletes, whether it be at GSA or at next level soccer academy. And I've developed tools to do that.

I've, I've found [00:38:00] miracle grow that will help that spirit because it grows when you are doing something.

[00:38:10] Phil: Yeah. Yeah. And I will say that one thing you said about wooden, if you didn't listen to the episode that I was able to do with Corey close and also Aaron locks, both of them had the pleasure of working with John wooden.

And they are, those are just good interviews, but there's some nuggets in those about the stories of, of wooden. That prove your point. And just with some examples, so I encourage you folks, if you didn't already listen to those, go back and listen to 'em. They're they're great episodes. Corey, the interview with Corey is one of my, one of my favorites and you know, I don't say that lightly, cuz I, I love most the interviews we've done.

So anyway, that's and I won't name the ones. I don't. No, I'm just kidding. But anyway, anyway, so it's

[00:38:53] Dan: probably the very first interview you did at the very beginning of the one you liked the least probably that, that was,

[00:38:58] Phil: that was amazing. That was interesting, but [00:39:00] amazing interview with, with just an incredible man who I

[00:39:04] Dan: admired, we

[00:39:05] Paul: were gone nowhere, but from, from that interview for sure but I'll say Dan, I love, and I'll even say like, you know, folks, if you, if you.

Catch anything on this. I, I just encourage you to rewind, you know, what, what Dan just said. There's a lot of great, great meat in there that he has offered to us free on this podcast. I just encourage you to go back and listen to that again, cuz I know I will. There's some great things in there and you even mentioned kind of towards the end, how you kind of go back and forth things that you're taking from life and putting through the game and game it into the into life.

And that's, that's where I want to go. That's always the next question we kind of ask is, you know, what are, what are some of the things that you've learned directly from the game that you have implemented into your marriage and, and raising your children? You've mentioned you're empty nester now. So they're on the other side of it.

And by the way, this can't go without saying that, you know, your daughter, Ella plays it, one of the finest institutions in the country, Presbyterian college. We can't go without saying that, but what are some of the things that you've learned from the game that you're implementing [00:40:00] in, in, in, into the household and maybe into some of your other relationships.

[00:40:03] Dan: Well, I have to say that the, the, the best things that I've learned in life have come from my wife. So she is, does a really good job for those of you who are married. You understand maybe what I'm saying is they have a unique perspective that they can bring to you. We're so caught up in ourselves that sometimes we can't see it.

And I, I would say that, you know, the team element of I go back to my college years and there was, we, we were so many different personalities that that's why I love what you're doing. Also through this podcast, you know, sharing with people, the importance of really understanding who you are, you know, how are you wired?

You know, how are, how do you look at the world? Because that's important to know, but also you need to know how maybe your teammate looks at it and sometimes. Why there's friction is because you [00:41:00] come at the same problem, maybe from two different perspectives. But that's what I remember about my college years of playing which were wonderful enrichment en enriching times.

But we were so different. I mean, we had some on our team that grew up in Brazil, so they played the game one way. We had some on our team that grew up in Europe and they played the game another way. I grew up in Asia, I could have gone either way, you know, direct or ticktack, you know, I mean, it didn't matter, but, you know, we had to fight through that, but we also began to realize, like we had different personalities and different ways of looking at the world.

And I'll tell you one of the things that my wife taught me very early in, in our marriage that I then connected back because see, at the time I didn't see it, I was like, oh, that's a, you know, that's a team thing that only relates to sport. But I remember early on in our marriage, she goes, you know, you don't know how to communi.

And I was like, I'm pretty sure I, I know how to talk really well. [00:42:00] And she was trying to get me to understand that I was only using one of the communication tools that I had and I was not using effectively my eyes and my ears, which are the other two. In fact, they were going into you know, they were, they were, they were weakening because I wasn't using them in our relationship.

And she goes, you know, you really need to read the book. The five love languages by Gary Chapman. And I was like, I don't need to read a book about love. And I read that book. I'm thankful that that was one of the few things that I, I listened and I acted, I, it was incredible. It revolutionized the way that I relate with my.

I began to see that, oh, actually, she, this is her love language. I had no idea. I thought it was my love language was her love language. I didn't even know I had a love language. And so one of the things that, that taught me [00:43:00] was how I viewed the world, but also how she viewed the world. And I take that back because in the moment of reading that book, to be honest with you, because it was early in our marriage, I start, I was thinking about, oh yeah, that was why Snyder always did what he was doing.

on the field. That's why we'd get into arguments about this or the other. It was just because it was the first time that I began to understand. We have different ways of processing. We have different ways of looking at things, but I was first exposed to that through the beautiful game, but I didn't know how.

Or the tools that were available to help in that particular moment. So what you guys are doing I know you're not teaching people, the five love languages. I'm just using that. As an example, you guys are teaching people and, and helping you know, college teams begin to understand. So through some of the other things that you're doing off of this [00:44:00] podcast, help them understand.

Yeah. I have a different approach here, even though we share the same ball, we share the same field. This is why I come at problems this way. This is why I deal with conflict. This is this way. This is why I don't speak up. when, when in this situation but understanding those things is so important, but that's, what's beautiful about, I think the sport of soccer is There's so many things about life that are on the field. Yeah.

[00:44:32] Phil: absolutely. And, and that's something that you know, you said something about that with, with, with your wife and the love languages. It's why we do disk. I mean, it's why I teach it. It's why I believe it it's because, you know, communication and Red Auerbach has this quote, communication is not what people hear.

It's what they absorb. And we too often say a lot of stuff and think we're communicating, but we're not taking into account who we're talking with. We also [00:45:00] often will say we talk to someone and if you just simply change it to talk with someone, it actually changes how your brain is thinking about it.

And so I'm very careful and sometimes I mess up, but most of the time, I'm very careful to put with, talk with someone because then you remember it's actually. You have to understand who they are to be able to actually communicate with them. Otherwise you're just talking to 'em, which you might get lucky.

But most of the time, especially with, I know Paul more often than not, he's actually talking with people even when he doesn't try. I know how we're wired, Dan, and, and we, we need to really focus on talking with people. Otherwise we do a lot of talking to people. And so anyway, I, I appreciate that. And, and, you know, and, and we, we didn't have this on the outline, but I wanna share, I want you to share what we talked about beforehand, because this is something that's really important.

I know a lot of people listening to this have, have players who are in high school, getting ready to go to college. I know Paul's working on a [00:46:00] program with a club on, on helping transition and helping people be ready for college. And one of the things you talked about about the, the partnership. Parents and their, and their players and their kids.

And it's so players, I mean, as with their kids and who happen to be players and how to, how to tow that line of, of helping and doing it for them and what that looks like and, and how we can do that in a healthy way. Cause I think this is so important. I just, you know, launched drew at Biola university, he's playing and, and we're doing things together and you know, we're a team.

Yes. And he needs to learn those lessons. And I know you just did that with Ellis. So can you just share that what, what we talked about before.

[00:46:47] Dan: Yeah, I think, you know, just in the broader big picture, we've been talking about college recruitment and our experiences with college re recruitment and, and the challenge with demystifying that, [00:47:00] right.

One of the things that one of the motivators for me to get involved in, in starting next level soccer academy was, you know, I just saw where parents there wasn't the joy that probably should be there. Like these should be the most joyful years of their life, but oftentimes for a lot of parents with elite players or players that are on the elite pathway, it can be the most frustrating because you're constantly being maybe.

Disappointed or you're you're facing challenges and you don't know how or what you don't feel like you have the tools at your disposal, but a lot of it is demystifying things, you know? And I think even, you know, we've been talking about elements of that theme as we were talking about coaches and talking about the, the, you know, the challenges with youth sport development, all of those things, but you know, the journey, I think for all of us, whether you're a coach who has players on the field in [00:48:00] front of you, and you don't wanna talk at them, you wanna talk with them, or you're a parent who's driving in the front seat and your kid's in the back and you're questioning him on what did the coach say?

And. Are you paying attention? It didn't look like you're working hard enough, you know, or you're trying to figure out where your kid should go or like I was sharing with you. As we were kind of getting ready for the podcast here, I, I, my daughter's dealing with an injury and is coming to me for advice.

And, and I'm trying to, you know, where what's my position here? What, how, what should I say? What shouldn't I say? And you know, the reality was, you know, in that situation I realized, and maybe I shouldn't say that things and should point hor her in a direction to help her figure it out herself, but also in a safe way so that she knew I was there for her, that I would support [00:49:00] her.

But ultimately it was her decision. And, and in this case, sh the question was, should I play, or should I sit out. And I said, well, you know, you need to work through maybe these, these steps. I can't tell you what to do, but I'll support you in whatever your decision is. Once you've gone through those steps, that process of thinking through it.

And I think that's our opportunity, whether you're a parent, whether you're a coach, you know, our opportunity in this sport that we have, or in any sport for that matter is to help the player in this journey that is both on the field and off the field, you know, because we have to understand that most of our life has lived off the field, but what happens off the field [00:50:00] impacts what happens on the field and vice versa, how I work.

Perform and, and execute on the field also impacts my wellbeing and how I see myself, or even the way I look at the world off the field. And so what we have is an opportunity to help guide them. We can't direct them. I don't know of anyone you can direct, but we can guide. And I think that's the challenge.

That's the art of what it is to be a parent. That's the art of what it is to be a coach is how, how can I guide them in a constructive way, in a way that's supportive, but ultimately they have to own it.

[00:50:55] Phil: It's that hero's journey, right? Like how we [00:51:00] need to understand that they are on a path. It's not our path.

Right. Our players that we're coaching our kids. It's not our path. It's not our journey. We are a guide on that journey. Right. And that's what you were talking about is you, you know, with, with your daughter, it's not, this is what you need to do. It's Hey, I can give some input and your coach will give input and the trainer will give input and anybody else who has wisdom in that, and you can guide to that, but ultimately it's her journey.

Right. And so what does that look like? And how do we do that? It's, there's no one right way. But I think if you just remember, so parents listening, coaches listening to this older siblings, listening to this, right? Like it's not your journey. , you can be proud of your kids. There's nothing wrong with that, [00:52:00] but don't live their life for them or try to, I mean, you can't do it, but don't try to, that will never end well.

And you said it, you can't direct, you can't and this is something I, I start, all of my disc trainings with is, is you can't make anyone do anything. And people look at me like, well, yeah, sure. You can. No, you can give consequences to somebody if they don't do it, but you can't make anyone do anything. How can we influence people to do things that we know are good for them, but with our kids?

I think, as I've said, that analogy of, I don't know that I've come have ever come up with a better analogy that we need to let 'em fall off their bike. Don't let 'em fall right off a cliff. Yeah. Yeah. Right, right. Like we just need to give them the ability to fail in ways that will not be tragic. And, and.

Terrible, but they need to experience that adversity. They need to experience those trials. Paul, you got anything on that [00:53:00] before we ask the last question? Yeah.

[00:53:01] Paul: I mean, I think this is a, this is a big piece of what I'm doing right now. And I've had a conversation recently with some of our, our parents cuz part of this, isn't just about the kid education.

It's about parent education too. And, and managing expectations. What I love about what you're doing with your daughter is you're not just letting her free and letting her go. You are guiding her, but at the same time, if at some point she's not able to make decisions, she'll never be able to make decisions.

So you can start that. And I'm sure this isn't the first time you've done that. I'm sure you started that. Even younger with her. But I know, you know, to go full circle, you, you mentioned earlier communicate, make decisions and then execute is the same thing. Yeah. She's communicating with people to come up with a decision that she needs to make and you, the older your kids get, the more you become part of the communication.

Less of the decision piece and less of the execution piece. So as they get older, they're able to just communicate and then figure out what decisions they need to make. And then they can go [00:54:00]on and, and

[00:54:00] Dan: execute. Yeah, that's brilliant. I'm taking that, Paul . I took it from you. I just reworked it in another, another area.

Hey, that's why teams

[00:54:08] Phil: are great. We're like we can together. It could be a pretty cool thing. I mean that, you know, on our own, each of us are, you know, not so great, but together like amazing. Like that's why, that's why I always have a cohost. I, I, I learned that of a good friend of mine, Peter Greer. He runs hope international.

And, and he said, I will never write a book by myself because it will never be that good. That's why I have 14 other authors on the book that I have my name on the front of. It's not my book, it's our book. And, and that's the thing that I think is another great lesson is, and that goes to what exactly what we just talked about.

Right? We are a team as, and hopefully you see your family as a team, right. But there are things that we needed to do on our own. And, and if we wouldn't be good parents, if we did everything for our kids and so, you know, and I just. Had a similar thing with my son. He had these issues that he had to get through and [00:55:00] they were phone calls and we all know if you have to call government about anything, it's, it's awful.

Right. And, but he needs to learn how to do that. And so I said, if you need to patch me in on the first few calls, patch me in but you need to learn how to do this and I'm not doing it for you. And the, the kind of nice thing is that once they turned 19, you can't do it for 'em. So, that's, those are things that are so important and critical in, you know, and just necessary.

[00:55:28] Dan: it is, it is also okay. You know, because as soon as I told my wife that that was my response, she told me I was wrong and I should have said something else, which then she circled out in, in her own way, had a conversation with my daughter about the situation. and you, you made it a real important point and that is, you know, there's probably more in one way to look at this too, but you know, thinking about things and, [00:56:00] and understanding we, we're not in control that we, we just have to help and guide in.

And I would say that that's probably the biggest thing that I run into in any kind of sport environment is control. You know, everybody wants to be in control and the game reminds us and that's probably the biggest lesson we can learn from the game is we are not in control. In the reality is we try to put ourselves in the best position.

I tactically try to make the best best plan knowing that the other coach is gonna tactically try to thwart my tactics and, you know, there's things going on. But then at the end of the day, the ball will bounce the way the ball bounces mm-hmm and sometimes it doesn't bounce the way it should in the context of it, didn't listen to skill.

It just decided in that moment. And we all have [00:57:00] seen that in the game and we go, wow, it's still possible for the ball to bounce funny and to do funny things, but it should remind us that, you know, sometimes we think we're in control. We're really.

[00:57:16] Phil: No. Absolutely. All right. Well, you know, as usual we could go on and on, we just hit the hour mark, believe it or not.

So we are going to draw this to a close, but with the, you know, you already mentioned one thing that you've watched recently. You've mentioned a book. I'm not a, I, you know, I like you people know already. I'm not super excited when you talk about arsenal about anything. However, I did watch the first couple episodes of that, and it is, you know, it's, it's compelling.

Like I don't know why they have to do all these teams that are the, the Nees of, I don't know if it's Nees or nemesis is, but I think it's gotta be Nees of United, but you know, arsenal, that's my brother's favorite team. So I'm like, I don't, you know, and the problem is you end up, like, they do it in a way that you end up [00:58:00] liking some of these guys.

And you're like, no, I don't wanna like arsenal guys. I don't wanna like man city guys. And yet they. So, well, those all are nothing. Specials are incredible. And if you are a learner, which I assume you are, if you're listening to this, if you don't watch those, I think you're doing a disservice to everyone that you work with.

Cuz those they're not necessarily people you wanna emulate. I know I wouldn't wanna emulate Marino. But that taught them one was very good. You can learn lessons sometimes. It's, it's just, I'm not wired that way. And I don't wanna be that way, but sometimes it's man, that's a really good point. Like, I mean, you just said that about Arta and it's okay if you're not a supporter of city or arsenal or Tatum or whatever, you can still watch them and you don't lose your card of your team.

So unless you're over in England and then you might, but anyway, what else have you watched read or listened that has informed your thinking on how soccer explains life and leadership?

[00:58:57] Dan: I think with a, a book I just [00:59:00] recently read that's really helped me pushed me more into the speaking with, and how to help players develop in their character, which is really that, that spirit that keeps them engaged and difficult times and pressing on is it, it, it was written by David Brooks and I don't know, you know, people have different opinions because he is on PBS and he's abundant, but he writes for newspaper, but he also is a, is an author and wrote a book called the road to character.

And I thought it was a really, really good approach to some of the challenges we face in the modern world, because there is a conversation. There is a, there is a vocabulary, a vocabulary of character that. We've lost, like it's lost in translation. So when I'm working now with my younger, you know, younger age groups, I can't use the same analogies.

I can't [01:00:00] even talk in the same way about character that maybe I could have talked about you know, or talked to them about maybe 20 years ago or even 10 years ago, the world's changed too much. And he talks about this in the book about just the way we're oriented today in today's world.

And we have to relearn a new vocabulary for dealing with character and approaching character because I mean, even our players, they're, they're much more. Like self aware like players today are different mindset. They they're owners. Like they, they come in with a different mindset than maybe players did 20 years ago.

And so even how you approach and talk to them and communicate, and that book was really, really good at, I, I think if you're interested in that kind of topic, you're interested in how do I develop the character in my player, not just how do I help him understand the game? But how do I, you know, how do I help them in this other [01:01:00] element of character?

I thought that book was a really, really good book. The road to character by David Brook.

[01:01:06] Phil: Yeah, I agree with that. I I've read a couple of his books and he's a phenomenal author great writer as you might imagine with his resume, but he also is a great thinker and yeah, I read that book a few years ago.

It's it's fantastic. So, alright, Paul, you got any parting words

[01:01:23] Dan: before we wrap it up? I, I just

[01:01:25] Paul: wanna say it's been great talking with the, both of you today on this episode. So Dan, thanks for your time and Phil as always, but Dan, thanks. Always

[01:01:33] Dan: great to catch.

[01:01:34] Phil: Yeah, Dan, thank you so much for just being a good friend and being now a part of this show.

So I appreciate

[01:01:39] Dan: you. Well, it's my privilege and man, I, I feel like my, my I guess, you you've raised the game here for me. I'm you know, I, all the people that you have in this podcast that you'd consider having me on as a guest is really a privilege and an honor, it truly is. But man, I feel like [01:02:00] I I've gotta raise my game because of who you've had on this.

And I, I I thank you for challenging. Not only the people you know, out there that are influenced by this podcast by, but by the, the people that you have on the podcast. So I feel challenged, motivated, and thank you for what you're doing.

[01:02:21] Phil: Absolutely. Well, just so you know, you are right up there with the other ones.

You just don't have the you haven't had the high profile positions, but you definitely are a thinker on par with anyone we've had on. And I appreciate you very much. I know you've, you've impacted me. I've learned a lot from you in just the short time we've known each other. So, thank you. And Keep at it, keep running the race brother.

So, folks I, I hope you agree with that. I hope that you understand that, you know, we bring people on here because we've learned from them and we want you to as well. And we want to continue that conversation of how we can be better as coaches, how we can be better as parents and, [01:03:00] and as friends and as, as spouses and, and as leaders in whatever you're doing.

That's what we're about. And, you know, Dan is, is absolutely one of those. I know Paul and I strive for that continually. And, and on that note, if, you know, you know, if you listen to the show, you know, Paul and Marci Jobson center are doing the, the warrior way, soccer stuff so much there, I don't have enough time to go into all of it, go check it out.

Warrior way, We have the coaching, the bigger game program that we we've had a couple stalls for various reasons, but we are looking to launch that in the near future and very excited about that. I'm continuing to do disc training. If you're interested in that, you can find all that information in the show notes, as well as everything else that we have referenced on this.

In this show, you can find all that in the show notes at how, how soccer explains So with all of that folks, as I said, we hope that you're taking all that you're learning from this show and you're using it to be that better parent to be that better spouse, to be that better leader in all that [01:04:00] you do to be a better friend.

be a better coach and to continually remember that soccer does explain life and leadership. Thanks a lot. Have a great week.