Nov. 18, 2021

Preventing Burnout with Kassie Gray, Founder/Director of Female Footballers

Preventing Burnout with Kassie Gray, Founder/Director of Female Footballers

In Episode 56, Kassie Gray, Founder/Director of Female Footballers and former Cal soccer player, talks with Phil about her mission and vision to help young girls focus on the mental aspects of sports, the value of playing multiple sports, the...

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In Episode 56, Kassie Gray, Founder/Director of Female Footballers and former Cal soccer player, talks with Phil about her mission and vision to help young girls focus on the mental aspects of sports, the value of playing multiple sports, the importance of mentors, preventing burnout, and what excites and disappoints her about soccer in America. Specifically, Kassie discusses:

  • Her story, how she developed her passion for soccer and leadership, and how she got to be where she is today (2:44)
  • The new club her husband started and how it is seeking to be different from the rest (6:37)
  • The mission and vision of Female Footballers, and how Kassie is working to empower females in the world of soccer (9:40)
  • The importance and value of playing multiple sports (16:14)
  • The power of soccer as a tool to teach life lessons to our kids, and how we are getting it right and wrong in youth sports (21:10)
  • Her personal why and how she is living it out in her life (24:23)
  • Why everyone should have a mentor and why they are so important (28:25)
  • What’s causing our young players to burn out and what we can do to avoid it (33:22)
  • Why we need to be proactive and not reactive (36:38)
  • What excites Kassie about soccer in America (42:10)
  • What she hopes young women going through Female Footballers will learn and internalize, and live out through the program (49:46)
  • How she is using what she learned through soccer in her marriage and parenting (55:20)
  • Her recommendations (1:00:45)

Resources and Links from this Episode


Phil: Welcome back to How Soccer Explains Leadership. Thank you so much for your download. I know that Paul Jobson my co-host and I, Phil Darke appreciate it very, very much. We, we, it wouldn't make sense for us to do this. If you weren't out there listening and learning from these great people that we get to talk with today.

Once again, I say this every time, because so far it's been true. We haven't had that one where I've been like, ah, this wasn't good, but we've had great, amazing guests so far. And like I said, today's no different. We have Kassie Gray. She is the Founder/Director of Female Footballers, which we're going to find out what Female Footballers is doing.

Some pretty cool stuff and what you can learn. And just also just from the lessons that she's learned from this game that we have been able to hear from other people. And today we get to hear from Kassie before we get to Kassie, I just want to remind you, go ahead and rate and review the show helps get it out to other people, share the show with others, you know, I've said it before.

I'll say it again is the [00:01:00] best way to share this show with others. If you think it's been helping you and you think it will help them, then tell them about it and tell them how they can, how they can listen. So encourage you to do that as well. And if you have any other guests that you want to share with us, please send me an email

If you have any comments, thoughts, questions and even have questions for some of our guests, I can, I can reach out to them and, and get get the answers for you. Go ahead and email me there. And I would greatly appreciate all of your feedback, love hearing from you, and just love hearing stories about how the, how the show has helped you and encouraged you as well.

That, that encourages me and Paul very, very much. The last thing is Episode is brought to you by Providence world. And just something that if you, if you have any, interest in helping the orphan and the vulnerable around the world encourage you to check it out. Providence

So without more from me before getting to Kassie, Kassie, how are you doing [00:02:00]

[00:02:00] Kassie: well? Thanks so much for having me. I'm excited

[00:02:02] Phil: to be here. Well, good. Well, good. Well, we we had your good friend from Cal on a few episodes ago, Tracy Hamm. So if you didn't hear that interview, folks go back and listen to that.

That was that, that was a fun one. And I have no doubt today will be as well. And as always, we love hearing you just your story, love hearing where you came from, how you got to be, where you are today and how you developed your passion for soccer leadership, and just really helping the young female footballers out there.

So can you just briefly share your story with, with everyone out there on how you got to be where she is today.

[00:02:34] Kassie: Sure. Sure. Yeah. So I grew up in San Jose, California played soccer my whole life. I always stuck with my club team that we were not the best team. But I had some opportunities to play with some great teams, but I really early on enjoyed the camaraderie of my club team.

So I joined ODP at like 12 and ODP was kind of my avenue and how to get further in the game. And it was also my first introduction to this side of [00:03:00] the strong, independent kind of female presence that I knew. I kind of. Just wanted to be like, so, I got lucky enough to make it all the way to the, the national team youth national team level.

And got seen that way and played at UC Berkeley for four years. And that's where I met Tracy. And we were actually roommates, I think I, my junior year, her freshman year, and we we'd enjoyed each other's baby talk with our boyfriends at the time, which was pretty funny. But anyways, it was great to play with her, but around the time that I played at Cal, I had my first real female coach there and that was a really large impact on my life.

So up until that point, I had a lot of male coaches and there's nothing wrong with male coaches. I think anytime we tout the female side, there's this notion that people think that we are anti-male or anything like that. Absolutely not. I had some wonderful male coaches. I would not have even gotten to play.

Without my a club coach, his name was Frank Vitale and he, he was also my personal trainer. He was amazing. So, but it was the first [00:04:00] time I'd really seen a woman in that role. Brandi Chastain was my ODP coach for a little bit, but it was 99. So she was a little preoccupied and busy. So yeah, so I got to Cal and the head coach, his name was Kevin boy, and the assistant was Jennifer Thomas or JT.

And JT had this ability to really she created a level of family and camaraderie on the cattleman soccer team that I had never seen before. And although I'd have that at my club, To an extent. I just never had seen this before. So, it was also the first time I saw a woman in a role where she was like, why can't you?

The question was always like, why not? And I hadn't really seen that either. And around that time, you know, you're 1920 are starting to come into your own and figure out who you are. And for me I knew that I had a voice and, and a lot of opinions and this independence side, but I just didn't know how to access it.

She really helped me figure how to do that and taught me how I like to be spoken to, and to voice that self. So, that was a huge turning point in my story because that's what led to what I do now, which is I run an [00:05:00] organization called the footballers. And I came to that after I had my daughter.

My husband actually was a professional soccer player as well. He played in MLS for eight years and retired with the San Jose earthquakes in 2009. And then we had our first kid in 2010 and continued having more kids. But when I had my daughter he was in the youth world at that point for soccer and I kind of reevaluated.

You know, what is soccer going to look like if my daughter decides to play? And that's what led to four days of writing just thought, and my husband, who's an entrepreneur kind of looked at it and was like, this is a, this is like a business. You need to do something with this. And so around 2014 I started female footballers, but continued to have kids.

So we had years of nothing. And then a year of back on and started with clinics for young girls ages 10 and up and it transitioned in COVID to online curriculum and courses. Cause by day I'm a elementary school teacher. So I have a strong level of curriculum and development side. So female footballers for me was a way to include my soccer, my passion [00:06:00] for female empowerment and education all in one.

So that's kinda what I do now.

[00:06:06] Phil: Yeah. And your husband Kelly, right? Yes. Kelly Gray yeah. it's kind of cool with the club that he's now running, right. Or part of really infuses a lot of what we talk about on this show as well. If I remember correctly from our conversation, just a lot of the beyond the game coaching as well.

So can you talk a little bit about that? Yeah,

[00:06:27] Kassie: absolutely. So, after he finished playing for the Earthquakes, he transitioned to become a DOC or director of coaching for a local club that we grew up in. And that club was trying to emulate a lot of the bigger clubs in the area. And he and I both kind of felt like, well, these are this direction that, that you soccer is going in is very different from what we were raised in.

And we found a lot of value in some of what we were raised in. So he transitioned out of that and started his own club called South Bay Football Club SBFC. And he is now the executive director there and we're a tiny club, [00:07:00] but what the aim is, is to really bring back the community portion.

Kind of smallness that soccer in our opinion kind of should be instead of these and nothing to say, not to say that these large clubs are bad in any way, but I like to think of us as the mom and pop shop type of soccer club rather than the big target Walmarts and the value of that is the family aspect to it that I feel like really, you know, gets it just missing.

And I think that side of it is that personal side of it is really important. And one of the biggest parts that is different as well is that we stress the whole player development. So whole player development for those unfamiliar, you know, there's four pillars in soccer. There's the technical, the tactical, the physical, and for us, we infuse the mental and that's the side.

And the pillar that often goes missing. A lot of people misconstrue the tactical and the mental triggers. But the mental for us is the skills, the untangible skills that you learn from sport, which you talk about on this podcast all the time, the Ted Lasso-ness of, you know, of, of sport. And and we feel [00:08:00]that that's really important and it's important from a young age.

And it's important not to forget about it as life and club gets more intense and competitive as kids get older, it's still a huge part of it. So, yeah,

[00:08:13] Phil: no, absolutely. I, I loved, I love talking with you about that. I w you know, still want to have more conversations about what that's looking like and how it's going and similar heart, and absolutely want to encourage that more across the country.

Cause I think there, like you said, there's good in, the bigger clubs and what they're able to do. But I think for, for most kids, I would say probably I think the smaller whole player approach. I mean, I think it needs to be the whole play approach needs to be everywhere, but I think that most kids would probably get more out of the smaller Because most kids aren't going to go on to play at the highest levels, you know?

And so that's just the reality. So what can we learn from this game? And I think that that comes more from the smaller, more intimate settings, but that's just a little bias I have, but that's, but I think that, yeah, I just think you can get a lot more and it goes into what you're doing with female footballers too.

So I [00:09:00] think it's a good segue into go in deeper into that. I want to hear just from you on that, the mission, vision kind of values, just, you know, your, as you say your pitch, but, but it's more than a pitch could be. It's what you're doing is who you are, as you said, it stemmed from your daughter, like, Hey, how can we, and I have three girls too.

So I, I see that as well firsthand, like how can we pour into them and teach them the lessons? And what is that looking like? And tell me just really about how you're helping the female footballers far and wide through, through.

[00:09:30] Kassie: Yeah, for sure. So when I was writing for four days, a lot of what I was writing was sort of the problems.

And I was writing what I saw at that time. This was 2014, but you know, I felt like players were being pushed too young to be competitive. I think six and seven is really young. And even if it's a player who's choosing that, direction. Not to say that anything's wrong with that, but the system is not set up to mentally prepare players at that age.

It's not developmentally [00:10:00] appropriate necessarily in my opinion, for a six and seven year old, to be able to handle the pressure that comes along with the competitive game at that age. And so the pressure, the age on top of just the, the heavy focus on technical and physical, the, what I would call the craft and the body.

And for me, what's really frustrating about that is I can equate it to education, being a teacher you know, in education for like the last 10 years we were pushing students to basically we're teaching them to the test and that we were creating these little robots who didn't know how to think for them.

The critical thinking aspect was kind of gone. And we also were creating students who didn't know how to work together and have this level of emotional intelligence. And so in the last four years or so in education, we've now pushed the social, emotional learning onto our students so that they can access some of that that's necessary.

And I feel like, the youth soccer world completely emulates the world of education with kids in the same way where the technical and the physical is creating little robots where we've lost the creativity in players. They [00:11:00] don't know how to think for themselves on the field. They're constantly looking to the joystick coach.

Who's kind of telling them exactly what to do instead of, I mean, I, and again, equating it to teaching. It's like when a kid's taking a test, I'm not going to sit over their shoulder and tell them exactly what to do. That's their time to shine. That's their time to see what they know. I think coaches sometimes forget that and parents forget that.

And so that was more on the system to the problems I saw was you know, I, I love my dad. We have a wonderful relationship now, but my dad was the yelling type of dad. And so in the girls game, I saw a lot of that too. So that was part of the problem. And then on top of all that, the access and representation side of being a female in the sport, we don't have enough female coaches which leads to not enough role models.

And you know, even though the women's national team is a big representation for women, it's on such a large scale that doesn't feel accessible for the, any girl in this small community. So trying to bring back some of the small community vibes and representation within those small communities is really important.

So what we offer.[00:12:00] We do a public clinics. So I live in San Jose, so I'm always open to travel though, but we've offered public clinics with, we've had girls from so many different clubs, come out, ages 10 and up, and we'll do a technical session, a physical session and a mental session in a rotation kind of situation.

And I partnered with a friend of mine who I played club soccer with, who is awesome. And she kind of ran the technical and physical, although I've done that on my own as well this past summer, but so we've done camps, we'd have customized sessions. And then when COVID hit, we decided to start running courses.

So we developed curriculum for four different themes right now it's going to grow, but those themes are competence, motivation. Body image and self care. And it's a four week course, and what's really cool is it's only like two activities per week, but every week you have the opportunity to zoom with a professional soccer player mentor, and they kind of string you along the course and are there to talk to.

And a lot of girls will sign up for one course and then they [00:13:00] want to do the next course. And what we've found is we're going to switch our model up here in 2022 and offer more of like a 10 week course instead of these four week ones. So that, because what we're finding is it's great to have someone to talk to, but girls relate to the relationships that they create.

That level of comradery plays a large role. And I think boys do too. Everything that we do at female footballers is applicable to boys. It's not just female oriented, but we do we do only right now, service girls. Yeah. So, yeah, I mean, and we also, we have our own podcast as well. We have We have about 10 mentors right now.

And they come from all different areas. We have three girls who play beach soccer. One of them is the U S national team beach captain. We have current international pros who play in Budapest and Spain. One of ours just recently got picked up by the thorns. So she's gotten to play this season in the NWSL.

And then we have some retired international pros and some college players. And we just recently started a college community [00:14:00] group to kind of mentor college players. We're heading into the new year in a way where we're going to start mentoring coaches as well.

[00:14:07] Phil: That's great. That's so cool.

Like, I, I just hear that as you talk about the mentoring college players and my daughter in, in college and, you know, there's so much that's, they're going through and issues with coaches. Other players issues with just school and how to balance and how to do all this different things. I mean, yeah, we as parents, it's very important for us to speak into them, but to have people who have been through it and know it and get it.

And who've been through it recently too, because it's changed since like my wife played in college, but it's different today than it was back in the now mid nineties, which seems like the ancient civilization at this point. But but it's interesting what you said, a couple of things there with the I'm reading this book called The Away Game right now.

I don't know if you've heard of it. It's but it's about football dreams aspire in, in Qatar. And they're actually going throughout Africa to To try to find the next, the next talent. Right? And so they, they have [00:15:00] this, thing in Qatar where they bring the kids and they train and they try to get a break in, in Europe.

But one of the things they said in that book so far that I've read it, which is really interesting. It says the one thing that separates the good from the great, when it comes to game knowledge, when it comes to understanding the game is just playing pickup games and that's something we don't do anymore.

Right? You get six, seven, you talked about 6, 7, 8 year old kids. We should play at the playground or play at the park, or we just go and get on our bike and go. And I was talking to Diego Bocanegra about it and, and eats look to where the bikes were and that's where we went. And that's where we dropped our bike.

Sports football, soccer, baseball, whatever it was, we just played. And, you know, even talk with Tracy about that with her brothers and, you know, like just playing, we just played, we don't do that anymore. It's so structured part of it. Cause there's no field space everyone's practicing and it's structured and you just do in the drill and you're doing the drill and you're doing it.

And so I think that that's something that is massive for us to [00:16:00] somehow get that back for the, for our kids. You know? So

[00:16:04] Kassie: there's no time. There's, I mean, if you look at, and this is why, like I'm passionate about the six, seven age group, you know, a six and seven year old should not be practicing three times a week.

In my opinion, that's too much. That's not enough time to be able to play other sports, which you ask any of the pros. They were all multiple sport athletes. That's a huge part of south bay FC as well, but. The multiple sport athlete has to happen at. And even if they're not interested, let them just play, plant a playground because you're using other parts of your body because the overuse injury thing for girls at the high school level, the ACL's and all that it's being created because we're not giving them enough time off.

They play every single day. So there's no time. And then we, we beat the passion out of them because we're asking so much of them at such a young age that they have no time. They don't want to go out and play. And it's so hard and it's really hard to be, you know, my daughter plays in South Bay FC and it's really hard to, [00:17:00] not as a parent, you know, you're surrounded by these other big clubs and kids are playing three to four, she's eight, and you know, there's other girls playing more than her.

And I kind of love that. She doesn't, she does gymnastics. She's going to start basketball. And what I think is important is that you, as a parent, you'd to pay attention to it, like yesterday, she lost her. And she looked at me and she was like, mom, I just, can we go to the school? And I could just shoot on you.

And I was like, sure. And it was so funny. Cause even the parent and coaching me, we go out there and I'm like, Hey, do you want to see what I do with some of the female footballer girls when they do private trainings? You know, I could show you some of these lights. She's like, no, I just want to shoot. And I was like, yes.

Okay. Like I was even doing that, you know, like it's just ingrained in us to want to do that sometimes, but really it's not what they need and really what they want and they need to have those moments to just play and be a kid.

[00:17:48] Phil: Yep. And I know that in our neighborhood, one of our friends would just go to the local little roller hockey rink and just play football games and just little indoor soccer slash foot saw.

[00:18:00] And my kids would love just going there and playing and it was all levels. And sometimes they were the best out there. Sometimes there were some really good and they were my, and my ten-year-old now he's 10. He was eight at the time, he'd go out with 16, 17 year olds and, and be playing, which now he's playing with all these kids and whether they're bigger or smaller or whatever, he doesn't matter.

He can go out and he can, and he's creative and he tries new things because you can try stuff that, like you said, it's like little automatons, little robots that are now you go and do this. We're playing just these small sided. In most of it, we don't have the field's place to even do a scrimmage if we wanted to in practices.

So these are all issues that going back to just, you know, we always talk about, oh, we got to have fun. And I, and I've always been. Yeah, having fun is important, but also learning the lessons and also, you know, getting better and excellence and all these things that are life lessons from it. But if we're not having fun, then that's a big problem because this is a game after.

All right. But I think we sometimes just [00:19:00] practice the fun out of the kids. And, you know, I

[00:19:03] Kassie: don't know, it's a job way too young. And I think it's also like a, you know, a lot of people ask Kelly, my husband having played pro you know, do you want your kid to play? We, we get, we asked, we get asked a lot because we both played soccer.

Are you going to force your kid to play all that kind of stuff? And it's like at the end of the day, no, because although he got to travel the world and I got an amazing experience to play collegiately, what you can learn from this game. It doesn't have to be at that level. You can learn it at 10. You can learn it at 15.

It's not, it's not about the wins it's about, and the accolades. Like if you ask him what his favorite team he ever played on an MLS, he would say. The Houston dynamo 2006 now. Yes, they won the MLS cup that year, but it wasn't necessarily because of that, it was, he was like that locker room. And that group of men were by far my favorite teammates.

And it was, it was a magical experience and that, and because it [00:20:00] was great and the culture was great. That's why they won. And I think like for me, it tells them in soccer, like we have a very special program. Like I see and talk to Tracy regularly. She lives in Davis, obviously it's farther away, but like we have.

Events for our alumni crew. We are very tight. And and that network of, of women you take on the teams you're on, they, they last forever, you know, I can't kick a ball the same way I used to, but like I have those teammates for life and that that's more important than any accolade, any scholarship, any, anything, you know?

[00:20:34] Phil: Absolutely. Right. You know, and we've talked a little bit about this, but I want to just give you an opportunity if there's something else you want to say, but first of all, why is football slash soccer? Such a powerful tool to teach life lessons to our kids and how are we getting it right and wrong with our youth sports.

Since we've talked about this a little bit, but just, I know that we could probably talk for four hours about this, but what are some, like, kind of the highlights of that from European. [00:21:00] Well, as

[00:21:00] Kassie: cheesy as it sounds, the whole football, his life comment from Ted Lasso is so it's so right on because soccer to me in America is very different than what really soccer is like soccer in real life.

It's a world sport because anyone, no matter what background you come from, how much money you have can play. And I learned that in high school, I got the chance to go to Japan and play in a tournament. And I remember rolling up and we were playing on dirt with like a really junky looking ball. And we were all as these California girls were like, what?

But it was such a great lesson to learn that like you don't need anything. And so for me, the reason soccer so important to learn all these life skills is everyone can be a part of it. And I think that's why I get so passionate, frustrated with America in soccer, because the way we're creating our systems these days is not.

Letting everyone play and it's becoming an elitist sport and it's all about money. And I think that's not what the sport really is. So when you talk about like how it's not helping us, that that's more that how it is [00:22:00] helping us is those communities that still offer, you know, free rec programs, the areas that have parks, where kids can go play pickup.

that's helping us. We need more of that. Actually. I would, I wish, I don't know if, you know, Kyle Martino is, my husband played with him and he was a commentator and NBC sports and all that. But what he's doing now, why he left commentating is huge. It's, you know, he's doing the over-under project where he's creating these goals that go under basketball hoops in any sort of park.

And it's allowing kids to be able to play on concrete. And, you know, I think like just the access issue, like. Is amazing, you know, so if we could give more access to everybody in all different types of communities, what I learned from the sport, you know, I had friends that were, they looked different needs for me.

They spoke different languages for me. They came from complete different backgrounds for me, that's real life. You know, that's when you get in the job world, that's what you're going to be around. And I think that it's important that if kids [00:23:00] can learn those lessons outside of school, cause a lot of kids, you know, might be in a school avenue where they're not around kids that are different from them.

So putting them in a situation, in a sport like soccer, where they are, they get to learn those lessons so much earlier and that's going to benefit them so much later.

[00:23:16] Phil: Yeah, definitely. That's I love that. I mean, as I do different work all around the world, you hit it on the head there. I talk about it.

It's a, it's a, world's most spoken language. It's the great equalizer. I mean, you hop on a field and. You don't care. What race, what religion, what demographic, what, whatever you just play. It's such great lessons for our kids, great lessons for us at any age, right. To be able to go out there and, you know, and then afterwards you hang out and you find out about each other, hopefully, and you're able to connect at different levels with that regard.

So, you know, this is, this is something that could have gone in any order here, but I'm hearing your passion. You can [00:24:00] hear it just in your voice as you're talking about this, but at the end of the day, what's your personal, why and your, your life purpose and, and how have the, how has that played out in female footballers and in your parenting and your marriage and everything.

[00:24:13] Kassie: I think everybody takes their experience and their own story and they, they take those lessons and they want to kind of. Work as their job in a way. And I think for me, like I started as a teacher because I wanted to make a difference any way that I could. And I knew that just starting with one kid is, is enough.

But as time has gone on it, this is my 14th year of teaching and I still love it. But I started to want to, to make a difference in what I feel like the most passionate about. And what I really realized as a teacher was I was talking more about integrity. And compassion and empathy and all these concepts on the social, emotional level with my students, sometimes I'd go in tangents and then I would self-reflect and be like, oh my God, I, you know, I forgot to give the [00:25:00] rest of this test or something and I'd be like, shoot.

And I realized that like, yeah the standards are one thing, but those other concepts are, might not be getting taught. And at the end of the day, I don't, I don't care if a kid gets a concept all the time. I care that they try. And I think that effort's the most important. And so when I relate that to the rest of my life, my, why is just the effort, the integrity, the love, the compassion, all of those concepts are what I try to emulate and put into everything that I do.

And that's why I think female footballers became more of my purpose because it's taking the, all the different avenues of what I know and trying to make better people through this game. Because like you said, it's like. It's not, it doesn't need to be the level that we're making it, because at the end of the day, you're going to be like me where I'm almost 40.

I can't believe I'm saying that. And you know, at the end of the day, like what, what was putting all that time and effort leading to, for me, it's all those things. It's those things that I learned that [00:26:00] I might not be able to show and do anymore on the ball, but what I take with me and it's not for me, memories of athletes, I couldn't even tell you the goals I scored at Cal.

I barely remember certain games girls at Cal are like, oh my God, you remember we played Stanford, blah, blah. I'm like, yeah, not really. But I remember the locker room. I remember the conversations in the locker room. I, you know, and granted it's been a while since I played college soccer sadly, but you know, I just think my Y S is very much like how can I infuse those character building traits that I learned from the game into everything that I do.

And for me, female footballers is a way to relate to the girls, because like you said, yes, the college game has changed since. But what you learned from the game is never going to change. And I can help girls at any age because one, my, my daughter's eight, I watch her going through it. I've played at every level.

And the like, yeah, the, those character traits, aren't, aren't going to change what you, what you go through with your coaches and your teammates and your parents. It's not going to [00:27:00] change. Yeah,

[00:27:02] Phil: absolutely. And you hit on earlier, the, the importance of these, first of all, these lessons passing on, right.

Passing on the lessons, the importance of learning these lessons, and a huge part of that is, is mentorship, right? I mean, you are a, an inspiration or a role model for women. You are, you know, you've talked about the importance of mentoring and I've, I've talked about this a lot on the show and with whoever will listen, coaches have, are given access.

Into the lives of the players. They coach, I think more than any other role in society outside, you know, I mean that parents allow teachers don't get that access, Bosses don't get that access, as a coach, I'm able to do leadership training to do, you know, do disc training with the, with the players that I coach I'm able to talk with them about things and they, and they talk about the things, they open up and they have a vulnerability that they, you don't see in many other positions. So[00:28:00] how can we harness that? You know, first of all, why is it so important to have the mentors for coaches, for players and others? I mean, really anybody. Why is it important for mentors to really disrupt the sad status quo and change the world for.

[00:28:15] Kassie: I think a hundred percent, the reason we need mentors is the rules are always evolving. Meaning as a player, your role is going to continue to evolve as we go into the future. What you're expected of on different teams with different coaches as a coach, your job is always evolving. And I think that's the part for me that that's creating such a divide within the sport is some coaches feel that they, they know what's expected of and what their role is.

As life evolves, you have to evolve with it. If you're the coach that is still thinking that, you know, this is my team and all these players need to, you know, relate back to me and how I coach the team. I'm like, that's unrealistic. And I've, I tell coaches a lot when we do different trainings and clinics and stuff that if you [00:29:00] don't think that coaching the mental side of the game as part of your job, then you're, you're not going to be that successful.

It is a hundred percent part of your job, whether you like it or not. And unfortunately, a lot of could just push back on that and be like, well, I don't have time for that. Well then good luck. Your team is not going to be successful because the mental side is a part of the culture of your team. And the culture is what dictates your win and loss record.

You know, I don't care how technically savvy of your players are. You're not going to do well. And I think. The athletes at the top level, in any sport we're seeing it doesn't matter if you're Simone Biles and they're the best of the world. If your mentality and your mental state, isn't there, you're not going to succeed.

And Kristen press within the women's side of our sport is our example for that. And it's like, she's one of the best in the world and she had to take a break. And so, yeah, I think the rules are ever evolving. And your role as a teammate too, is evolving. You know, I have a lot of girls reach out and talk about the toxicity of their teammates or parents on the team of a friend.

I get a lot of questions about that kind of stuff. And [00:30:00] I think players rules change, you know, and players need to learn as we do have more access to everything these days. I think it's a player at the high school and collegiate level. It's it is part of their role to start learning how to be more self-aware, you know, going through the motions and, and not knowing how you feel or not voicing that.

That's, that's part of your role now at that level, especially if we're being asked to play on, the third team in an age group and you're being compared to so-and-so and if that's a part of the system, then we need to support what they're going through. And that's what, what we try to do. It's like, you know, I can't necessarily change the system, but I can put supports in to help these girls navigate this system.

That's really not age appropriate, but developmentally

[00:30:44] Phil: appropriate. But yeah, that's something that I talked about recently and I, I, it stuck with me. I was actually talking with Paul Jobson about it. Halftime show we did that we're putting these kids in the pressure cooker at, I mean, my daughter and I shared in that show [00:31:00] my daughter when she was eight, you know, SIM similarly, when she was the age of your daughter, she's now 20, but she had a panic attack because she went to a tournament in San Diego from Folsom and which is, you know, seven hours and everyone pumped up that, oh, we're going to the whatever cup and it's huge.

And, and, and she got on the field and a minute into the game, she couldn't breathe. And I'm like, what are we doing? And it wasn't back enemy, you know, it was, it was just this, they pumped it up to be this huge thing. And at the end of the day, it was going to San Diego to play in some games. And who cares, like you said, you don't remember those games, you don't do whatever, but we're putting these kids in these situations and that's at eight, so it gets more and more and more.

And then you start talking about college and then you get to college and then you start talking about this and you got to keep up. And then, and without people who again have been there before understand that perspective of this is going to end, first of [00:32:00] all, at some point, the soccer at this level in secondly there's so much more that you need to learn from this game, that, and, and the mental side, like you were saying that mental health, but beyond that, I think we're, we're putting these kids in these, in these pressure cooker situations, which we shouldn't first of all, but then we have zero.

Even if the coaches are teaching the mental side of the game, they're still put in these positions that their character and their, their maturity level is just not at that level. And it shouldn't be at that level, but we're putting them in these spec, these, these situations expecting them to perform.

And that there's no wonder the burnout rate is ridiculously high, not even close to what it was when we were kids. When we were kids, people didn't go to college to play because they weren't good enough. Now people are, are good enough, but they're just done because they've been playing ECNL or DA or whatever, and they're [00:33:00] going on, they're traveling like they're in college, they're put in situations like they're in cars or playing more than you doing college by far.

And we're expecting them to keep on one, to play it's

[00:33:12] Kassie: unrealistic. Yeah. I think that's a hundred percent unrealistic. And that's the part that frustrates me the most is just, you know, I wasn't, I wasn't in a situation where I was compared to my teammate until the college level Thursday practices were always that, you know, starters versus non-starters before the Friday game.

And that was a stressful situation, but I was 18 and 19 years old dealing with that. We're putting that on six, seven and eight year olds and they are not developmentally they're there, their maturity, there's their social, emotional wellbeing. They have no tools on how to navigate that. And the expectations are that we treat them like little adults.

And all we're doing is creating this large burnout. And the burnout is at every level, too. Even when I played, we had 14 freshmen go to Cal for lasted until senior year. And a lot of them, it was [00:34:00]two of our best players are fresh. It was more about, they got the scholarship, then they got there and they're like, well, this isn't really what I want to do.

And it was all about just getting, and I think a lot of players do that. They get the scholarship, which is all that's ever talked about at home. And then they get there and they don't really want to play. Right. I think we need to have a system where we're setting kids up to have this passion and love forever.

And we're not going to do that by what we're doing right now. I just think that it's do it. We're doing a massive disservice and it doesn't, we don't have to do like a whole overhaul of everything. It's, it's getting our priorities straight. And I think that, that the question we we've posted recently on like our social media and our podcasts and stuff is a lot about, do you start from the ground up or the top down?

And I think that a lot of people want to stop, start from the top down. Like, you know, all the things going on with the NWSL, all the things going on with the national team and equal pay that gets all of the. The conversation going and people think we need to change the systems there. And then that will trickle down.

I [00:35:00] disagree. I think we have the potential to start at the lower levels and, and start creating these players to filter through a better system. And then that top we'll change it because it's not going to happen overnight, just because you have different leadership put into a team. NWSL doesn't mean the, the sexual abuse issues are going to go away.

You know what I mean? It's like, that's the quick fix. And I think we live in a society with instant gratification. They want the quick fix and the youth soccer system is not going to get better overnight. We have to start implementing. And if we're not willing to change the system, then coaches and organizations and clubs really need to start doing full player development and infusing some of the things that like what we're doing, the mentorship is huge.

I think a lot of women are afraid to get into the game. They don't feel they're going to get paid enough or they don't want to coach because they have a family. There's a lot of reasons we don't have enough female coaches, but I do think a lot of women could infuse. Like, that's what we say, female footballers.

Just give me whatever time you have. I don't need all your time. I don't [00:36:00] need, you know, even on a volunteer basis, like come on over and just be a mentor for one of these girls, because that in and of itself is going to make a difference more than you being able to coach a whole team and be on the field all the time.

And so I encourage a lot of the girls that used to play to get involved in organizations like mine, but there's a lot of other ones and I'm not afraid to tell them because I'm not here to compete with them. I, I care more about making that difference than I do making the money in a company. You know what I

[00:36:28] Phil: mean?

Yeah. I totally know what you mean. I, I very much know what you mean on that, on that regard. And, and I think it's something that we Yeah, we, we just really need to be talking more about it. I agree fully that the top-down approaches. And I think, I think the same in the orphan care work that I do around the world in the, these top down approaches, the ideas are fine and good coming from them.

Boy, it's gotta be grassroots. It's gotta be from the bottom up is where [00:37:00] the real work I think is going to be effective and long lasting. And long-term otherwise it's a shot in the arm and well, if we're going to get the money, we'll do it, but it's not ingrained in the DNA of whatever the programs are.

It's, it's reactive rather than proactive and developmental. And

[00:37:16] Kassie: that's, I agree with that for sure. Yeah. I'll go ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead. Sorry. I was, well, I was just going to say that the, the reactive thing I think is what we just keep seeing, you know, it's like, let's just keep adding this tiny thing. I mean, even some of the organizations that are like-minded to mine, it's do one session of mentorship and then never do it again.

And it's sort of this idea that like the mental state. It's just like a one-off thing. And you know, you look at the technical skill, they encourage kids all day to be robots and do these, you know, same technical skill drills over and over, like juggle forever. And it's sorta like, okay, it's just all about habits.

It's make the mental side a habit that you consistently [00:38:00] practice and, and do it. And, but a lot of coaches like, well, I don't have time for it. And it's like, no. And so they just want the one-off reactive, like, oh, but my team did this. So I just, I just need one session from you, Kassie, just come out for once and it'll fix it.

It's like, no, that's not going to work. I'll come out, but it's not going to work

[00:38:18] Phil: well. And we, we are a culture in a country. And really, I think most of the world loves to deal with. But doesn't want to go to the root cause doesn't want to go to the foundational issues. And I think that's what we're talking about here is how do we get to those foundational issues and be able to hopefully develop strong men and women.

From the youth and not just people who are dealing and reacting and going, okay, I got to, I got to cut on my head. I need to just put a bandaid on it. There's the symptom deal with it. Okay. Now, but what we're not doing is going and dealing with the wound and actually seeing what the infection is, and then just going to keep happening over and over and over.

If we just come and put that bandaid on it, how do we get to [00:39:00] the root causes? And that's something that I think we really need to be talking more of. And that, I mean, these conversations are so important. And for folks like us to be able to start coming up with strategies with people who have, who can make a difference, because as long as we keep, and I think part of the problem too, in the, in the system is as long as we keep just rewarding wins and losses and not culture.

I mean, you never seen a team of the decade be rewarded just because they're the team of the decade. That's character. It's always who won the most. That's it, if that was the most toxic team in the world and they won now, they probably wouldn't if they were the most toxic team in the world, but let's say hypothetically, they were, they'd still get team of the decade coach of the year who wins the most, not who has healthy cultures.

And as long as we keep rewarding that and that alone and coaches getting hired and fired because of just are they winning? Well, it could be, they have a long-term goal plan that might not win this year. Well, you don't last in, in jobs anymore if that's the case. [00:40:00] And so, no, I

[00:40:01] Kassie: totally agree. No, totally agree.

That made me think of last night. We, we got the chance to go to the Earthquakes game and knowing it could be Chris Wondolowski's last game. And my husband played with him and we're family, friends with their family. And so it was actually really stoked that we got to go because he did his field, the end of the game and said that he, he was retiring and I was standing with his wife or like part of the game.

And I've been in that role of being the wife of a player and, and it's a lot. But one thing that I thought was interesting about Chris was when, when my husband played with him, he couldn't even get a starting position. He was just he was on the reserve squad and he, but yet, if you ask Kelly, like he was one of the hardest working players he ever played with ever that whole time that Kelly played with him.

And it wasn't until the last five years that he got all these accolades for being the, the number one, you know, how many goals he has, all that kind of stuff. I think it was really sad, but like player, it takes that level of success to even get player like that on the radar when he was always [00:41:00] pretty awesome.

He was always a great hard-working player and it's it's yeah, it's the same thing of just nobody cares, unless, unless you win, unless you're like the best of something, I like Carli. Lloyd's a perfect example of the woman's side of that, where it's like, everybody hated her for awhile. And now all of a sudden it's always when people are done or they retire that we, we Revere them and it's like, but what about when she was, you know, she's always been a bad ass she's, you know, maybe like there were social issues back then and all that kind of stuff, but like, she's one of the hardest working players.

We should be idolizing the work ethic, the efforts, the culture, all the things that we gained from the sport is what, you know, but yeah, it's, it's a larger system issue for sure.

[00:41:43] Phil: Absolutely. All right. So we've spent a lot of time talking about what's wrong with it and what's what we need to change. Let's list.

Let's go the other side of it. What are you most excited about? What are the good things that you're most excited about relating to soccer in America and whether it's just the female side or, or [00:42:00]both? Oh

[00:42:00] Kassie: my gosh. So much. So since I started female footballers, I remember the first time I was trying to find a name for the organization.

I Googled the word female footballers, and the only thing that would come up was the hottest girl soccer players around the world. And up until maybe like three, four years ago, it still was happening. And I think in the last four or five years, that the shift on the female side, it's going in such an awesome direction.

It is I'm so proud to be a woman soccer player in this country because of the role models we do have at the highest level. And what they're saying and doing for this. It's always been part of the women's national teams culture to give back to the next generation to pay it forward, to be a voice for what's right and wrong.

And I'm so I feel so proud of that. And I think it's really cool to watch my daughter get to have these opportunities I never had. So I, I was part of that group. I was training with the [00:43:00] Cyber Rays in 2004, my senior year of college. And then I graduated and the whole league folded and another league didn't start until the WPS, I think was in 2009.

So five years I would have had to wait. And you have players like Tracy, who did you know? She, she graduated two years later from me, but she worked her butt off and she got. By 2009, I was ready to have babies. My time had passed, but my daughter, you know, we were talking about that on the walk away from the earthquake stadium last night.

And she's like, mom, what team is the girl's team here? And I've always said, oh, we don't have one, but I know there's a lot of hush hush talk right now about a bay area team. And I was like, actually at the time that you were ready to play, there's going to be a team here and you can play if you want. Like just some of the, just there's so much opportunity.

And even at her tournament last week and wrote a Halloween tournament, and I noticed that. Two out of the three games that she played, both sets of coaches were female. The referee was female, and it's like, [00:44:00] what's normal for her is so different from what was going to be normal for me. And I, I just think that is so exciting.

And you know, when I talk to girls and, and they've, they've already had three female coaches by the time they're 11 and I'm like, oh my God, really that's so cool. Cause that was pretty unheard of for my generation. So, and not to say that Milt, like again, not to say male coaches are bad. It's just, when something's rare, it's like, it's cool to notice the changes there.

So access and representation, I'm really excited. And I, you know, like we said, we, we talked negatively about the system, but there's also some great things that the system I'm stoked on. The girls academy league Leslie Gallamore is the commissioner and she's also a Cal lab. And I love, she has a very like-minded philosophy to you and I, and I'm really excited that she started that because the da folding, that was a really good thing.

Girls should be allowed to play high school soccer. And I think that was a huge sad part of that program, but the direction that girls academy is going is so cool. They have a lot of mentorship opportunities. They have girls voice [00:45:00] you know, these girls on each team get to be leaders within their clubs system and meet together and talk about issues like it's such a cool league.

So there's a lot of. Of great things happening as far as what our youth will get to be a part of. So it's not all bad.

[00:45:17] Phil: Nah. Yeah. I totally agree with that. And I think as we talked earlier, I think the grassroots stuff that's happening and that's where I do think it needs to happen because there's there's opportunities.

And I think we just need to take the bull by the horns and make things happen. The hard parts are field space. I mean, that's, I think a problem, especially in California, there's just not, we don't have fields and fields and fields where we can cut down some corn and make a soccer field, you know? So that, that is an issue.

Even my kid's club, can't find we just talking to my wife about that this morning there, they're having to train at a local gym doing foot Saul tonight because can't find a field and that's reality, but how do we creative? How do we innovate? Right? I mean, what did they say? Necessity is the mother of [00:46:00] invention.

Right? So I think that that is something that we, I think we're getting to the point where. You. And I, we played in a different time where we had a lot of these things. We still had a lot of parent coaches when we were playing and that brought to it. Now, there are issues with parent coaches. I've talked to Paul about that a lot, but most parent coaches had a vested interest in their children being good people, right.

And that alone caused there to be a focus on different things. And you don't practice three times, four times a week. You're not playing way too many games. You're not, you're going to be playing basketball and baseball and softball and whatever else so that you can actually be well-rounded like you said, How many athletes that, you know, went to college to play a sport and didn't play multiple sports.

I don't know. I don't know. Right. They, it just didn't happen because the best athletes were the ones who went on to play and they played a bunch of different stuff because we didn't have the option to play. I mean, there was no year true rear round sport. And now that I think [00:47:00] so all those things are, are something that we can change, but it's going to take parents to not buy into the, Hey, we got to play all the time.

We got to figure out how to keep the really good trainers and training, be able to live and get jobs and do whatever, you know. And so there, there's a lot of things that need to all be brought into the, into play. But if we get together and put our heads together and see that as a priority, I know it can happen.

It's just weak. Cause like you said, there's so much great that is happening. And I think we're, I think it's that pendulum swinging, right? It's got to, the only time it's it's in balance is when it's going from one side to the other. And I think we just got to hopefully keep it in that balance is as long as possible and you would get enough parents who have played and get it that more than.

And the scholarship and everything else. I know that the high school team that I coach probably half, at least half, probably more than half of the girls who played ECL or da are not [00:48:00] wanting to play in college. They're not even playing their senior years. They're playing in high school though.

Cause they're saying this is fun and we're making it fun for them. And we're doing leadership training and we're doing all these other things and they're like, we want to do this let's and they're talking to their friends who are like, I don't know, they're on the fence. It used to be that all of them talk to each other out of soccer.

Now it's like, Hey yeah, let's play high school. Cause this is where it's a game. And we're saying there's less lessons to learn. So I think that they're hungry for that. I think the kids are hungry for that. They want that. And I think it just takes the parents that understand that and get that to go. Now we need to fight for this.

This is.

[00:48:34] Kassie: Yeah, like exactly what you said, the more people that, that played and are starting that conversation. It is, I do feel the momentum. Like I said, the, the Kyle Martino type of guy where you're giving back to the sport in a way where it's creating the conversation to be about creativity and play that you could play anywhere like in South Bay FC, you know, we couldn't get fields for all of COVID.

We were at a park and then we'd pay for tennis courts and do foot solid tennis courts. We had to get [00:49:00] creative, but it's also letting parents know like that's okay. The world of soccer is actually, doesn't have to be on perfect turf with perfect balls. And you know, like your kid is going to be a great player regardless.

So, yeah, it just takes more people like that, but I do, I see it going in such a great direction. So let makes,

[00:49:18] Phil: all right. A few more questions before we wind this down. I mean, we could talk about this for, I have a feeling for a few days, but what is one thing that you hope that all, all of the players that go through female footballers, what do you hope they'll understand and live out as they experience your program and the different, different things that you're working on them with?

[00:49:36] Kassie: I think the number one thing after we were writing all of our curriculum was they all had the same theme of self-awareness. And I think a lot of players it's easy to put, pass the buck to somebody else saying, well, I can't be like this because she's treating me this way. Or the coaches doing this, or my dad is yelling or my mom is yelling whatever.

And it's more about, okay, let's first be self-aware of what you like, what you don't [00:50:00] like about what's happening around you, but let's also then give you some of those tools to help navigate that. And I think the self-awareness piece is number one, and I think we. You know, we expect players at the high school level to have that self-awareness.

But we kind of wait till then to expect it. And I think that like children 10 and up, they really have the ability to be a lot more self-aware than we give them credit for. And yes, it's a developmental thing and not everyone's going to have the same ability to do so at exact ages. But I do think that I, you know, I taught fifth grade for five years and that was the age race.

Trying out some of the different activities that we do, female footballers, I would travel my students and they a hundred percent could do it. And I have parents who, you know, eight year olds that try to join female footballers. And I'm often saying, you know, it depends, you're welcome to try the course.

And there are certain things in the course that are too high level. But if anything, I hope that every player that goes through our program, they learn how to be more self-aware, which will [00:51:00]help them self advocate and and just learn how, you know, to have more independence within the game and find their voice within the game, because those are the skills that are going to permeate and help them in life after the sport, in any job that they get, it's being able to know their strengths, their weaknesses, and how to find the tools that they need, what their needs are.

You know, that's what self-awareness is, is what, what am I about? What do I need right now? What is not working for me?

[00:51:28] Phil: And I love that. I love

[00:51:29] Kassie: that. You know, I think it's also that a lot of people think that what we do is like sports psychology. I'm not a psychologist, I'm a psych major, but I'm not a psychologist.

And I think the self-awareness piece is like the start. And I think that every girl needs that. And I think that if you're struggling with finding more and more tools, then you know, that psychologist side going to the sports psych is important as well, but that's not necessarily what we do. We help girls find the self-awareness just to be clear.

[00:51:57] Phil: No, I, and I, and that's a lot, what we talked about that [00:52:00] foundational, I think that's foundational to be, to know who you are, man. We talk about disc, I've talked to you about that. I think that that's an important tool. There are other tools to be able to understand who you are and understand how you.

Engage in different how you engage the world, really how you see it, how you, how you react, what you do when you're unhealthy. Well, you know, and so you can be self-aware and understand that. I know if I get angry, I that's a check to me to go, okay, what's going on? Why am I stressed? Why am I in a healthy, how can I, am I, is it just that I'm hungry?

Is it just that I'm tired? Maybe it could also be that there's something else going on. And so those are the checks that again, are that foundational that aren't just symptom driven and reactive. And I think that's kind of the theme, but to, to, to be able to have, and I think sports psychology is, is huge, but it's usually symptom reactive to something.

Now I know that the tools are getting more and more proactive, but usually people don't go there [00:53:00] and tell something's wrong. And I know that that is something that, you know, Brad Miller talking to him about in soccer, resilience, and the work they're doing, which is great. He's very proactive as well.

It's a both, and, and I think that the more we can do that and know that these tools that we have are great, but if we're not implementing them in the right ways at the right time with these kids, we're not going to have the results that we're, that we're looking for.

[00:53:23] Kassie: Totally. And, and I think like we need to give kids more credit that they can handle it at a younger age.

If we can expect them to juggle a thousand juggles at 10, then we can expect them to, to focus and try to figure out the, the inner workings of themselves. Because I think that's the one thing by the time they're high school or college, there's too many bad habits. So really at the youngest ages, it's not like a psych session with a ten-year-old it's let's create good habits going forward.

It's implementing good mental skills

[00:53:53] Phil: habits. Yes. And we've got to be careful with the ten-year-olds. My ten-year-old when, especially when they're smart and especially when they're capable, [00:54:00] he got in trouble at school because he he's his father's son and he blurted out and he kept raising his hand. And you appreciate that this teacher it's, it's hard with the, the high personalities who are very outgoing and people and just want attention.

And so he's always making up reasons to get up. He breaks a lot on his pencil, so he can go sharpen his pencil, you know, whatever it is. And, and he's like he said to me at home, he goes, well, dad, it's just my personal. And, you know, I, I, it's hard cause he's right on one hand, but you got to time and place, time and place.

I totally get it. I still struggle with it. I have to get up to in the middle of talks, but so that's a whole different conversation on how we can engage the I personalities in the classroom, but that we're not going to do that today. I would be curious to hear your thoughts on it, but we're not going to get there.

I'm going to, I'm going to show constraint and restraint and not go there. But the last couple of questions we do ask everybody the first is what light. And we talked a little bit about this, but I wanna hear [00:55:00] more directly. What lessons learned directly from the game of soccer? Have you used in your life and leadership outside the game in your marriage and your parenting?

Other areas, ah,

[00:55:10] Kassie: well that self-awareness piece it took me to college to really learn that I had a voice and that I got to choose. What, how I wanted to be spoken to that was a big one. So when I was 19 my head coach, he would kind of be more of the yeller. He was kind of, he was direct, but sort of negative.

And the assistant coach would kind of sugarcoat it. So around like 19, I learned you know, I like, I like what she's saying. I don't really like what he's saying and why is that? And I started to learn that like, I want critical, real feedback, but I like hearing it in a more positive way. Because up until that point I had had, I caught my club.

Coach was great. My high school coach was a screamer. And my dad was pretty serious. And at times pretty negative. I know he never meant to be. I give him a lot of credit. He was the most supportive dad ever, but he was definitely, he [00:56:00] got wrapped up into it, you know, and he, and I wish that I could have been 13.

And when I heard some of those things said to me that I was able to see. You know what I think I would respond better if you said this. And I didn't know that I could say that. And so when I learned that, I now have learned how to say that in friendships. I'm teaching my own children how to do that.

You know, I've I talked to my daughter and my sons. I have two sons as well. And at my, my oldest son just started middle school. So we're having a lot of those conversations about like, if you don't like, when somebody talks to you like that, you need to say, I don't like that. Can you please stop you?

Don't you don't stoop down and do it back. We don't retaliate. But, you know, I just, I think that was a huge one is just how to advocate for yourself. And even as a parent, you know, when you're like, for example, that same, my older son had a leg pain for like a year and we just kept thinking he had growing pains.

We didn't know what it was. And I pushed and I pushed the doctors for a while. And I think the old knee, if I never learned some of those skills like that, I [00:57:00] would've just been like, oh, they're right there. Right there doctors. But I pushed and I was like, something doesn't feel right. Learning about that inner feeling.

And he ended up having something really rare called an osteoid osteomalacia and he ended up surgery and he's totally fine now, but you know, if I didn't push, I don't know what it could have been later. And I think like that, learning about your insides and what it feels like and how to advocate, that's a huge skill that you take with her for the rest of your life.

And I do the same with my marriage. Just speaking up for myself, showing support for my husband, same kind of.

[00:57:33] Phil: Yeah, my yeah, it's, it's funny because just, you hear that in, in relationships, any relationship it's so important to do that and just know how to phrase things and how to say things. I know weed, the big joke in my, in my marriage is when we're driving and my wife knows that I'm not driving well at any given point in her opinion, because of course that's just all it is, [00:58:00] but she'll say something, she'll say these words, she'll say I'd feel a lot safer right now if you wouldn't whatever, or if you would, whatever, rather than don't do that or do do this.

Right. And it, and it works. It's funny. It's a little thing, but it's that joke or, you know, even just the touch, right? Like where, rather than saying stop it or stop talking. You're talking too long. She just rubs my arm really, you know, slightly those, those, those cues, those things, but how that I received that and granted it's her, I received a different.

Absolutely with coaches. And I do that. And it's so important going back to disc. I mean, that's why it's important to have, I mean, the way you're describing that, I'm assuming one was people focused. One was task-focused and those two coaches, and you're more people focused. I know that because you've taken the assessment and, and you could tell that just in this conversation, but that is something that's really important.

Otherwise we're gonna lose kids. We're going to lose coaches too, because they're going to get really frustrated because they don't get it. If you don't understand these [00:59:00] things and you're not self-aware, then you're going to think. And you're going to see these other players. And my daughter was that same way.

She, she would just, she was literally in fetal position sometimes going, I don't want to go to practice. And so we'd have to, and we're like, whoa, what's going on? Cause she wouldn't express it. But it was because of that, she had a coach who was, who was that, you know, yeller and, and some girls had no problem with it cause they were wired that way.

And she just couldn't handle that. Understandably. So I mean, it wasn't healthy. It wasn't right. But

[00:59:32] Kassie: so, and he sees like that Tracy and I could not be more different in the way that we would internalize information Tracy, like I know in your podcast, I think she talked about the whiteboard situation, right.

With the coaches and that's just very Tracy, like she's very direct. She's going to tell you like it is, she likes it back. She wants to be very real. And her and our head coach got along really well because they were very similar in that. I think that's why our two coaches were so great. And that's a lot of the things I talked to [01:00:00] coaches about is like, if you're not getting the response that you you're wanting, take a different approach, like it, that's part of your job to take a different approach.

And my job as a teacher, I have to differentiate my instruction for 27 kids as a coach. That's kind of our job to whether we like it or not. Yes. There's standards of what we need to hit with our, with our sessions obviously, but there's, you know, to connect with each player that's different

[01:00:25] Phil: and super important.

Yeah. All right. Last question. What have you read, listen to, or watch that has most impacted your thinking on how soccer explains life and leadership?

[01:00:35] Kassie: That's hard. What led to a lot of the research for female footballers was Mindset by Carol Dweck was the first book I read and that led to Angela Duckworth's Grit.

And those are the kind of the first two. And I would always have those books out at clinics for parents. And I would make like, But I just always want to learn and I kind of nerd out on sports psych stuff. So anything by Dan Abrahams, I love listening to his podcast. I love I've actually just started it's next to [01:01:00] me.

Think Again by Adam Grant, anything by Adam Grant reading that right now. You know, I listened to I listen to podcasts nonstop. I have like an air pod and I encourage young female athletes to do the same. Like I have an air pot in at all times, and I'm kind of listening to. Julie, Foudy his podcast and snacks and Just Women's Sports and all that kind of stuff.

As far as movies or shows. I don't know about that one. Trying to think. I mean, when I was a kid, my favorite movie was A League of Their Own. And I think that plays a lot into the people side, the, the sports side of like how it's more than just the game, you know, this, I have an older sister. And so some of those sports movies, but I wasn't, I'm not like a typical sports movie person.

But yeah, I mean, Ted Lasso, I'm so excited that that that show is popular. I really wouldn't think that it would have been. And I wonder if we didn't have COVID if it actually would have ever not, but I do love the Halloween was really fun to see how many Ted lasso is of beards. There were everywhere.

Just cause it was like, oh, it's resonating. And what I noticed, we hosted a big Halloween. Getting to [01:02:00] see a lot of people who hadn't seen the show, they're like, well, who are you? And now it's like just spreading like wildfire where people are watching it. And I think the more that can happen, the better, because that's an easy watch for people who need to be attuned into what we're talking about.

[01:02:15] Phil: Absolutely. And that show, I mean, that's why Paul and I and our half-time and post-match we do those conversations about the episodes and, and it's, it's a great show. It's funny, you say legal your own because, and Halloween, cause there were three girls dressed up as the league of your own. Players. And they were like 10 or 11.

I was, how, what, where did that go? That was, so there were two guys in that same half block. There were two guys dressed up as dumb and dumber dudes, which I thought was a sticker. They were probably 13 in the full, those orange, orange and blue suits from that movie. And then there was a league of their own, like at the next house, I was just going, what is going on here?

I feel like we're in, you know, back in the nineties,

[01:02:58] Kassie: but teenagers [01:03:00] because the clothing styles, oh man, we lived through this

[01:03:04] Phil: it's so yeah, my daughter, Hey uncle. Doug, can I have your shirt? Hey grandpa, can I have your shirt?

[01:03:11] Kassie: Where of I'm like, what

[01:03:11] Phil: is going on here? Doc Martins and Birkenstocks. It's all coming back, you know, it's just back to the day.

So, all right, well, thanks again. Kassie this is, this is a lot of fun again. Thank you so much for having me. This was. And real quick, what's the name of the podcast? It's just female footballers.

[01:03:26] Kassie: Yeah. Female footballers on apple and Spotify. We try to have just a variety of different people bringing up different subjects.

Similar to what you, a lot of the similar philosophies that you're talking about, but we, we highlight different things. We have a woman who has a clothing line on menstruation and how that plays a role in sport. We, I interviewed JT, my coach and got her perspective, coaching difference between coaching men and women.

I've got to be having on a director of coaching, a male director of coaching up here soon, and we're going to kind of discuss. The lack of female coaching. So all sorts of stuff. Yeah.

[01:03:59] Phil: We'll check it out [01:04:00] folks. And then female footballer ballers, what's the website,

[01:04:02] Kassie:

[01:04:03] Phil: WWF. That's super simple.

Keeping it simple. We'll have all that in the show notes. And again, thanks for being on. Thanks for what you're doing and just really encouraged by this conversation. Same. Thank you so much. All right, folks. Well, thanks again for tuning in for your download. As we talked about at the beginning, there's lots of ways to connect with us is the easiest way to do that.

Check out the show notes for all the different things that we have at and just as always hope that you're taking what you're learning from this show, and you're using it to help you be a better leader, better parent, better spouse, and you're using it to remind you regularly that soccer really does explain life and leadership.

Thanks a lot. Have a great week.