April 20, 2023

The Power of Futsal and Indoor Soccer with Keith Tozer, Commissioner of the Major Arena Soccer League and Hall of Fame Player/Coach

The Power of Futsal and Indoor Soccer with Keith Tozer, Commissioner of the Major Arena Soccer League and Hall of Fame Player/Coach

In Episode 117, Keith Tozer, Commissioner of the Major Arena Soccer League, Coach of the US Futsal National Team, MISL coach and player in five decades, the first-ever pick in the MISL Draft, and a Hall of Famer in multiple hall of fames, talks with...

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In Episode 117, Keith Tozer, Commissioner of the Major Arena Soccer League, Coach of the US Futsal National Team, MISL coach and player in five decades, the first-ever pick in the MISL Draft, and a Hall of Famer in multiple hall of fames, talks with Paul and Phil about what he has learned over the course of his five-decade long career playing and coaching indoor and outdoor soccer and futsal, why all teams should use futsal/indoor soccer as part of their player development, the power of the Geese “V” formation, leading up, his personal why, mentorship, how he has used lessons from soccer in his role as MASL Commissioner. Specifically, Keith discusses:

·     His personal story, including how he grew his passion for soccer, particularly indoor and futsal, coaching, and leadership, and how he got to be Commissioner of the MASL – and we inadvertently talked about answers to some possible trivia questions as well (2:13)

·     Why he believes that futsal and indoor are critical to training and should be an integral part of development at all levels (7:01)

·     His personal why/mission statement and how he is living it out (14:21)

·     The power of the Geese “V” formation and what leadership lessons we can learn from it (16:32)

·     His defining moment and how it impacted his development (21:01)

·     How he navigated the transition to coaching from playing, and his stint as a player/manager, and the leadership lessons he learned on his journey (24:00)

·     How he intentionally sought out mentors as a young leader and what he learned from his mentors (30:15)

·     The power of leading up (33:46)

·     A couple of the best leaders he played or coached with, and what set them apart from the rest (33:25)

·     What he would tell the 27-year-old Keith Tozer if he could go back in time (39:40)

·     A great story about empowering, servant leadership (41:41)

·     How he is using lessons learned from the game of soccer in his role as Commissioner of the MASL (46:22)

·     The good, bad, and ugly of US Soccer, how the MASL is helping to move the game forward in the US (46:26)

·     How he has used lessons learned from the game in his marriage and parenting (58:12)

·     Her recommendations (59:21)

Resources and Links from this Episode

·     MASL Website

·     US Youth Futsal Website

·     Uncut Video of the Episode

·     HSEL Facebook Group

·     Warrior Way Soccer

·     Coaching the Bigger Game Program

·     Phil’s email for DISC Training

·     The Winner Within: A Life Plan for Team Players, by Pat Riley


Phil: Welcome back to How Soccer Explains Leadership. Thanks again for being a part of this conversation that we get to have. I'm Phil Darke, your host, and with me is my brother, my teammate Paul Jobson. Paul, are you excited about today?

[00:00:14] Paul: Oh man, I really am, excited about our guests today. it's a, it's a blast from the past for me cuz it reconnects my, my youth days of someone I used to, to, to watch as a coach or he was a coach.

I was just a kid. So, uh, yeah, I'm excited to, to jump in here. Another great guest that has an amazing career that we all can learn a lot from. And so, yeah, I'm stoked, man.

[00:00:34] Phil: so that guest is Keith Tozer. Keith does have quite a, an illustrious career. You know, we've been fortunate to be able to interview some pretty amazing people on this, on this show, and uh, Keith has no exception to that.

we're gonna get into all the, the bio that he's got, but, How you doing,

[00:00:51] Keith: Keith? I'm doing great, thank you. And, and Paul, don't tell me you were three years old when you came to that Atlanta attack game.

[00:00:58] Paul: No, I was a little [00:01:00] older. Probably let's say, let's say 12, let's

[00:01:02] Keith: say.

Okay. I feel better than that. Ok. , you're doing great. I'm happy to be on the show and I love leadership. I, I'm glad we're talk, gonna talk about that. It's, it's. a big part of my life. So, I'm looking forward to it.

[00:01:15] Phil: Well, fantastic. Well, you know, we, we always like to just start with briefly sharing your story.

Now, like I said, you have, you have an extensive career and some of the things that you can say that nobody else will. One of the things you can say, nobody else in the world can say you are the, the first pick of the M I S L draft. That is something that one person in the world can say. That's pretty cool.

But to be able to play indoor soccer in several hall of fame all time winningest coach in North America, but indoor soccer that is indoor soccer history over 700 wins, US futsal national team, coach, and you're doing all kinds of stuff. But how can you just share your story and, you know, including how you developed your passion for soccer, for coaching, for leadership as you just did, and, and now you're the commissioner of the M A S L Major Arena Soccer [00:02:00] League.

And how, how did that all of that come about?

[00:02:03] Keith: Yeah, I kind of fell into soccer, really. Like any typical young male in, in our country. I played baseball, hockey, football. I ran track. I think I played all the sports other than basketball, but we did play pickup basketball. My brother Tom came over with the soccer ball one day and I, I think I was like a freshman in high school maybe going into high school.

We started kicking around and it was pretty cool because it was something that, you know, we could play 1v1 or, or train on our own. I went out for the high school team. Quick, quick flash forward. I was a leading goal scorer for all four years in my high school. In my junior year of high school, a guy named Francisco Marcos, who's a very famous soccer guy here in the United States and in Portugal.

He asked me to go to a, a US tournament play for a US team. I went to Oneonta. We played at Hartwick College. USA, Scotland, England, France. I fell in love at the town. I tried to go to Hartwick College. I [00:03:00] couldn't, but Oneonta state, which is really right across the street. They wanted me to go. So I ended up in Oneonta.

Halfway through my senior year, I was getting ready to get drafted in the NASL. I got a call from Keith on Aaron who went to Hartwick across the street and said, by the way, you were just picked number one in the MISL draft by Pete Rose and the Cincinnati Kids. And I was like, what the heck is the MISL?

No one ever heard of it. And three weeks later, I'm in Cincinnati. Meeting with Pete Rose and the other owners, signed a contract, left college, played that first year, went back to college, got my degree and went back to Indoor. And here I am. That,

[00:03:42] Phil: that's pretty cool. I mean, Pete Rose notwithstanding the rest of it's really cool too.

That that's, that's pretty, that's pretty amazing that he, I didn't realize he was the involved with that at all. And, and I did know that the, the names of the MISL teams, you know, that's something that, that is, is quite fun. The Kids, which is, [00:04:00] is kind of funny. But then you have the, the Pennsylvania Stoners and the Hartford Hellion, you know, those are things that I think probably meant something different back then.

But but Pete, that's, that's Stoners were great. . Yeah. Yeah. I like, I think that, I think the seventies that had to be a double entendre. I don't know. I mean, that, that, does the license

[00:04:15] Keith: plate “Get high with the Stoners” did not go well with the parents, so that didn't last long. So, , what was that? You know what's funny?

Two. Here's tribute question two, former NFL place Kickers played on that team that year. One was Matt Bahr. Yep. Who, who kicked at Penn State and then went on to the NFL and then Florian Kemp who kicked for Houston, so. Oh, wow.

[00:04:38] Phil: Wow. That is, that is, that's cool. Quite a bit of trivia that may come up someday.

You never know. You could, yeah, you could hit that. Paul, if you ever go to

[00:04:44] Paul: trivia night, Hey, listen, people should listen to this podcast. Some of these questions could be on jeopardy one day, and if you're on Jeopardy and that comes up, we're gonna take credit for educating everybody. But I, I had no idea that Pete Rose was involved in, in soccer.

It's pretty, pretty cool.

[00:04:57] Keith: So, yeah, that is cool. He kicked off the opening [00:05:00] ball December 22nd, 1978 at Nassau Coliseum. It was pretty cool having them in the locker room and of course on the field and obviously Shep Messing, who's our chairman of the league, played for the Cosmos. And, you know, I used to go watch the Cosmos play and see Shep in goal.

And then next thing you know, I'm on the same field playing against Shep. And no one knew what indoor soccer was. It was a pretty, pretty cool time. That is pretty

[00:05:22] Phil: cool. Another little bit of trivia. Paul, did you, did you know that the Pennsylvania Stoners were the first American soccer team with the front of shirt sponsor?

[00:05:31] Paul: I knew that when I saw your notes and I believe it was, was it Alpo that, was that the dog food company Alpo it, it,

[00:05:36] Keith: it

[00:05:36] Phil: was, it

[00:05:37] Keith: was. Do you know how that came about? I did not know that. Oh, okay. Wow.

[00:05:41] Phil: Yeah. Yeah, so that's another little fun fact for you out there, folks. And, and the other fun fact I found is that, that Keith, you have, you have a bobblehead doll that, that you can find on eBay right now.

So folks, if you want a Keith Tozer Bobblehead doll, you can go out and get it. I think one's, one's there for, it's about 20 bucks, so you can, you can get [00:06:00] that right now. It's pretty amazing. It's pretty amazing all the things that that you got going on, Keith. So that, that last one I just said might impress some of the, the younger ones more than anything else.

Is that Bobblehead that you actually have one? Well, I

[00:06:11] Keith: had a friend who ran the Hyatt Regency here in Milwaukee, and he actually was gonna buy a thousand of them and put the Hyatt in top of my head, . But I made the team put a hat on so he couldn't do it. So that's why we have a. Yeah, I

[00:06:26] Phil: saw that. That was, that was, I figured that had something to do with it.

Yeah. But it did have, you know, it didn't have quite as sweet of a mustache on it as you had back in the seventies, but that mustache you had, that you were sporting back then was pretty amazing. I'm not gonna lie. But are there any lessons that you, that you have from indoor soccer, from futsal that a player might not be able to learn from outdoor soccer?

Or is it something that is just, it's transitions and it's pretty much, it's very similar? No,

[00:06:51] Keith: I'm a firm believer that futsal and indoor soccer are great development tools, games for the [00:07:00] outdoor player. I, I am convinced into it. I've been trying to tell people in our country for the last 25. You know, a month and a half ago, I'm in Lisbon.

We're at their national training center. They're outdoor, you know, and and what do they have there? They have a futsal stadium, a futsal court, futsal program. And obviously Portugal is in the top 10 in the world for football. I was in Clare Fontaine in France at their national training center.

What do they have futsal at their national training center? I was in AFA in Buenos Aires for Argentina. The same thing. What do they have? I was in La Rosa in Spain. What do they have? Futsal. And the list can go on and on and we don't have it here. And, and meaning at the National Training Center you know, from, from top to bottom or bottom to top.

But I'm a firm believer that the game of futsal and indoor soccer can be the game changer for the outdoor program in our country. Ask Anson Dorrance at [00:08:00] North Carolina. The women, he feels the same. As, as well as many others.

[00:08:04] Paul: Yeah. Coach, I'm, I'm gonna call you coach throughout this podcast. It's probably just a natural thing.

So if that's all right with you that's

[00:08:10] Keith: fine. I've been calling a lot of things, but I prefer coach. I figured

[00:08:13] Paul: coach is a too bad. It's, it's, it's it's endearing for sure, but you know, I, I'm a firm believer in that as well, and I, I think I understand the benefits of that. Can you maybe for those who, who aren't believers yet in that, can you explain a little bit why, why you have that firm belief that it's such a great developmental tool for, for the game overall as a whole?

[00:08:31] Keith: Well, all the best players in the world, they all have what in common? Great technique, technical ability. Yep. So if you take the game of outdoor soccer and shrink it down and put it on a basketball court, it's obvious that a child, a young player's gonna touch the ball more. Take two eight year olds. take 'em to a driving range.

Golf one hits 10 balls every day. The other one hits 500 balls every day. [00:09:00] Who's gonna be better? Most of the time? At the end of the month? At the end of the year. So the technical ability, if you look at the thought process, thinking ahead, all great players think ahead. They vision things happening on a foot court, you cannot get the ball.

Then think it's too late. You got a defender on you. So on a basketball court, 94 by 54, a futsal court, you know, 120 feet by 65 feet, you must think ahead. If not, you're gonna be in trouble. If you think of the physicality, here's a big thing too, in the nba, in the middle seventies, what was the size of the average player?

Maybe six four. Six five. Now, what's the size? 6, 8, 6, 9. We have players that are almost seven feet. I I live in Milwaukee and Giannis here. That guy moves as if he's five 11. Mm-hmm. . So why? It's because they train on a small court and the [00:10:00] physicality, lateral forward, diagonal backwards quickness, agility.

You put all those things together, the thought process, the technical ability, the physicality, and, and you're now starting to develop players like the Corinthians in Brazil. Their players play futsal two times a week. They play outdoor four times a week, and then they have matches on that, that other game.

So they actually have, have, have put futsal into their program. And now Orlando on Major League Soccer is doing the same thing. So they, I, I'm a firm believer, Hey, by the way, what do we got to lose? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I mean, if the top five countries in the world are doing it, , why shouldn't we do it?

[00:10:43] Paul: To totally agree.

And I'm, so, I mentioned, I mentioned briefly that when I was in Atlanta, we were looking to start a league and I was running a, a youth organization. And that was part of our philosophy was I wanted to get kids more touches and I wanted to grow in a league. And I just, I was a firm believer in, in that I, I, I do [00:11:00] believe that a futsal league has risen up in Atlanta.

I mean, that was, gosh, 20 something years ago. But a firm believer in that everything that you just said, I think is great just to get that, that message out there. And as, as leaders in the sport, when we're looking for things to do when it rains, but why don't you have access to a basketball court? And, and sometimes facilities are hard to find, but that's always a great alternative is to get, get inside, get on a hard surface get on a concrete pad, you know, whatever, whatever it is.

It's not it, it's not like we have to have all these amazing fields all the time or whatnot. It gives you some alternatives to training as well that that I find to be beneficial.

[00:11:34] Keith: I, I, I joke respectfully when I travel the world and, and say that the United States has more futsal courts than any other country in the world 'cause every elementary, junior high, high school, college, university not only have one gym, some have multiple gyms, 4, 6, 8, and 10. We have parking lots. We, I mean, if tennis courts that are underutilized can be used and everything. I got a tribute question for you. [00:12:00] Well, not question, who do you think are the top three US players right now on the national team?

[00:12:09] Phil: Pulisic, Adams, McKinnie, maybe.

[00:12:12] Keith: Okay. Pulisic. Can you throw him in there? Top five? Yeah. I

[00:12:15] Phil: said Pulisic Adams McKinney.

[00:12:17] Keith: Yeah. Yep. Do you know the story with Christian Pulisic? Christian grew up with the indoor game. His father played for the Harrisburg Heat in the National Professional Soccer League. And when his father got the head coaching job with Detroit they had five Brazilian players, Rick Orino, Everton, just to name a few.

Christian would play foot saw and indoor soccer. 7, 8, 9, 10, you know, when he was 10 in, in Detroit. So his game, a lot of it came because he played small sided games, which is indoor and futsal. Yeah, that's great. And I can

[00:12:52] Phil: tell you on the, the, some of the best players in, in our area, when you watch 'em play, you're like, man, they're just incredible with their technique.

And, [00:13:00] and then you find out they're on the, you know, playing in the national pool for futsal and they're really involved with the futsal. And it's like, yeah, it's, no, it shouldn't be a secret. It shouldn't be something that's a, that's an exception to the rule. I agree. It should be absolutely something we're, something we're doing.

Cuz a lot of kids will say, well I play basketball cause it makes my mental processing quicker. I'm quicker on the soccer field cause I play basketball. Which is true, but why not combine the two and say let's play soccer and, and in a way that is similar to basketball in the mental processing, so you get the foot skills as well.

So Yeah, I totally, totally agree.

[00:13:33] Paul: Yeah. And I, I, I want to dive, we're gonna dive further into, to futsal, indoor soccer, all those things. We kind of got ahead of ourselves cuz it's just extremely interesting. But I wanna backtrack a little bit and you're obviously extremely passionate about when I asked you to, to tell us, you know, You know, convert the, the, the ones that aren't converted yet.

You're very passionate about that, obviously. And it's been, I mean, I'm gonna guess kind of a, a life mission at some point with, with what you've been doing for the game over, over the years. But let's, [00:14:00] let's dig into it a little bit, is, Keith, can you tell us like why you do what you do? Do you have a personal why?

Like, what motivates you? What, what, what pushes you to, to, to do what you do on a daily basis? What, what's your personal why?

[00:14:11] Keith: I, I love, I, I used to love managing games. Why? I still do I, I love coaching games and that's a little bit different managing and coaching. But my passion is teaching. I think if I was a, a teacher in elementary or junior high or high school, I'd rather take an f and d student and try to make 'em a B student than take an A student and just maintaining them, I really, really fell in love with teaching.

Then I think my legacy was how can I make good grade? And when you see young people, young men and women, all of a sudden the light turns on and they see that all the work they've done, the sacrifice, the, the, the hard work, the, the long hours that all of a sudden it pays off. That to me [00:15:00] is worth anything else in life.

You know, I read some of your questions and when I was climbing up that ladder, right, to become successful, like most of us do in business, sports, and in life, it was about, really about me at that time, right? I, I needed to get there, I needed to get better. I needed to do this. When I finally figured it out, it wasn't about me, it was about us.

I became a much different coach and I think a different person, and that really helped me kind of move the domino forward in a positive direction. So I love teaching. I love helping people see something that maybe they always wanted to, to get to but couldn't get there. Yeah.

[00:15:48] Phil: Yeah.

And I know that Paul and I are we, we, we are similarly wired. That's something that I know really excites both of us and at the core of what we do. And on, on the note of teaching, right? And you, you've started this [00:16:00] motivational company, Teamwork Concepts. And one of the things I saw as I was researching for this was one of my favorite analogies as well, which is exactly the, the, if you couldn't see that, if you're just listening to this folks, he did the V the the geese V formation.

And so can you just teach that, share that what, what is so powerful about that analogy and you know, why do you use it in your, in your leadership training?

[00:16:22] Keith: Yeah. And I'm glad you said leadership training because I'm, I'm not so much a motivational speaker cuz motivational speaker's kind of like cotton candy, eat it.

Mm-hmm. takes ready for five minutes and then you forget about it. . I, I think when you go and speak to a group of people, you need to teach 'em tools because, you know, they come home from a speech and they go, honey, oh, I'm gonna sell cars, I'm gonna sell machines, I'm gonna win games. And then Tuesday it doesn't happen.

All of a sudden you lost your motivation. So, so what do you got? So why do I use the V formation? One is, and, and I talked to my 12 year old daughter the other day cause she's a volleyball player and, and I use airline pilots, [00:17:00] kind of like the same thing. The geese have a destination where they need to get to.

Right. A pilot has a destination where it needs to get the passengers too. Well, once your destination is thought of, then you gotta figure out your flight plan. How are you gonna get there? Right. You know, the geese will fly thousands of miles and, and of course the front geese get tired. And what happens to the front geese?

The, the front geese, geese fall back, and then other ones move forward and, and they fly in a V. Because I don't think they got together hundreds of years ago and looked at the alphabet and let's do B or let's do D or Z. They figured just V would break the wind in order for them to fly much more efficient to get where they need to go.

I, I love the analogy that people fall back and other people fall forward because you must make people feel like they're part of the solution. And not always part of the problem. So if you're a leader on a, on a team, if you're a leader in a [00:18:00] company, you, you must let other people lead it. It will make them feel like that they're part of the solution.

So I love that. I love the fact of the honking, you know, the, the, the honking. What is that? That's communication, right? And it's proven that. Yes. Money can move houses can move people. Whatever, can move people. But still today, telling someone, Phillip Paul, it's great. You're on my team. You've done an awesome job.

How's the family? Communication on a team going to a destination I, I think is extremely important. I, I don't know if you know this, but when, when one geese gets sick or, or gets hurt and falls to the ground, do you know how many geese follow? I'm gonna guess all of 'em. A couple of 'em. No. Two. Yeah, two, two geese will come and, and, and stay with that geese until it passes away or it gets better.

And then they try to [00:19:00] find that flack orno another. They find another. What's the analogy with people staying behind? Like if you're a sports team and the teammates having a bad day, are you the kind of person that's just gonna walk past them? If someone's having a bad day in a front office of a company they feel sick, they're in a car accident, somebody in their family is ill are, are you gonna stop by their desk and stay with them and make them feel like, you know, it's okay.

We'll get through this together. So I think if you take that analogy of the geese, you know, the communication, the leadership, the falling back, the moving forward, I love it. And, and I use it sometimes and when I do my talks.

[00:19:38] Phil: Yeah. It's definitely one that we've used as well. And I, I love, I had learned stuff as I was researching this from, from the, the different applications that you brought out of it as well.

And that last one is one of 'em too is, is to have, you know, a couple stay back, not all of 'em, because you still have that mission, you still gotta move forward toward the goal. Yep. But you have those couple that, to make sure, and, and it's, it's not, I [00:20:00] imagine at the time it's not like they say at the beginning, Hey, you guys are the two, it's just two go and then the rest keep going.

And they say, okay, they got it taken care of and now we can go because they have it taken care of. And that, that goes to rolls on teams. That goes to so many things. We could go on and on. We don't have time to go as deep as we want to on that, on that geese v formation. We could take the entire time on that, but that's something that I, I love as well.

So I'm, I'm glad that that you used that too.

[00:20:24] Paul: Yeah, definitely. Thanks for sharing that in this podcast and definitely encourage folks to go in and, and dig more into, into what you're doing from a leadership training standpoint. Cause there's some great stuff in there for sure. Coach, you know, you had a, a great playing career give, give us, I'm sure there are a ton of moments you probably could look back on that were maybe defining moments, but pick one or two, just defining moments as a player for us.

What impact did it have on you and how did it kind of impact how you thought as a coach and as a leader?

[00:20:51] Keith: Yeah. I, I, I think when I turned pro, that was a big moment for me because remember I said, I, I didn't [00:21:00] start playing soccer until I was 12, went to college when I was 17 or 18, turned pro when I was 21.

You know, it was kind of like a fast, you know, movement forward. When I turned pro, I was like, wow, you know, I, I, I never knew about pro soccer. I'm now playing pro. And then I decided I, I have to get good at this and how can I get good at this? I wasn't a big time technical player. My, my, my skillset was probably my physicality.

So my goal was I'm gonna try to get as fit as I possibly can, and that would keep me to the forefront. And then I figured out that I'm not gonna be the best player on this team, but if I could be one of the most popular players on this team, then maybe they might not get rid of me as easy. So every time there was personal appearances, I would raise my hand and said I would do it.

So I started doing personal appearances in every team that I played for. couple times I was voted, you know, again, not the best player but the most popular player. And it wasn't an ego thing, it was just like, I don't wanna get [00:22:00] fired, but if I'm popular then maybe, you know, at my work. So, and through that I met business people and from that I became a player coach and then obviously into coaching.

I always tell young players now in the major arena soccer league and anywhere else is get into the community, give back, do the appearances, promote the game. And, and as we know it's a lot about who you know as much as what you know. And if you can then filter that into the community, then you're gonna be a better all around person.

So that's what I kind of did and it kind of helped me out.

[00:22:37] Paul: Yeah. Folks, go, go back and listen to that again, cuz there's a lot of great leadership pieces in there. Have, having worked in a office of a Pro team and having to, to, to negotiate deals with the community. In the front office, we would fight for the players that were willing to do appearances, whether they were the best players or not.

You needed people to go out into the community. But I think there's also a bigger lesson there of, you know, what is, what is your role within a team? [00:23:00] You know, and there's a lot of different roles whether you're on the field or off the field. There are a lot of roles to fill. And there's some great, great lessons in there.

And, and you touched a little bit on the overlap you had of being a player, player manager. And that's always been really intriguing to me of, of folks that have been able to do that. There are a number of folks, especially in the, I think in the indoor league, I think you probably saw it maybe more than than outdoor, but that overlap of that player manager and how do you, how do you manage that?

I remember being a young coach collegiately right outta college, helping be an assistant a little bit older than the players, maybe the same age as some of the players on the team. I wasn't the head coach, so there was some buffer there. But I've always been intrigued in how you, how you did that cuz you're, I mean, if you're changing lines, I mean you're subbing yourself in and out, , you know?

Yeah. So there's some dynamics there that we don't understand. Tell us a little bit how you, how you manage that and how leadership changes from maybe being captain or a leader of a team to being a manager player. How

[00:23:50] Keith: does that work? Yeah, let me touch on something real quick and I get to that because you brought up roles.

There was many times where either my roommate would come in into where we were living or into [00:24:00] a training facility and they got cut or traded. And I remember all those players saying, you know, if they would've just told me what my role in this team was, or what my responsibilities were on the team, then maybe I'd have had a better shot of being here.

So I, early on in my coaching career, I started figuring out I need to tell my teammates or my players what their role on the team is at the beginning of the year, what their goal is, and we would do that together and what their responsibilities are. And obviously, you know, with, with that comes rewarding consequences, right?

So we'd meet before the year, what their role is, what their goal is, what their responsibility. Halfway through the season we would meet again. And kind of like the geese, you know, sometimes, you know, like the geese or a pilot, turbulence comes, right? You gotta change course. You gotta go in a different direction.

Halfway through the season we say, okay, have you reached your goal? Do you know what your role is? What's your responsibility? And then at the end of the year, we would do that again. So when, when I became a player coach in Louisville, [00:25:00] again, remember what I said, I needed to be the fittest guy in the team.

I, I needed to lead by that way. I wasn't gonna lead by scoring goals. I wasn't gonna lead by saving goals. But if I could be the fittest or one of the fittest guys in the team, then I, I think I could set an example. I was fortunate enough to have Zorn Savik, who's assistant coach, who's sporting KC now. I had Jimmy Cabra who went on with the outdoor national team.

All three of us. We all had different qualities. We helped push each other, become fitter in different areas. That fitness helped me elevate our team in times that we needed it. Was it a tackle? Was it a hard run forward? Was it something like that? And then I started deciding. You know, transfer of a tendency from one generation to another.

I was kind of like some of my older coaches, it was more my way than your way. And when we started figuring out it is our way, not my way. So early on as a player [00:26:00] coach, concentrating on playing, but at the same time trying to figure out, okay, what is this coaching thing all about? Because I never knew I was gonna be a coach.

I, I went there because I have a business degree out of Oneonta State and I figured I could play and also be in the front office and learn stuff so when I get done playing, I have something to fall back on. That was my reason for coming, becoming the player coach. Next thing though, we were in the finals that first year we lost, but we were in the finals.

Next thing you know, we're in the finals the second year. We lost, but we were in the finals. Halfway through the third year, my agent calls me and says, Hey, by the way, they just let go of the LA Lasers coach. The Jerry Buss owns the team, you should go out for an interview. And I got, I'm 27 years old.

There's no way. I'm just starter coaching. Long story short, I flew out there, I interviewed with a bunch of other guys. I got the job, and next thing you know, I'm in Los Angeles with the Buss family. So it was kind of, remember 12 years old, the college to pros, [00:27:00] player coach to Los Angeles with the Buss family and then now commissioner.

I guess it's circle of life. Yeah.

[00:27:08] Paul: That's one of the, the fun things about this podcast is everybody's coaching journey is different. And I think that's important for, for young aspiring coaches to figure out. There's not one way to, to, to get through that. Can you, can you dive into a little bit more of just kind of the dynamics of, of being that, that player coach, I mean, I'm looking at some stats, whether they're true, whether they're accurate or not.

When you're in Louisville, that first opportunity to do that, you were there three years and you had the most amount of goals in, in that time in Louisville. Is that because you were designing plays for yourself to score or you, you moved yourself from a back to a forward? Like No, I'm joking about that, that, but there are more goals in Louisville than anywhere else.

So there's gotta be some kind of thing there when you're coaching and playing, but hit, hit the dynamics of being that, that that that player coach. Well,

[00:27:51] Keith: I, I, I was a little bit more at ease as a player, even though I had the responsibility as a wins and losses. I was a little bit more eased as a player because [00:28:00] I, I was, I didn't worry about getting cut or, or playing bad.

I knew I was gonna play all the time. I was extremely unfortunate. Fortunate to play with players like Chris Hek and Michael Fall, and, and Z savak and Cach Tari and Jimmy Cabra and the li that that team was so gifted and so many of those guys have gone on to now to coach an mls or, or in college. So, you know, it was a younger league little, I think those teams would've won Danton and our team would've won games in the MISL.

But I think I just had a little bit more time in the court and a little bit more responsibility. But I surely learned a lot from Louisville. And then when I went to Los Angeles to be around Pat Riley and Magic Johnson and Jim Buss and Jerry Buss and, and Wayne Gretzky on the hockey side. And my office is right there and I'm traveling with Jim and Jerry and I, and I'm.

I mean, think about, I, I was thrown into, [00:29:00] you know, coaching 101 right away. It was great. Yeah. That's really

[00:29:04] Phil: cool. Can you go into that a little bit more? I know that I, I took over a, a small nonprofit when I was 34. You just said you took over a major indoor soccer league team with Jerry Buss and being in the same building as the Lakers and the, and the Kings, and, you know, that's a, that's a bit different profile.

And you said you were 27? Yeah. Can you speak to that for, for young leaders out there who think, oh, I don't know what I'm doing. The, the fact is they probably don't at any level, but how did you take advantage of that, that the mentors that you had there, how did you, I mean, probably part of it was just by accident, but just because you were 27, but how did you intentionally seek that out and be able to have those mentors pour into you rather than just osmosis?

As you're, as you're and I'm making some assumptions there, but can you speak to that as a young leader, how you can grow in that leadership knowing and being, you know, kind of have [00:30:00]that humility to know you don't know everything, but also move forward saying, I can learn it.

[00:30:05] Keith: Passion I had. And, and I think all great coaches are great leaders or great business people have passion.

I, I was an extremely hard worker and I was a learner. I, I was thirsty for information. So next thing and know I'm in LA Forum. You got Pat Riley, you got Magic Johnson, you got Kareem abdul-Jabbar. I, I, I tremendous amount of respect for Jim Buss, his son who brought me to Los Angeles, who's a really great sports mind.

And, and somehow Jerry and I just kind of clicked and, and I remember getting on an airplane in the first month I was there. Secretary came down and said, Jerry wants you to go with Jim to Denver for the Laker game. And I go, look, I just took over the team and I think Jerry said, Hey, by the way, you know, you, you're gonna go.

So we, we would just sit and talk about sports and management and leadership. So then I would come outta my office and I would sit and [00:31:00] watch Showtime. So if you know what Showtime is mm-hmm. , the Lakers would do patterns with no defenders for time, after time, after time, after time, that's where I started doing patterns.

and then I would go watch Gretzky, you know, train the next day at the Forum. And, and I would ask coaches, and I would ask players and sit down with Jim and Jerry. I, I was a sponge. I, I needed to learn as much as I could. And again, it's not so much how you know about the sport, it's how you treat people in business, I think is what really makes people successful.

Then, then here's the thing that I don't think we teach enough in the United States when it comes to coaching, soccer. Public Speaking, For some reason I felt very comfortable in, and now remember 20 minutes ago, I said I would do all the appearances. Well, when you do appearances, what do you have to do?

You have to get up in front of a lot of people and you have to speak. I [00:32:00] became comfortable in that. And, and when I went to interview, I felt comfortable with Jim and Jerry Buss that I could talk and, and kind of give out my ideas. . So the more I did that, the more I'd learned the passion and the hard work, and I was able to communicate what I thought was in here to what was out there.

I think that's the key. I know a lot of coaches who are brilliant minds, but they don't have the communication skills. And I know other coaches who don't have all the X's and O's, but you're such great communicators. You think they're great at X's and O's. So when you, when you put all that together and that passion, that desire in wanting to learn and I still am dying to learn I just, like I said, came back from Portugal and I learned a bunch more.

I, I think that's what makes coaches and, and sports is no different than business. Okay. You have a product and you have a service. Okay. You gotta get people on your team, you gotta move them. You gotta make adjustments. The, you know, the first quarter you're not [00:33:00] selling, someone's not pulling their way, they're not falling back.

You gotta, so I think people who are successful in sports can be great in the business world.

[00:33:10] Phil: Yeah, there's so much good stuff right there. Like, if you're a young leader or an old leader listen to that. Leaders are learners and leaders are perpetual learners, and we can never, ever stop learning. And that's, I mean, that is so good and so important.

And, you know, ask for the, ask the people around you. If you respect someone as a leader, ask 'em for advice. Sit down with them, take 'em to lunch, take 'em to coffee, and just, just learn. Just learn from 'em. And, yeah, I love that.

[00:33:36] Keith: I, I learned, I learned, you know, how to manage up. So how, how do you manage your boss.

Yeah. And how to manage lateral and, and how to manage people below. We started off as season one and seven and I took all my coaches, my two assistants into a hotel room, Kansas City. I said, guys, we gotta come up with a game plan. Physical, technical, technical, psychological. I called the owner up before I got into [00:34:00] Milwaukee and I said, Hey guys, I'd like to have a meeting with you.

You know what they said? We were thinking the same thing. Hmm. So, so we mapped out and we said to the owners, this is what we're gonna do. Then we went to the team and said, this is what we're gonna do. And we had the best record and lead that year and won another champion. Wow. Managing them.

[00:34:24] Phil: That is so good.

We talk about that sometimes with, with different people that throughout is that leading from the middle, but that idea of being the, the top on your team, but realizing that there's always someone that's gonna be above you, whether it's a board, whether it's the owners, whether it's somebody else. So to realize that, that, you know, you have resources to see 'em as resources and not as your enemy or not as your competitor is Great point.

A huge part of it. Huge part of it. Yep. All right. Let, let's move on to the next thing we wanna talk about. You have coached and, and played with a lot of great players, just a lot of great people, leaders over the course of your career. You [00:35:00] know, and, and it's, it's spanned six decades at this point, which is, which is, which is crazy.

And I, I. Just love to hear from you. Are there one or two players that, that were the best leaders that you played with or coached? And kind of what set them apart?

[00:35:15] Keith: Oh my God. The, I, I've been blessed with so many great players and, and, and so many led in so many different ways. We, we had a player in Milwaukee, Michael King.

He was the all-time leading goal scorer for the Milwaukee Wave. English guy. He led through his physicality, he led, because he scored goals he led because of his personality he led, because he had that innate ability. But he came to me one time and he said, I can't be the captain anymore. And I said, why is that, Michael?

And he goes, I'm not the leading scorer. And I go, Michael, you don't have that captain band because you're leading goal scorer. You have that captain band because all the qualities that I had just mentioned. So you are gonna remain a captain. I, I thought he was a great captain. Victor [00:36:00]Neuera, who I feel is one of the best goalkeepers in the history of indoor soccer, played 10 years of the Milwaukee Wave, won four championships, and then bunched with the San Diego Soccer.

He led in a different way. He was a quiet leader. At least when he played he helped me immensely and other players because I, I'm, I'm, I wear my emotions on the outside. I, I, I, I come into a practice and I know, I tell kids with my voice. Look at, I'm a, I'm a teddy bear inside a grizzly bear outfit.

Don't get scared of my voice. Okay? I, I bring passion and that's my responsibility, right? A, a as a leader Victor, he gave me a bunch of books. and they were motivational books. They were like Zen books, . And that wasn't part of my repertoire, . And you know what? I got involved in that. Next thing you know, I started reading all these books, right?

Phil Jackson's book, pat Riley's book, Zen Books, zap book, you know, an Anthony Robbins. I started pouring into, [00:37:00] Victor helped me so much with that as a leader. And he did that with his teammates too. So, so, so there, there are so many different kinds of leaders. There is a quiet leader at Victor, there is a vocal leader and Michael King, and they still move players in a po positive direction.

Those are just two of many players that I had the utmost respect for because I had so many of 'em. But those, those are two that come to the, for.

[00:37:29] Phil: Yeah. And the thing I love about that is that you talk about the different types of leadership. Cuz so many people think of leadership as the one big person who's the loudest, who's out there, who's doing the motivational pep talk, whatever.

There's so many different ways to lead. And I, I love that you touched on that.

[00:37:44] Keith: And I, and I try to do that myself. I mean, you can't be predictable as a leader, right? Sometimes you gotta be quiet. Sometimes it's not so much what you, you know, it, it's what you say you gotta be careful with, right? But you gotta be quiet.

And [00:38:00] sometimes leadership is difficult. Sometimes you gotta do the difficult thing, not demean anybody, okay? But sometimes you gotta really, you know, set the tone that, okay, this wasn't good enough. And, and, and what we're gonna do, get to know the people, get to know their kids, their, their, you know, their spouses.

It, if you, that's the picture. The X's and o's are important, but that, all that other stuff is what's really important. .

[00:38:25] Paul: Mm-hmm. , one once again I lo I love that coach. We, we hear this time and time again at some point in a conversation with a, a great coach and a great leader, we hear at some point, Hey, the XOs are important, but the most important thing is the people.

So, we'll go back and people will listen to that again. And that's just a common theme that, again, for, you know, all of us that are continuing to, to learn, that can't be, that can't be said enough, you know? It is so, so true. I'm a firm believer that you'll, you'll get more out of the X's and o's if you, if you know your people.

So I appreciate you, you saying that that's not, that's not [00:39:00] teed up on this podcast. We are gonna start thinking with that. We tee that up for everybody, because it said so often, but it's such an important piece, coach, and I appreciate you, you saying that. With, with that, in, with that in mind and, and the experiences you have, the people that you just mentioned, I'm sure you could go through probably a hundred more that have influenced what would you go back and tell your 25 or 27 year old self as you're getting into the game?

What, what would you go back now with the experience and knowledge you have? What would you go back and tell that, that 25, 27 year old young Keith Tozer, who's, who's about to coach, about to start coaching and, and

[00:39:30] Keith: leading, it's, it's not about you. I, that, that was the turning point in my career that when I learned it wasn't, remember I'm trying, we, we all are right?

At a young age, we're all trying to find that ladder. We gotta be successful. We're spending less time with our family. We're, we're, we're doing more time at work, we're doing this and that. When I figure that it's more about all of us winning than just me winning as a coach or me winning as a manager.

That, that made me better [00:40:00] in those moments of the game that I needed to make a decision because when it was, I, it was like I was so nervous. It's like, do I call it time out? I would get angry. I would do this and that. But when I was chilled, when I, when I could make those calm judgments in the heat of the storm swirling around, that's when I think things started turning around a little bit.

I mean, throw futsal in there. I started traveling the world cuz, you know, indoor soccer, which has been the big part of my life, you, you can't, where do you learn indoor soccer? There's, there's no book that, it's not at the coaches' convention. Tony played really here in North America. You, you learn it by osmosis, by yourself.

So, I started learning that and traveling the world and putting futsal and indoor soccer together with some outdoor component. But then this, when I started to read and started to relax and it wasn't about me, it was about us then. That was good. If, if I could go back and tell coaches that are listening right now, it's not about you, you'll get there.

[00:41:00] Okay. It's about all your players, all, all your employees. Nurture them, teach them, motivate them. You'll get to where you want to get to.

[00:41:09] Paul: Yeah. It's so valuable and I think that the, and I'm not putting words in your mouth, but I, I would, I would say, and let me know if you agree with this or not. I think when we're, we're young and adventurous and we're trying to, like you said, climb that ladder.

We think we have to, we have to control every, every moment. We have to only, we can only rely on ourselves. But would you, would you agree that the truth is by bringing those around you, you're probably gonna get there

[00:41:31] Keith: faster. A hundred percent. There, there's the geese again, right? Yeah. Fall back. Let them go by.

You let them lead. I, I Do, I have time to give you a quick story. Yep. Of course. We, we went undefeated at home. 22 and oh at the Bradley Center. in a 44 game schedule. First team, never do that. We played Cleveland in the first round of the playoffs. I would've bet we were gonna lose the first game at the Bradley Center.

It's sports. It's just numerically, right. What did we do [00:42:00] the first game? We lost, I thought as a coach and my coaching staff, that it was wasn't tactics, it was just, you know, numbers. And so we didn't really make any adjustments. We won game two. We went game three, and Cleveland got killed. I'm talking, we got killed, right?

And we were like a college basketball team. We high pressure, you know, we ran, we forced, we ran an auto orphan, everything like that. Well, we got killed the next day. Was going to be the, the, the, you know, that final game. If Cleveland wins, they win The champ. I came down to the lobby and you guys know what a shoot around is and right in basketball, right?

Mm-hmm. or soccer. Mm-hmm. morning of the game, you go shoot around and everything. So there's four vans outside the hotel. And normally all the players try to fit in the three vans and the coach staff stays in one, not because they don't like us, they, that's just how it is. I came outside the hotel and I told all the veterans to get into the van, my van and on.

When I went to get to the van, normally were the coaches or executive [00:43:00] sit, they sit at the front. I got in the back of the van, so here I got 10 veterans. Michael King, Victor gui, Stevie Mors, Michael Richardson, I mean, big time players. I'm sitting in the back of the van, we pull out and all of a sudden they go, Hey guys, hypothetically, if Art my assistant coach and I don't show up tonight, how are we gonna play?

And I could just sense through the back of their head, they're like, . Is he okay? I mean, was he out drinking last night? And I said, no guys, really, hypothetically, if we don't show up, how would you play? And all of a sudden, all these veterans had coach, we can't pressure Otto anymore. They're giving numerical advantage or Care.

Hector Marinara, they're killing us. Let's drop back. And I said, okay, how far back midfield farther back. They said, let's go all the way to the yellow line. I said, Greg, so we had this great conversation. Remember the geese, right? Let let other people lead. Here's veteran. creating their own game plan. Well, when we get to the arena, what do you think all the other [00:44:00] players did?

I could see 'em walk over to the veterans, go, Hey, did you guys get yelled at? Hey, what's going on? So and so on. Right? So normally a practice in the morning of a championship is really kind of like, you know, to the T, right? Boom, boom, boom. You know what we did? We had a pickup game. I even brought the TV guys down and put 'em on a team.

Why did I wanna do that? I wanted to relax everybody. We had a pickup game for like 25 minutes. We came back to the hotel, got everybody in my room, explain what the game plan was. I went to each man. Do you understand the game plan? Yes. Do you believe in the game plan? Yes. What do you need to do now?

Execute. I did that for all 16 players. Hmm. But I found out that day and I was young, that that was their game plan. They needed to execute that game plan, right? And not because, not showing that the coaching staff was wrong, but we used the information that they gave us. Long story short, O started coming up the field First Yellow line.

[00:45:00] They weren't there. Midfield line, they weren't there. Bar Yellow Line were there. We won that game and we came back in front of 18,500 and we won another championship. I learned so much from that because I listened to the people that are actually playing how they want to do it. It was. That's gold

[00:45:20] Paul: right there.

[00:45:21] Phil: Yeah. Love it. 100%. Yes. So if you ever have a story and you say, do we have time? The answer is yes. So, 100%. That's so good. That's so good. Now, now you're the Commissioner of the MASL. All right? So, you know, you've gone through, as you said, kind of the career and I don't, I don't know if that's necessarily the circle of life for every you know, coach player.

I, Paul, I don't think you're gonna be the commissioner. Maybe you will, I don't know. Maybe that is the circle of life. Yeah. We'll see. You got time. Never say never. You're still, you're the super young guy on this podcast. So, that's right. You know, you got tons of years, tons of years ahead of you. But as a commissioner, you know, what lessons learned directly from the game of soccer are you using?

So that's, you know, that's what we [00:46:00] talk about on this show is using the, the game of soccer in your life and leadership and particularly of, of different businesses. You said soccer is business and as the commissioner of the league, what are you using that you learned directly from the game?

[00:46:12] Keith: Well, we're go goal orientated.

So our goal in the first year was shape, JP and Shep, was that we were gonna take all the elements of the responsibility of the front office from A to Z, whatever those were. And we needed to get better, 25% of those. I thought we did that. We talked about roles on the show, right? We, we took, we all went after the commissioner's job together.

Okay? Three friends, JP became president of media. That was his booking. Shep became chairman. Business expansion. That was his booking. , maybe I got the short list. I got the soccer side of it. But like the Supreme Court of nine were three, and we vote and communicate on everything. So now we know what our roles were.

Then we had to figure out what our responsibilities were. Okay. Now remember, I think this is true. [00:47:00] You just don't learn. You just don't become a professional player. You must learn how to become a professional player. You don't become a professional coach. You must learn to become a professional coach. I even think owners need to learn how it is to be a professional owner in a sport, which is a lot different sometimes than actually in a business.

Even though we said that business acumen, crossover commissioners need to learn how to become commissioner. I have learned so much in the last year and a half in so many different areas, but some of the things that I learned as a player first and as a coach second. Stay in the pocket, right? Don't get stressed out.

Be goal orientated, make adjustments. Listen, I think that's the biggest thing. Think about this, this role, it's kinda interesting commissioner role. You gotta tell individuals who are used to having in their own way, in their own companies what to do. [00:48:00] And if they don't do it, then there's consequences.

And then at end of the month, you gotta wait for your paycheck to come. So it's kind of an interesting balancing act. You throw in emotions, you throw in guys who have egos and they wanna win both in business and also on the field. There's a lot of juggling, there's a lot of movement going on. So, so many things that I brought from the game of soccer, I brought into this role in still learning moving forward.

That's good stuff. Yeah.

[00:48:35] Paul: Let's let's transition a little bit. I'd love to get your, your insights. We, we've asked this question and, and just your, from some different folks, but your experience over the years having been in the game, I, I'd love to hear kind of your opinion on things that, that you think are going really well in the game of soccer in the United States.

And of course, you're, you're a global soccer guy. You've just, you've talked about how much you've traveled the world seeing the game. And I'd love to hear your opinion on where do you think we are, what are the good things [00:49:00] that are going on with us in the, with the game of soccer in, in the us from the youth levels all the way up to professional, what are some things you think we can do better?

And thirdly how, how is the how is the MASL helping along the path that you think we need to go to move the game forward in our country?

[00:49:14] Keith: Yeah. I think soccer right now in our country even though my mom told me in 1970, this is the perfect time to get into the game. I, I think now in 2023 we're doing wonderful things in all areas of youth.

Of the college game. And obviously Major League Soccer and USL, they, they have done fabulous. And, and then of course the major arena soccer league international team. If you look at the women's game, we always have great athletes and the women's game, and we have wonderful soccer players and we have extraordinary coaches.

I mean, our, our women's game is so bright, love watching it. I, I think. They just have done an, a wonderful job with the men program. I think we do a wonderful job up until the age of about 14 and [00:50:00] 15. At 14 and 15. I think that's where the break goes. You know, yes, we have m l s next now, which now players are not playing in high school.

But if you think of the player at 14, 15 and 16, who's with Man United or Corinthians or some other pro team, they're, they're playing 80, 90, a hundred games a year and they're playing a games, right? A games are the games that push you to make you become better. How many of those games do our players play at that, that age?

But we're getting better. I really think that if we infuse futsal and indoor soccer into our youth players starting at six to 12 as part of the outdoor program, I would say in a very short period of time, you would see what you see in all the other countries by the way, and, and. . You know, we, we wanted to get soccer into the inner city, but you don't have outdoor fields cuz you don't have space.

You're not gonna get 22 players to play. But what do you have in the inner city? You have basketball courts, you have small [00:51:00] spaces. I mean, what a perfect way to get small sided games in, in, into the inner city to get everyone involved in the game. I think when we do that, we'll leave forward. I think indoor soccer has gotten a bad rap in the last 10 or 15 years because some people have said that's the game with the boards.

It's a parachute, it's, it does not gonna help you. It's all about coaching. Like when I would train our team, Phil, if you want to pass the Paul and you missed him and it hit the board, I would blow the whistle and I then would say it's a kick in. And even though Paul got it back, The players get mad and go, what are you doing?

Coach Paul got it back. I'm like an outdoor soccer that's a throw out and futsal that's a kick in Phil. If you wanna pass the Paul, get it to his feet. Now at the ends we're using the, the boards for scoring goals. That's different. You're trying to play balls off. So if you're coaching indoor soccer, the correct way, it's developing.

By the way, [00:52:00] a lot of my ex-players or people I know in Major League soccer, they all say, I wish our players would go play indoor soccer for one year. Why? Because it teaches 'em how to defend by yourself. Teaches how to defend with a pair, and teaches them how to defend with the group. Then when you go back outdoor soccer, you're gonna be a better player.

The first thing that Shep, JP and I felt is that we needed to get indoor soccer back into the conversation of soccer here in North America. We went to the coaches convention two years ago. We were back at it this year. We were doing a college draft, which the league has never done. We did a player combine.

First time ever in the MASL. We're talking to outdoor people and you know, I mean, JP and Shep are iconic, right? Everybody knows him. They, they've brought some limelight to indoor soccer. Not to say that it wasn't there before, but having those two gentlemen, I really think people said Shep Messing's back in indoor jps, back in indoor.[00:53:00]

I, I think that really helps. So you, you put all that together. I think we've made some wonderful strides in two years. We're learning, we're moving and we're very positive and, and very enthusiastic. Hope I answered the question.

[00:53:12] Paul: Yeah, for sure. You, you, of course you mentioned the other two, but you, you make the perfect trifecta for that group.

You know, you've got a, a great a great reputation in, in the game as a whole, and then specifically into the, the futsal and indoor piece as well. So you guys are a perfect trifecta, and I remember being at that convention two years ago and, and seeing that and being excited about what, what was pushing forward?

So to be another, I guess, two years out now and see where it's going. It, it, it truly is exciting. There's definitely a place in our country for definitely for futsal but definitely for indoor soccer. I obviously, I grew up watching it in Atlanta. I have a lot of friends who played in the indoor professional leagues.

It's just such a great, great sport. And even up north, the winter training and those, those indoor courts are, can be like you said, teaching of defending and the physicality of the game. There's just great, great things there. But no, there's some, some great pieces there and definitely great [00:54:00] trifecta of leaders pushing this thing forward.

I'm excited to see, see where it goes.

[00:54:04] Keith: You know, you talked about, you know, where soccer is. We have so many wonderful young players in our league. The MASL. Stinson out Empire. You know, he had Craig Child who starred for the national team Ian Banning in Milwaukee. I mean, there's so many players that are some great players and great coaches.

One thing I'm really. I'm really proud of. I think seven or eight out of the 14 teams are my ex-players, which I'm, I'm really proud to see that either on the national team or played with me with the Milwaukee Wave. Some, some other indoor, but the future is bright for the major arena soccer league.

[00:54:39] Phil: Yeah. And I, I think e every, I, I think every coach out there right now should be listening to this interview and to, to be able to hear what you just talked about. The, the, the value as you said. I think I, I, I agree. I think indoor soccer has gotten a bad rap. I remember being a ball boy, I was talking to JP about this being a ball boy for the California Surf back in the day.

And I don't know, like did the NASL [00:55:00] have an indoor league? I don't, I didn't, I was a, a little kid, but I was a ball boy and I loved watching those games at the Anaheim Convention Center pulling up, and I'll never forget it. I can, I can picture it now, you know? And, and those are things that for kids to see, again, it's so much faster.

It's so, you gotta think so much quicker. I love that being able to teach it as effectively, like a futsal, you know, to say, look, you know, don't hit the boards. That's, yeah, you can use the boards for certain things, but let's learn. Let's use this as a tool. It's beautiful. .

[00:55:26] Keith: Yeah. You know, and I love outdoor soccer, obviously, but if I'm a goalkeeper and I haven't seen the ball in 20 minutes, an outdoor, or I'm a goal scorer, and I've only seen the ball three or four times in the first half, well, when you're playing indoor soccer, you're constantly making saves.

You're, you're constantly shooting on goal. You're con I mean, if you think about our generation, right? Our generation with cell phones, right? Everything's quick, fast, right in front of you. Then indoor soccer is the perfect sport for, for young players. Take that, take those, those methodologies, [00:56:00] how to defend by yourself, how to defend with the pair, how to defend with the group, how to play possession, how to shoot on goal, and then take that back into the outdoor game.

I mean, yeah, it's only gonna get good. Now, I know some people are gonna say this, and it's true. Philip and Paul, there are some players that can't translate back and forth. maybe they're too big. Maybe they have some qualities that don't transport back and forth, but I'm a firm believer that if you're a good soccer player and you understand soccer and you have technique, I don't care if you're playing five aside, 11 aside, Beach soccer, futsal if you're a player.

you're a

[00:56:38] Phil: player. Yeah. Yeah. And I think you hit something there as a keeper. I remember playing indoor and back with the Sacramento Knights, you know, the, the I was, I was in college and went out for a couple tryouts there and, and the, the speed and as a keeper to be able to save those shots. I mean, first of all, your fear, like you can't have any fear as a keeper in the indoor game.

[00:57:00] And you know, I say keepers have a little bit of crazy indoor keepers have a lot of crazy, right? And, but, but to translate that into the outdoor game, to be able to take that, like there's no fear. You can come and you'll be taken any shot anyway. You learn the foot saves, you learn the different saves that, you know, and it's just quick.

It's so quick. So those, those, the, the kind of the rebounds, which are so many goals in the outdoor game, those become easier for the, for the keeper who has played in that indoor game. And so, yeah, I, I totally agree with all that. And you know, but, but we do need to, to kind of wrap it up here. And so like I said, you know, we always say this, Paul and I, I, I, we don't just say it, it's true.

Like we could go on for hours talking about these things, but we will not do that and we don't do that. But we do ask a couple questions of all our guests and, and the first question we, we love to hear from our guests on is how have you used the lessons? We talk about how you use the lessons from the game in your role as commissioner and, and but we'd love to hear how you're using the lessons from the game and how you have used the lessons from the game [00:58:00] in your, in your marriage, your parenting in, in a kinda the relationships outside the game.

[00:58:03] Keith: Yes. It, it, it goes back to goal being goal orientated and breaking things down and say, okay, I want to go from here to there and what period of time do I have and how am I gonna get there? And that could be be being a father being in a relationship, being an executive in a business. You gotta set goals.

I think goals are important. I, and I think we need to teach our children a little bit more about how to set goals. Early on, as I said, what is your role? You know, what is my role as a father? What is my role as a leader in a business? What is my role as a commissioner? Right? I'm supposed to bring 14 owners together, 14 coaches, 14 franchises players, okay.

And what are my responsibilities? And I said, there's reward and consequences based upon the decisions that we make. I think if you put all that together and you work hard and you're passionate and, and, and you're good with people, then I think most of the time you're gonna be successful. That's what I try to do on a daily basis.


[00:58:56] Paul: Last last of our consistent questions and you, you, you [00:59:00] got into it earlier about how you started reading and, and that kind of became a, a, a, a product of, of your, your learning environment. But what have you read, watched, or listened to lately that's kind of helped you with how soccer and leadership kind of combined

[00:59:11] Keith: together?

Yeah. You know, I've actually gone back to some old books the Pat Riley books. I, I think, you know, Sweat the Details is something I really learned a lot that I needed to go back to. I, I have a book. That I would have for each coaching season that I had. And in that book, I always kept it in my, my back of my pants.

And I had every practice, had every game. It, it, I reviewed myself, I reviewed players, reviewed the game itself. So then so on, I go back to those. But really I've been kind of going back to some of the older books that I've read uh, just recently when you read and you read motivational books. I know some people pick up a book and go, this is what I'm gonna do.

And then a year later they read another book and say, this is what I'm gonna do. I, I don't agree with that. I think [01:00:00] you take a little, I think you take things out of each book that you think you're gonna go, cause you're not gonna be like that. You know? I got some ex-players that called me up and said, Hey, I'm gonna be like you coach, blah, blah.

It's like, no, don't be like me. You gotta be like yourself. Or I'm gonna be a player coach. And I say, oh boy, you know what, what is the definition of a player coach? Be yourself. Keep learning from others. And then you're gonna find your pathway. So to answer your question, I've been going back to my library and going through some old stuff, even through my own manuals and how I made adjustments or how I felt about myself.

It's been helping me a lot. Yes,

[01:00:37] Paul: that's great. I, I love the idea of, and I'm, I'm a, I'm a big believer of it too, of reading, reading from other people outside of your own sport. We can learn so much. You know, a, a mentor of mine put in front of me, Dan Gable, a great wrestler and great wrestling coach, had some great things about leadership and leading people and just one example that, you know, but learning from other other coaches before we head out here.

[01:01:00] I got out on my seat a second ago cuz I wanted to pull, I've got two full decks of NPSL player cards. Wow. You can barely see 'em in here. But anyway, big fan of the indoor game. I don't even remember where I got these, I think somebody gave 'em to me, but two full decks of people that. . You probably know every single player in here.

Or have heard of him. I know. Maybe 10. Huh?

[01:01:18] Keith: Coached him. Yeah. Yeah. It seems like that coached a lot of players. Can I give a, a shout out to sure. To, to our league. We got two divisions seven in each, 14 teams. You know, we have teams in Mexico, Chihuahua, Monterey. We got we're all on Twitch, so we went from YouTube to Twitch.

So if you're listening to the show, just go to major arena soccer league.com, maslsoccer.com. You can see all the games live in Twitch. You can go into the chat room, sports Illustrated, ententes, we got tons of sponsors and new ones coming. I had to Guadalajara next Tuesday. it could be an announcement coming up.

Could have two new teams in the league. But it's a pleasure. Great to be on your show. I love it.

[01:01:59] Phil: Yeah, absolutely. And [01:02:00] on that note, is there any other, does, would it all be at masl.com if, if players are interested or if coaches wanna learn more about the different ways to use the, the game and so on and so forth, is there a way to, to be able to go there and learn those things?

[01:02:12] Keith: That's great. You can go to maslsoccer.com. If you're a player that's looking to come into the. You can click on combine, which we'll have a player in time. We had 96 players at our first combine last year. Had the draft that same weekend and we got players from the combine that are actually playing in the league right now.

We'll have another one in the fall of next year, so go there. We're really pushing coaching education, so we will have indoor soccer coaching education, I don't think in the short term, but in midterm and long term. If you're a futsal player and you'd like to get some coaching education, you can go to USyouthfutsal.com.

There's level one and level two online certification courses that you can take right there. That's great.

[01:02:53] Phil: And, and there too, you'd mentioned earlier about ID camps and things like that. Is that all there at US Futsal [01:03:00] website

[01:03:00] Keith: as. Yes, if you, if you have a young player that wants to get involved in international programs, as we set off the air, the younger players went to Buenos Aires, played against River Plate, played against Boca Juniors.

We went to Lisbon and just played against Benfica and Sporting. Just go to us youthfutsal.com. Click on identification Camps. You'll see where the states are. States go to National, national, go to International. One of my players on the 2004, actually a great player, 16 year old player, just signed a letter of intent to play at Clemson University, which was the national champion about a year ago.

Ex player mine at that team. Mike Noonan, Louisville Fund. Wow. Yeah. Nunan.

[01:03:40] Paul: And, and all along the same lines, while we're, while we're plugging everything, coach for those people in communities that want to introduce futsal into their communities, I believe there's also some information on that website as well of how to, to start your own futsal league or something like that.

Is that accurate?

[01:03:55] Keith: That is very accurate. If you go to usyouthfutsal.com, you can find everything to start your own [01:04:00] club, your tournament, your league academy program. You'll find coaching education, you'll find player development. And one of the most important things also is referee development. And that's what indoor soccer.

Okay. We think indoor soccer is a great program. Ground for young referees for the same reasons we said futsal you, you referee indoor games, think quicker, act quicker, make decisions quicker. When you go back to the outdoor game, you're gonna be a better referee, better coach, better player. That's great.

[01:04:29] Paul: Well stuff.

[01:04:31] Phil: Coach, I'm gonna adopt that from, from Paul. Thank you so much for being, being a part of this. Appreciate you as, as Paul said, you know, the, the contribution you've made to the game is, is just so, so big. And just to hear the humility and the fact that you're a lifelong learner and continually learning and leading it just, it just warms my heart because that's, that's, as I've said, that's my love language, is just being able to impact others to help good things become great. And I [01:05:00] know you're doing that, so thank you so much.

[01:05:02] Keith: It's been my honor to be with you, Philip, and you Paul, and I'd look forward to maybe doing it again sometime.

[01:05:08] Phil: Ah, we'd love that. Oh, for sure. We love that. And so folks out there that's a little teaser you know, Keith just promised to come back at some point in the future,

So, now we're gonna, we're gonna sign off today, but you know, folks, just keep, keep. Keep learning. Hopefully you're learning from this show. You can learn more about Warrior Way soccer as well, warriorwaysoccer.com to find out what Paul and Marci are doing and to keep up with that. And if you want to join them on a trip or other things that they're doing, be part of one of their camps, you can go there and check all that out.

Coachingthebiggergame.com. If you wanna find out how to be part of that, you can go there to find out what myself and Christian Devries are doing to help coaches develop in every area, starting with self-leadership. And you know, most from this show, what we're hoping is you'll take it and it'll help you be a better leader, a better, a better parent, a better spouse, a better, a better coach, better in all that you do, [01:06:00] and that you continually remind yourself that soccer does explain life and leadership.

Thanks a lot. Have a great couple weeks.