Jan. 12, 2023

Winning AND Learning with Keri Sanchez, Colorado College Head Coach and Former USWNT, UNC, and Professional Player

Winning AND Learning with Keri Sanchez, Colorado College Head Coach and Former USWNT, UNC, and Professional Player

In Episode 110, Keri Sanchez, Head Coach of Colorado College Women’s Soccer, former Head Coach at Illinois Wesleyan and Claremont McKenna-Harvey Mudd-Scripps, former assistant at UT-Austin and University of Oregon, US Soccer Scout and USYNT...

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In Episode 110, Keri Sanchez, Head Coach of Colorado College Women’s Soccer, former Head Coach at Illinois Wesleyan and Claremont McKenna-Harvey Mudd-Scripps, former assistant at UT-Austin and University of Oregon, US Soccer Scout and USYNT assistant, and former WUSA, WPS, USWNT, and UNC-Chapel Hill player, kicks off Season 8 by talking with Phil and Paul about lessons learned from her extensive playing and coaching career, specifically what she learned under legendary coach, Anson Dorrance, the value of playing multiple sports, the best leaders she played with, and how she is using DISC to improve her coaching and player interactions. Specifically, Keri discusses:

  • Her personal story, how she developed her passion for soccer and other sports, leadership, and coaching and how she got to be where she is today (3:09)
  • The where’s, why’s, and how’s of her coaching journey (5:39)
  • Her personal why and life purpose and how she lives it out each day (12:24)
  • Some defining moments in her playing career and what she learned from them (14:34)
  • What young student-athletes are missing by not playing multiple sports throughout their childhood (16:32)
  • Some of the lessons she learned playing at UNC in the 1990’s, where she went 97-1-1, won 4 National Championships, and was able to learn under Anson Dorrance (22:46)
  • What she and her teammates learned from their loss and tie at UNC during their incredible four-year run during her time as a Tar Heel (24:55)
  • How she is using the lessons learned from Coach Dorrance in her coaching today (27:39)
  • The difference being a young, inexperienced assistant coach and an experienced, veteran assistant coach (30:53)
  • Wisdom and advice for young collegiate assistant coaches (33:48)
  • Why she returned to head coaching after her stint at UT-Austin, even though she loved being an assistant coach (36:07)
  • The best leaders she played with and what set them apart from the rest (40:59)
  • Who she didn’t like playing against and why (45:20)
  • How she has used the DISC training Phil did with her Colorado College team in her coaching and player interactions (45:56)
  • How she has used lessons learned from the game in her parenting, and vice-versa (53:01)
  • Her recommendations (55:02)

Resources and Links from this Episode


Phil: Welcome back to How Soccer Explains Leadership. Thanks again for being a part of the conversation. As always, I have Paul Jobson here with me. I'm Phil Darke, your host, and you know, I'm, I'm excited today because as you see, I have my CC Tigers that is Colorado College. For those out there who do not know what CC stands for, it is not community college.

That is a joke in my house cuz my wife did go to Colorado College, so I had to you know, poke little fun there. But it is, it is way more than meets the eye. You do think it's this little squad out in Colorado. But it is a soccer powerhouse. So we have the head coach of Keri Sanchez with us.

Paul, before we get to Keri, how you doing, man?

[00:00:44] Paul: Doing great, Phil. Looking just looking forward to talking to Keri today used to be opposing coaches across the sideline when Keri was uh, an assistant in the Big 12. And just excited to, to hear what she has to say today. A lot of just a lot of experience and just a lot of quality things I think that she's gonna bring to the [00:01:00] table today for our listeners.

So I'm really looking forward to get into it. And Colorado College, I mean, had the opportunity to go out there and play one time and just so it is a beautiful, beautiful place to go play soccer. Like you said, a lot of great history when it comes to the game out there as well. And so excited to, to have Keri on today for sure, and right in the midst of the World Cup.

So, listen, it's, it's soccer, soccer, soccer all the time right now. And this is the greatest time to be in American because now we can talk about soccer and people actually listen.

[00:01:25] Phil: That's right. That's right. And now of course they're, they're, they're now upset about the title of our show all around the world because of the stupid commercials that are coming out saying whether it's soccer or football.

So, you know, that's, that seems to be the only comments we get on the show right now are it's football, you, bloke, you know, things like that. That's pretty much all we get, but that's okay. You know, but you gotta

[00:01:43] Paul: stand for something, Phil, or you'll stand for nothing. So that is true. Stand

[00:01:47] Phil: for that. That is true.

I don't know if I'd die on that hill, but that's okay. Me neither. So, you know, we, we we also, this season, you know, we we're, this is gonna come out after World Cup, after the New Year's when it will [00:02:00] actually release, but this season we also had Horst Richardson, who is the cc, the Colorado College legend.

So if you didn't listen to that episode, go back and listen to it. It was so much fun to hear stories, storytelling from ho basically is what it was. And he is one heck of a storyteller. So without more from about that, we are gonna get to it with Keri. Keri, how you doing? I'm doing great.

[00:02:21] Keri: I'm really excited to talk to you both today.

[00:02:24] Phil: Yeah, yeah. We're, we're really excited about it as well. And, and for those of you don't know, I didn't get into really the bio, we'll get into some of this stuff here, but Keri played where pretty much everywhere you could play uh, national team, professional leagues, new North Carolina, won a few games there, won a few championships there.

Didn't lose many or tie many, but we'll get to that later too. also has been coaching for a long time, so, so much wisdom, so much experience. Looking forward to getting into all that today. But can you just share that, you know, your, your story a little bit. We love to sharing stories and hearing stories but share yours and how you developed your passion for soccer, for, for coaching, for leadership.

[00:02:59] Keri: [00:03:00] Uh, Yeah, so I think I, I grew up playing a ton of sports. I had an older brother and kind of was chasing him around. So I kind of fell in love with athletics in general. I did play soccer early. I, I was born in Colorado, so started playing when I was like five years old. But then was playing everything right.

That was back in the day where, where your seasons lasted three months, so you got to rotate. And then through high school, still loved all the sports. So, I think I lettered in five different sports in high school officially. But soccer was kind of always one and then, and track and field were kind of my two big ones.

So when I was getting recruited, that was what I wanted to do is be able to do both those sports in, in college. And so, one of the reasons I went to North Carolina, cuz it was one of those places that was gonna allow me to play both my sports and not make me pick. obviously had a great four years there.

I ended up only running track two of my years there. Trying to focus a little bit up more on soccer my sophomore year. And then senior year I was in residency with the woman's national team prior to the 95 World Cup. And then coming out, right? You're a college graduate, what do you wanna do? I went into college thinking I wanted to be a doctor, as many people do.

So I went in as a pre-med student taking all those type types of classes, thinking [00:04:00] that's what I wanted to do. And then you get, you're getting farther along and I still love to play. And back then you, you didn't have an option in the United States to play soccer post-college, so your choices were to go abroad, typically Sweden or Japan were kind of the two main places people were going. So I did do a short little stint in Japan post post-graduation and then had a choice. Our assistant coach at North Carolina at the time, Bill Stephan, got the head coaching job at the University of Oregon to restart their program.

And he gave me a phone call to see if I wanted to be a coach. So I actually didn't know even that that was a career path I could have going into college. And so, forever. Grateful to him for giving me the opportunity and, and talking me into it. Into it, right? Because I didn't know much, obviously, I'd, I been a college athlete, but hadn't thought about being a, a college coach.

And so, he talked me into it and that's kind of how I got into college coaching.

[00:04:51] Phil: Yeah. You know, and, and it's you, you since then have gone and several different stints. Can you just kind of go through those different places that you coached and, [00:05:00] and really, you know, how you got to each of those places?

I'm just in, I'm curious and I, I I don't know, I don't know as we go throughout the interview, you know, cuz people wonder, people don't know like the coaching journey, unless you're in it as far as going to different places. You know, why, you know, some people question, why would you go from Oregon D one and then go to Claremont, you know, which is a, a D three school?

And why, why would you do these things? You know? So can you just share a little bit that, about that and just from, from your perspective and the opportunities that you had.

[00:05:29] Keri: Yeah, so I was assistant coach at Oregon for seven years, and I think five years into my coaching there, the first pro league started in the United States.

And again, bill was super supportive of me trying out for that league. So I went to the combine that was in Florida, got drafted, which is awesome, but got drafted to Boston, which is not conveniently located to Eugene, Oregon. Mm-hmm. . Uh, So I'd spent half the year in Boston and half the year in Oregon.

But as, as Paul will know, right, I was missing the spring season, which is kind of a big development time for, as a college coach. So you felt [00:06:00] bad and that you were missing that, and you'd, I'd come for the fall, winter and then I'd leave again for, to go play. And so it was just, I thought hard and I, again, I felt like I couldn't give the college program as much as it needed.

So I stepped away from that to pursue playing, and then obviously the league folded the same year. I chose to do that. now it's the fall of I think 2003. And I'm going, all right, well now I'm unemployed. What am I gonna do now? So I you know, you're kind of applying different places. Funny thing is I did apply to Colorado College at that same time, that same year it had opened.

But found Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd Scripps Colleges, which is a small consortium. It's a division three school. I didn't know much about division three. It was in Southern California. I had a son at the time, a single parent of a four year old trying to decide how, how I was gonna manage that with trying to coach college soccer.

And so it became this perfect fit for me. And for me, it's not really about the level that I'm going to is am I going to a place that supports women's soccer and women's sports in general? Am I going to a place where I think I can [00:07:00] compete within the, the, the conference and, and maybe be able to make a run at the national level?

And so, and then also it's a, for me as Paul knows, college soccer is all about the recruiting part of it, right? You gotta be able to attract players that you wanna coach to the school that you're at. So you have to believe in the place that you're coaching for. And so this consortium was a super unique, high academic environment that attracted really good players and really good students.

And so it was kind of just a good fit at the right time. And that's how I ended up there. And I stayed there for 13 years. And from there, then I went to be an assistant again at the University of Texas, get back to division one. . I think the one thing about division three is the off season. So as a coach what you love is the time spent with your student athletes on the field and getting to hang out with them and hopefully teach them and, and help them develop as people and as players.

And the off season in division three is super, super short. They're actually gonna vote on that this January and maybe make it a little bit longer. But you know, I was, my touchpoints were 15, 15 times I could see my [00:08:00] student athletes over the course from November to the following August. And so that's hard.

It did allow me to, to dabble in other things and, and, and figure out other ways to sh sharpen my coaching. But but I always kind of had that, that desire to wanna go back to that, that division one and get to work with student athletes kind of on a more year round basis. And so that's what drew me to Texas.

And obviously it's in the Big 12, it's super competitive. Big time, division one athletics. So it was a good opportunity to go there and also see that what changes had been made in the division one level since I'd been out of it for 13 years. And then obviously get the itch to wanna be a head coach again.

Again, like I go back, I'm trying to find a place where I think I can it's a school I believe in athletes I wanna coach in in places where I think we can, we can compete and, and compete for championships because ultimately the players are competitive and, and they wanna win. So you wanna be in a place that you think you can do that.

And so, I found Illinois Wesleyan, which is a top division three women's soccer program, spent the fall of last fall of 21 there. And then the Colorado College position opened, which [00:09:00] kind of for me is the, puts the best of both worlds for me. I loved the high academic environment of Claremont.

Just love the student athletes that are there, that are driven and disciplined and hardworking and gritty. And then with the division one Athletic experience, so I get to coach 'em and develop em year round. And so that's how I'm here where I

[00:09:18] Phil: am today. Yeah. And we, we had talked about that you got to go home, you got to go kind of having, what, what a lot of people probably don't know is that Colorado College is division one and women's soccer and men's hockey and division three and all the other sports.

So it's effectively a D three school with D one women's soccer. So you have, as you, you kind of talked about the best of both worlds in, in that, in that regard. Funny little story too is, you know, we, I, I remembered meeting you when you were recruiting for Claremont back in, it was probably 2014, 2015 when my oldest daughter was playing and I was a coach of a club team.

And we started talking and you talk about the high academics. And I remember the conversation because I said, so what could, you know, what student could you [00:10:00] like, get in? Like what's the lowest s a T you could get in at at Claremont? And you're like, well, if we really wanted um, We could probably get in a 1430, you know, and then I was like, oh, okay, that's, that's pretty high.

That's pretty . I didn't think , that'd be a little bit lower than that. But it was just like, those standards are, are incredible. And now, now our, you know, mutual friend Davy Nolan is, is coaching there at Claremont. I coached with him at, at Jessup for a little bit. Great guy. And I know he's had a, he's had a, a good, successful run too.

So anyway, let's get, we're gonna get into some other stuff there, but I just thought that was you know, not a lot of times you hear going from head coaching to assistant coaching, going, you know, jumping around at the different levels and to, to hear that because I think it's good for our, the parents of, of players who listen to this as well as coaches to go, you know, look, it's, it's, as you said, it's not the level.

What's the right fit? And you know, we talked with Don Williams earlier about the recruiting front. What's the right fit for the player? And I think a lot of times coaches, you know, go, oh, I gotta go up, up, up. And the number is what you want to go up on when it could [00:11:00] just be, hey, that might not be the right fit for you.

So I think that's really important to kind of go through that. But you know, Paul, what do you got? Yeah. No,

[00:11:06] Paul: I, I agree. Phil, Keri, I, I love, I love everybody's story. I love their path cuz everybody's just so different, you know? And I think the more coaches you talk to, the more you realize it, that that's the case.

And I, I remember being a young coach and just, you kind of fall into what you fall into. Right. Bill got you into coaching. And you know, we, I said, I think on an earlier podcast, like we always had that one person that we can blame for getting us into the game, right? Yours was Bill mine was my college coach.

And but you're also grateful because it's a, it's an amazing, amazing career that you get to pour into young people. But I think sharing your path and, and young coaches hearing, you know, like Phil just said, it didn't always have to be, you know, in the world's eye of up and up and up. It's like, what is the best fit?

Where, where can I make the best impact? What's the biggest fit for me? Cuz I, we both have seen coaches who thought going up in the ranks was the best thing, and then they get there and realize like, man, I'm not making any impact. This is not my fit. I'm better at a different. level, or, you know, whatever it may be.

You know, so I think it's good to, that we get some young coaches [00:12:00] to, to hear your story and, and along your path. Like as you've, you've been in the game for a long time, you've coached for a long time. What is it that that motivates you? In other words, what, what is kind of your why Keri, that that carries you through the day-to-day things that you do?

[00:12:14] Keri: I think ultimately I just, I love teaching, right? So, and I love to give back, like I've had some amazing coaches and you hear. Student athletes that have gone through and in the ups and downs, and my son played sports growing up. And so watching the different coaches and the, and the good and the bad, right?

And I was fortunate to have way more good than bad in terms of coaching. And so, you wanna give back a little bit? So I think those are my two kind of whys is I love to teach. I love to teach the game. I love to break it down. I like, and I love to try to help maximize potential in people. So how can I help this player get to where they wanna be?

Right? And hopefully along the way, maybe teach 'em some life lessons, right? That they're, that they don't even realize they're learning. That I think looking back on my playing career, you u you utilize so many of the lessons that you're l learning while competing in sports in your everyday life. And so, I, [00:13:00] I kind of like the merging those two things of how do I, how can I help this athlete try to get to where she wants to get to but also help her?

Because again, the college age group, right, 18 to 22, they're developing as people tremendously from freshman year to senior year. It's, it's kind of fun to wa it's fun to watch that journey and be just a little part of it.

[00:13:21] Paul: Yeah. Folks don't, don't miss the part that Keri didn't say is that she's not striving to make sure that every student athlete understands all the X's and O's of the, of the game of football along the way.

Although I know that we want them to, to develop as, as soccer players. But, you know, don't miss the, the, the point here that you hear over and over and over in this podcast that it's about the people. It's about developing young people and whatever sta stage you're coaching, whether you're coaching five year olds, 10 year olds, 12 year olds, or 20 year olds, or even, I would even say 25 to 30 year olds.

Mm-hmm. we're always developing is people. And I think the greatest coaches like you Keri, that is why they do what they do, because they know they can make just a massive impact on that. So I appreciate you and, and why you do what you do. So that's, that's, that's [00:14:00] awesome.

We'll get into the coaching part of it, I think more in depth in, in, in a second here. But let's, let's kick back to your playing career a little bit. if you could pick one moment in your playing career, just kinda a defining moment that just kinda shifted you into the, the, the trajectory that maybe you are as a, as a personnel, maybe even if you can find that moment, what was kind of a defining moment in your playing career that's been really impactful for you as, as maybe even just a coach and a person?

[00:14:24] Keri: Well, I think that it's hard to probably pick one of those, right? I think, again, growing up as a, a multi-sport athlete, like when I talk about how the recruiting kind of goes, now it is my, my freshman year of high school, I would've went to UCLA and ran track. Hmm. Like I was way better at track than I was at soccer my freshman year of.

And so I think one, one of 'em was I went to with my, some friends, I think it was my sophomore year of high school to an O D P tryout. And, and back then it was like a district team before you even made it to the state team level. And and so I, I, I made that team and so that, I think that was one of the first times where I thought, oh, well maybe I'm a, maybe I'm better at [00:15:00] soccer than I thought I was

And so I think that's probably one of the defining moments in that I continued to play when I was at that point where you're trying to decide if you're gonna have to pick a sport or, or not. And then I think you know, getting to be on the national team, right? Youth national team and progressing to the national team I think being around.

High level elite athletes, right? Is always a defining moment, right? Cuz you're pushed to your edge. But in a sup in the environment that I was in was super supportive and that's, that, that doesn't always happen, right? And so I think that's probably been, when you talk about what is, what have I carried over into the coaching, coaching aspect of it is that you can be in a high intense, highly competitive environment, but it can be positive.

And for the most part, one of those things that helps you continue to grow both on and off the field, right? Doesn't have to be this miserable she wins, I lose kind of I idea, right? We can all win somehow in that environment and do it in a positive, positive way. Yeah. So I would say that's probably the most defining moment.[00:16:00]

[00:16:00] Paul: Yeah. Phil, I'm gonna throw a And Keri, I'm gonna throw a little curve ball here. It's not in our, in our, in our talk, but I'm gonna throw it out anyway cuz I, I just think you're hitting on it. And I, and we've talked about it a few times on this podcast, and I'm gonna phrase it this way, Keri, what do you think student athletes are missing right now?

Not having the opportunity or the push to be a multi-sport athlete through maybe their high school ages? What do you, what do you think they're missing out on?

[00:16:22] Keri: Uh, I think they're missing out on lots of things. I think one of it's developing as an athlete. Mm-hmm. , we're not developing as good of overall athlete because they're not getting the different things that you get from different sports. And so we bring that up. We're actually this this December. We are playing a whole bunch of other sports in our, with our team to try to just help them and introduce the different concepts of why.

So I think that's one of it. Cuz you can take different elements from different sports that help you be good at your main sport. But if all you do is your main sport, your vision is too narrow so you can never be as good as you probably would be, right? Because you just don't have enough knowledge, knowledge base.

Yeah. Then I think depending on the personality, for me, I [00:17:00] needed it just the change of pace. Training different muscles, training my brain differently, being in a different environment with different teammates, right? Because if you're, I think about these club players now, like we had big breaks from our club teammates and then we are so excited to get back together, right?

Mm-hmm. , where nowadays they're with these same people over and over and over, over again. So, so again, learning how to be in a different environment. So it can be also too, one of those things you're gonna be really good at and maybe an environment where you're not as good. And so now you're having a push to try to learn those skills and that's teaching a whole bunch of different things of how how to be when you're maybe not so good and you're having to learn and how do you learn.

And so just, I think just learning more about yourself cuz if you're staying in your comfort zone so they're not getting out of their comfort zone.

[00:17:42] Paul: Yeah, those are, I, I'm a hundred percent on board with you on all those things. Especially the one where, you know, you mentioned. Like, let's say I played soccer and basketball.

I was a very good soccer player, but I was an average basketball player. So I went from being a starter in one and being a bench player in another, being a bench player, learning that [00:18:00] lesson early is, is really good. You know, how can you still be a leader from the bench? And, um, I think those are all lessons that you miss out on if, and, and let's say you're, you're a sub in, in soccer, you know, but that tends to be your number one sport still.

But you can be, you can thrive in another sport. I think those lessons are great. You hit, you hit right on it. I I, I couldn't go through this without asking that, cuz you mentioned how often you were like all of us, you know, probably the older people. We did that a lot and I think it made us, like you said, over just an overall better athlete.

And I think in, in my older age, I would say I'm probably more fit and able to compete in things. And compete in life, maybe just cuz I've learned those lessons through, through time. So thanks for allowing me to go off script there a little bit, Phil.

[00:18:42] Phil: Well, good. As you know, there is no script. We, you know, there, there's, it's an outline for a reason, and that's why we have the little, you know, disclaimer or maybe not disclaimer, but the you know, catchall follow up on the response in the in the, in the outline so we can do, go wherever.

There is no, there are no rules here. That's the beauty [00:19:00] of it. You know, and I, I love that because I, I just look at my five kids and see, you know, my, my oldest, you know, she, she played basketball for maybe one season and decided I don't wanna do that. And I just see the. The, but now she's starting to go, oh, I wanna play ultimate Frisbee and I wanna do these other things.

And I think probably part of her is, man, I wish I would've done more. My son said, I'm playing multiple sports, I don't care. And to see how basketball held hi helped him in soccer. I mean, the, the decision making has to be so much faster. It's such a faster game. You know, you have to l you learn to use your body in different ways than you do on the soccer field and vice versa.

And, and I just think for every sport, I, I think it's such a disservice to our kids. And, and it's okay, Paul. We're old. I think old is the right word, not older. So it's older. We're

[00:19:42] Paul: talking about a lot of college kids. I think we're just older. I don't feel old, just

[00:19:46] Phil: older. All right. All right. I'll let you, I'll let you have that.

You are much younger than me, so, you can still have that for a couple years. Thank you. But you are the retired one of this conversation though, so, But yeah, I'm glad you asked that. I, I, it's something that we don't, we haven't talked [00:20:00] about for a little bit, and I, it's something I do wanna keep reminding our audience that if you have the opportunity at any way to, to, I mean, you do have the opportunity, it's just a choice you have to make as a parent, as a kid is.

to do it. And you know what if, if if your coaches don't let you, then maybe you need to find a different team. Cuz I think it's, it, a good coach would say. Yeah. I, I think it's very good for our players. The problem today is they say, well, you can do it. You just have to be a hundred percent committed to everything that you're doing.

And well, that's, that's a problem. I'm just seeing so much stress, so much anxiety, so much, you know, so many issues in kids nowadays. I think a lot of it comes from the pressure in the sports and in school for that matter. I think everyone feels like they have to be perfect at everything. And, and it's a problem

[00:20:39] Paul: that I, I think, and, and at some point you do, you know, if you're gonna be a high level athlete, you do need to specialize at some point.

Of course, you know, you've gotta put in, you know, as you're, you know, as we're recruiting young athletes, there is a point where they really do need to focus in on, on a sport. But I know that a lot of the kids that were very attractive athletically were the kids who had played multiple sports up to a certain point in high school and then they really focused in [00:21:00] You know, soccer in this, in this instance.

So, I think it's important to address that too, that if you are gonna be a high level athlete at some point you do have to specialize. You do have to make that full commitment to, to year round, you know. Soccer training or whatever it may be. Yeah. So,

[00:21:13] Phil: well getting back to Keri, cuz that is what this episode's about.

That's why we're here, that's why we're here. That's why we're here today. I will say that I think people do specialize too early still because as Keri shows, you can specialize and learn to specialize. I think national team's pretty high you know, of a, of a player. But you also did, you know, track through high school, all the, the best athletes I know of from my childhood played all three sports.

They were all three sport athletes through high school. And so, Let's get to that. Let's get to your college days. Keri, you know, you played at, at U N C, you know, decent soccer school back when you played, you know, they were, they were pretty good, if I remember correctly, but we just watched U N C, you know, play U C L A in the, in the national championship game, you know, incredible game, I imagine from a U N C fan.

It wasn't as good as, [00:22:00] you know, people on the c a side thought it was. But to be able to play for Anson Dorrance there, I mean, he just finished his, what, 44th year of coaching. Not quite Horst Richardson, but pretty darn close. I think you had won a few more games than Horst Boy had a few more national championships than Horst, but, but Anson a legend, right?

You got to play for him for four years. You got to learn under him for four years. And you, went 97-1-1 while you were there. What are a couple of the key lessons you took away from your time there, both from Coach Dorrance, that winning record, the national championships, just the friendships, the experience.

What, what, what are some of those lessons that you took from there that you, that you're using in your life today?

[00:22:36] Keri: Well, I think one is to look back at the overall experience there. Like if you'll ask any of the players that play there, probably none of 'em will bring up the wins and the championships.

First. They'll talk about the people they got to be, be playing with. And so I think that's the one of the biggest lessons you learned when you're actually now going into coaching is that it's the experience overall experience. The wins and losses are a bonus, right? That a part [00:23:00] of it. But making sure that just being surrounded, so Anson obviously did a really good job of recruiting like-minded people that, that we're driven in the, in the similar way.

And so, You know, we had, we had just an amazing time being together, pushing each other, training the right mindset mentality. I think there's so many lessons that I prob probably have taken away from my teammates as much as from Anson. But Anson taught, taught us that we can push ourselves, that our bodies can do things that you, you don't think you can until you actually try it.

He's, you know, he would always bring us in and say, future coaches of America. So he was always trying to put make us see the game from a coaching point of view. because as Paul knows too, as a soccer, right, you have, or, and, and also for Phil, right, as coaching soccer, you have very little influence on the game on game day , right?

Because it's a free flowing game. You can't call it time out. You can't do different things. So you have to have players that can adjust and adapt on the field. And if you don't have that player right, you're, you're struggling. And so yeah, so, there's so many, so many things that you could take out from [00:24:00] the experience of, of playing.

And it's mean the wins are, are great and championships were o obviously unbelievable runs and great memories. But for us, it's, it's the people that we got to do it with that

[00:24:10] Phil: mean the most. Yeah. You know, and I, I know I, I brought this up and you know, we, we talk about it on the show and we've heard the quote, you're either winning or you're learning.

So what I thought you'd say is we didn't learn a whole lot cuz we didn't lose a whole lot. So we were just winning all the time. But you did lose a game and, and you tied a game. So what did you learn as we talk about that, what did you learn in yourself, but also in the team, if I remember correctly in our conversation, you were captain of that, that team that lost.

But what, what, what did you learn from that and, and as a team that hadn't lost in a long time, what did that feel like? What did you learn from it and, and how'd you guys respond?

[00:24:45] Keri: Yes. We are the infamous team of the first team that lost at home for Carolina. So that we, we do remember that very well. But I think one we never talked much about like the winning streak, right?

And I think Anson did a really, really good job of not putting the [00:25:00] pressure of the past on them on that history and that challenge. And so you have to be again, he does a good job of not putting the pressure o on us of, of taking on the last team streak or anything like that. So as players, we didn't feel that sense. We just had that desire to wanna win everything.

Right? That was just the type of people that we were super highly competitive. You don't wanna lose ever. But I think every year right takes it's a challenge to try to get all the people connected in the chemistry together. And like you had said, that was our senior year when we finally had our first loss in tie and we were the leaders of the team.

And I think what you saw is we had some friction between our freshmen and trying to teach them what it meant to be a Carolina soccer player. And, and we didn't quite get everybody as connected as maybe we we could have or should have looking back. Right. That's the, the hard part about any college leader.

And that's even when I'm coaching now, you typically, your captains are seniors. They're first time to lead in a titled capacity is maybe just that senior [00:26:00] year, right? So three months to either do it right or not. And you're learning on the fly in a highly intense environment. And I think for us that as we, we had some good and bad, right?

And I think it resulted in a, in a tie and a loss during the, during the regular season. But I think as leaders of that team, we, we learned that we have to be connected. We have to get everybody understanding what their roles and responsibilities are, and also understanding that we need them, right?

Because you're a team of May, I don't know if we were maybe around 30 players at that point. You gotta make sure player 25 through 30 understands how important they are to the team. And if, if those guys start to start to go away or start to not believe that that can cause just as much problems as, as the people that are maybe starting or are playing more minutes.

[00:26:46] Phil: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. No, and I I, I love that how you're talking about it. People, most teams don't have the the, the problem of, of winning so many games in a row where you have to not think about it and not talk about it. Right. But [00:27:00] to see, hear how Anson, as you said, as you said, just you're working on the relationships and making sure the players are connecting and all that as a critical aspect now, so what are, how are you using those lessons, those things that you learned from those teams?

You wanna, obviously we're a player there under a great coach. How are you seeking to, I mean, you obviously are yourself, but how are you using what you learned from Anson and how do you see him kind of through you in your coaching today? . I think it's

[00:27:29] Keri: just, for him, it's how does he sustain success? Right.

like that's unbelievable when you're trying to now do it as a coach yourself year to year, and you're just like, oh my goodness. Like 40 plus years. And his teams have been, I mean obviously for some people, if he's not in the final Four, it's not a successful season. Right? Right. But they, they're run is unreal.

Yeah. And you go, how do you do that? And you'll hear coaches complain about this generation every 10 years. Right. We complain about this generation. Mm-hmm. , he somehow managed to stay connected with those [00:28:00] student athletes and continues to motivate and con, you know, and they're in the final, this again this year.

And so I think that's the, one of the biggest things that now that I'm trying to coach is how he managed to do that is, is amazing as now I'm trying to do it. Trying to build a culture and sustain it right, is just really difficult to do. It takes a lot of intention, takes a lot of help, gotta reach out, use your resources, and, and like I said, takes a lot of time and energy and, and I think players are understanding that as well.

I think Covid was a big eye-opener for them to see when they're disconnected and then trying to reconnect. Mm-hmm. So I think in the last couple of years now has been a little bit easier when I've now been at two new schools trying to build a culture at places that have been successful in the past.

That they're, they're understanding, hey, we need to be connected and we want it to be a positive connection. And so they're more bought into to spending more time trying to do

[00:28:51] Paul: that. Yeah, Keri, I think it's funny. I think that I think it's just in our sports culture in America. . Now most, most people are fans, right.[00:29:00]

And I think a lot of people really don't know how hard it is to win. Mm-hmm. , it's hard to win one game, much less have a 40 plus career year career, you know, winning championships over and over and over again. And I, I think that I love, I love what you said there, cuz as you go to build a culture, right, your goal is to, you know, win every game, right?

I mean, you're going in every game to win. But the reality is, the difficulty in winning one game is, is great, but to win continuously is very, very hard. So, I like to point that out as often as possible because I think in our culture as mostly fans, you know, college football, you lose one game, you're outta the playoffs.

Mm-hmm. , you know, so people just expect winning. Expect winning. So like you said, when Anson doesn't make a final four, he's had an awful year. You know, it's like, oh wow. I'd, I'd love to have that awful year over and over and over again. You know, , so. . I appreciate that. Yeah. As a, as a, as a, as a coach now at Colorado College, obviously you're, like you said, you're building cultures, you're, you're trying to, you know, not trying to figure out what your, what your [00:30:00] mold is, but it's a new mold, I think every, every time you go somewhere.

But I really wanna touch into just kind of your path of coaching, right? You came out, you went to be an assistant for someone who's an assistant under Anson. So that, that pedigree, that, that culture is there. Then you went on to be a head coach and then you went on to be, I would call it a, a more veteran assistant coach.

When you went to coach with, with Ang, I want to hear, cuz I think this is very interesting to, to me, what was the difference of being that young assistant with, with Bill to being that veteran really head, say almost another head coach on a staff of a, of a great program with a great coach like Ang Kelly.

What was the difference of being an assistant in those two environments and just kind of tell our audience what the differences were there.

[00:30:43] Keri: Yeah. Well I think when I was first going out. Right. You know, you know nothing . Yeah. You're right in reality. Right. And you're, for some of 'em, I was two, only two years older.

Right. I started assistant coaching when I was 23 and you know, your, your seniors are 21. So, I think you're [00:31:00] learning a lot on how to be the coach versus just the another player. I think also you're, you're learning how you don't, like I talked about before, the influence part of it. It's really hard going from a player to now sitting on the sidelines and you can't get in the game.

You just wanna go in and fix it. Let's just let me in fix it. Right. Let me just practice with them and I'll fix 'em. Right. And so, , you know, when you're a young assistant, you're learning everything. You're learning the, the, all the stuff in the, the office that you didn't know was going on with your coaches, right?

You only think it's the X's and o's part on the field, which you, Hey, coach, what do you do

[00:31:32] Paul: when we're not practicing? ? ,

[00:31:35] Keri: don't you get

[00:31:35] Phil: bored, ? Yeah.

[00:31:37] Paul: What do you do when we're not, when we're not in season? I mean, what do you really do?

[00:31:40] Keri: Yeah. Yeah. So they don't get all of that, right? So as an assistant young assistant, you're learning all of that part of it, the business side of it, the recruiting side of it, the all of that stuff, let alone trying to put a practice together to help teach, teach something, right?

So, so much of that's going on. You're overloaded. And then as a young assistant too, [00:32:00] you're needing to also practice. So now you're trying to find opportunities. So club, club coaching, odp, coaching, all different, different ways that I can then go out and be a coach so I can learn as well. So, you're just, you're doing a little bit of everything as a young assistant and then as a seasoned assistant.

my second time around, right? You're understanding all the things that the head coach is having to do, , and so you're trying to figure out what, how can I, what part of of her life can I make easier, right? Mm-hmm. , what, what can I add value to and take something off of her plate? And, and obviously that, that she can trust and trust me that I'm doing that part for her.

And she, she can take that out of her brain, right? Because you are just juggling so much stuff, especially at, at, you know, the big 12 level of the school. There's just so much going on that a head coach is taking on that as an assistant. You're just trying to figure out ways to help the student athletes, obviously, cause that's, that's why you're there, but you're also then obviously in support of your head coach who, who is juggling so many things.


[00:32:56] Paul: I, I don't want that to be, to be missed. I mean, I, I was blessed to [00:33:00] have, you know, one to be, to be an assistant, but also to have assistants that. for veterans that that understood what it meant to be you know, in the game for a long time to be, you know, to have maybe had been a head coach. And there's a lot to what you just said about being able to just take a load off of the head coach and let the head coach worry about things that only head coaches really need to worry about.

And give, give one piece of advice to to a young assistant to say, you know, maybe you've got, you, you're a young assistant, you have goals and dreams of being a head coach one day. Give a piece of advice to that, to that person in their first or second, you know, assistant coaching role. What would be your number one piece of advice to that person?

[00:33:38] Keri: I think one, make sure that you're learning all the different elements. If you wanna be a head coach, you need to understand what, what that actually means. And like you said, a lot of times when you're young, you're thinking about the X's and O's. Oh, it's running a training session by myself and it's, you know, I can do that.

Right? So they, they think they can do it all as a young assistant, , I'm ready. Right? I'm ready. And then they actually move, right? They always say that 12 inches, [00:34:00] that 12 inches is a big 12 inches. But so I think it's respecting your head coach, right? Being loyal always asking what can I do? And then learning all the different elements.

And I think challenging yourself, right? You're want, you wanna find your niche and what you're good at. So like when I was a young assistant, right? I'm really good at teaching the skills part of it, because for me, I was a track athlete, so kick the ball and run, right? So I had to get a lot better at the skills side of it.

So I had to spend a lot of time on my own with the ball hit rack ball court or out on the field trying to get better at that so I could break things down fairly well. So that's what I felt like what one of my strengths was. So I, I'm, I'm obviously doing that part of it and giving that part, but then how can I get better at the different areas that maybe I'm not quite as good at?

And so I think that's, as an assistant coach, learning all the different thing areas that you need to be able to manage. If your next step is wanting to be a head coach, and then where are your strengths and weaknesses? Keep, obviously get, continuing to make your strengths, your strengths.

understanding where your weaknesses are, making sure you're not letting balls drop in terms of that. But then also that will help [00:35:00] you if you become a head coach. Who do you need to hire as assistants? You gotta hire people that are strong where you're weak, right? So, I think it's just getting, if I had advice, getting more self-aware about who you are and what you're good at, and your why.

What is your why so that you can make sure that you're making good decision.

[00:35:20] Paul: Knowing, knowing who you are as a, as a leader is important. We talk about that a lot here. And, and of course, you know, Phil doing the disk training and things like that, that's a one way to do that. But also you, you said a, you said a word that stands out to me greatly, and the word was loyalty.

I, I think there's a great deal of loyalty to, to great assistance. And when you, when you then become a head coach, I think you realize even more what that loyalty really means from your assistants. as you've, as you've done both at, at, at a high level you know, obviously you had the, the the want to get back into being a head coach.

What is the difference for you and why, why go back into being a head coach again?

[00:35:57] Keri: I think for my personality, I, I like to [00:36:00] be the one a little bit in charge ultimately and in getting to pick the direction right as a person's following. Now that I've had enough experience for that I do enjoy trying to create.

create the culture, sustain the culture, and being the one that's kind of more in, in charge of, of, of leading versus kind of being the follower. So I think that's prob probably what the biggest draw was. Plus I'd been a head coach for a long time. Mm-hmm. . But I think what I, and I told this, I go, I think the best job in college sports is a top assistant.

Mm-hmm. at a school you love and a head coach you love to coach for because you get to have the relationship with the players that as a head coach, you don't get to have mm-hmm. , right. You get to have closeness. You're not, you're not the one in charge of their playing time. You're not the one in charge of their, their scholarships.

And so you get to have a little bit better connection in that sense. Less stressful connection maybe. Mm-hmm. is a, is a better way to term it cuz obviously head coaches have good relationships with other players too. But it's a little bit different. You're a little, it, it just has to be because you're the head coach.

So, I think that's what I loved about being an assistant is those relationships you [00:37:00] get to be, and you can take a player out one-on-one who wants time cuz you have the time to do that. Right. Whereas a head coach, you're getting pulled in so many directions, you sometimes don't get the ability to do that.

So, I think that's what I loved about being an assistant and what you miss. And then being a head coach, you love to be the one setting the direction. And I love the challenge of trying to connect these 25 to 30 athletes together, going in one direction. Try to, you know, and satisfy all their needs and wants, which is really, really hard to do.

But I like the challenge of that for sure. Yeah. And so, that's what drew me back to being, wanting to be a head coach.

[00:37:31] Paul: Yeah, that's that. That's awesome. I know that transition I had from being Marci's assistant to being a head coach, the relationships with the players changed. I don't wanna say drastically, but it changed from being the head coach to the, Hey, this is kind of what Marci means.

Let's work together to, you know, blah blah, to being now the voice of it, and now needing someone to then pick up my pieces, basically. And was blessed though to have a longtime assistant, Chuck Codd, who I think everybody in the world knows made a career out of being the most loyal, [00:38:00] the best assistant that probably anybody could ever have.

And he loved it. Never, never. He's like, Hey man. I was like, Hey man, if you ever wanna be a head coach, he's like, are you kidding me? I don't wanna deal with that stuff you have to deal with. So, I was blessed to be able to, to see all sides of it, and I just really totally understand what you're saying.

But it's great for our young coaches to, and maybe some of our veteran coaches too, that maybe haven't, you know, haven't experienced some of those things to hear what you have to say. So I think that's, that's just some great, great stuff there.

[00:38:24] Phil: Yeah. That idea too of, of leading from the middle is really important.

That people don't understand a lot of times that, as you talked about, you were leading as a head coach, then you became an assistant, you're still leading and you can lead from that middle is that servant leadership and every great leader needs to be a great follower at some point. And because from that following, you also learn how to lead.

And it, it's, it. It's that whole idea of sweep the sheds as well, you know, that we read in Legacy, all these different things that go into that. And I loved, I, I heard a little bit of all of that in [00:39:00] the, in those answers, which was, which was really, really cool to, to hear. And I, I hope you folks listen to that.

Just listen even between the lines and what's going on and, because what I've seen Keri, you know, you, you're a great leader of these, of these young women. And, you know, some, some are, you know, I mean, they're, they're women, but they're still younger, as younger than us. You know, I don't know where that cutoff is.

I don't know what to call the, the high school girls anymore. Do you call 'em girls? Do you call 'em young women? I don't know, but that's a whole different conversation. But I love being an assistant. I know that because I, I love being able to lead in some ways, but also to be able to, you talked about, go deeper into those relationships and, and that is something that you, you, you can do.

But it's, it's often. It's, it's different. It's just totally different as the head coach. And that's what all the, a lot of the kids will say is they'll be like, Hey, you know, I love Coach Phil, so much fun. I'm like, yeah, but I wouldn't be if I was the head coach. Like you wouldn't think that Yeah, it would be, it'd be like, you know, but I get to be that role.

And so that's something that a lot of people miss and it's something that a head coach has to give up at some level, [00:40:00] and they gotta be okay with that. And so you, you know, and the coaches, young coaches out there be, be thinking about that as you're going through the ranks and, and realize that they're, it's not just going and you get to have more control.

That's not, that's not what it's about. It's, I mean, yeah, you, you do, but, but that's in, you have more responsibility and you have more, a lot of things. So anyway. You know, I, I, I love talking about the coaching, obviously all the leadership there. I wanna go back to the playing days. Now we're just kind of going back and forth here.

We're hopping all around. But back to, you played with a lot of great players as we talked about. We didn't talk about any of the specific players, but I wanna just now like are there one or two players that you played with, whether at U N C, the national team, you know, W P S L, W P S, I mean all these different initials.

Who were the one or two that just best leaders that just stuck out and what some set them apart from the rest?

[00:40:49] Keri: Uh, Well, yeah, I've, I've had the fortune again cuz I kind of played between two gen generations, right? So I go back to like the a April Heinrichs that was leading the national team when I first went in and Michelle Akers[00:41:00] who probably l led without being the captain.

She's probably a good example of how do you lead without necessarily having the captain's title on there, right? So, Yeah, I've been fortunate to be around a ton. So yeah, Julie fdi, Carla over backer, probably two from the national team who people know right? Really, really well. Were just fantastic leaders.

And in their own way, when you talk about leading within your own personality both did that tremendously well and, and balanced each other off really, really well. Carla knew when to be tough and when to, when to hold that line and make you accountable but do it with where you knew she was coming with love in her heart, right?

You knew that she cared, right? And so, I think that I learned a ton from them. I got to Christine Lilly when I was in Boston, was our captain, and, and to watch her develop, right? I was, I played with her in college where she loved to lead by example and didn't necessarily want the captain's Armand necessarily, right?

She just wanted to do her job, right and everybody to kind of follow her lead by just doing her job. But then to watch her take on kind of that more vocal [00:42:00] leadership. She did well, well also with the national team, but also with our team in Boston. And, and to see her kind of evolve was kind of great to see, cuz that wasn't necessarily her personality, but she knew it was what the team needed.

Mm-hmm. and she figured out a way to do it. So I think she was great. Shannon Boxx was at LA when I was there and, and she was, she was tremendous as well. It just, again, at the pro level, right? You're managing egos. Everybody I guess at every level everybody wants to play. But the managing of the egos at the, at the pro level, it is you know, interesting.

And everybody, like that's the first time, right? You come to practice, then everybody bolts and they're gone. They're not on campus seeing each other. And so, trying to connect a pro team versus a college team is, is a lot different.

[00:42:42] Phil: Yeah, it's it's interesting if you go back to episode, I think it was three or four, I asked a similar question to Amanda Cromwell and she named Carla and Julie as well.

So if you wanna study differing types of leadership, [00:43:00] those two on that team. Now, for a lot of our listeners who are younger, you're saying, who are Carla Overbeck and Julie F. You won't say that about Julie cuz she's now announcing, but you might say that about Carla. You'll say that some, a lot of people unfortunately, will probably say the same thing about Michelle Aker, who.

you know, Amanda mentioned as well in that. But to be able to, to study and I think, I love, love how you said that too, just different types of leadership. It's not just the person yelling all over the field saying, Hey, you gotta do this. You gotta, you know, inspiring and doing this. Yeah. That's part of it.

But there's also that just tough as nails person who just plays with everything they got and shows it and models it. And what to do and how we can follow people. And so, yeah. Love, love. love hearing that. Just, it's always, it's always great to hear from people what, what sticks out to them as leadership and who those leaders are.

And I do have to say, and I'd say it every time we talk about it you know, Julie Foudy, it does come from the best high school this country who's ever known. So she was a few years ahead of me at the Mission Viejo High School, go Diablo's. So that's just another little plug [00:44:00] for mission. But, you know, some people may disagree with that, but that's, that's what I think.

Anyway, she, that was an incredible year too. It was Julie and Joe Max Moore both graduated the same year. Two national team players. I don't, I don't know. That's probably happened somewhere else too, but I don't, I don't know. I I don't know of any other thing. So I'm just gonna say that's the only place that's ever happened at this as far as, as far as we know.

If, if you know, there's another place, let me know. You know, just, you know, put that in the show notes comments. So anyway, on the flip side of that, Keri, who was the, the person you least liked playing against and why? Oh my.

[00:44:35] Keri: Who was, . I like the challenge of anybody. I don't know if there's anybody where I went, ah, I don't wanna play against them. I like it, but probably, obviously I'm not the biggest player. So if you had a somebody who was like huge and dominant in the air, you had like Cindy Parlow, you had Abby Wambach, right?

Those in terms of matchups probably weren't the the best matchups for me. But yeah, I never not necessarily wanted to shy away from anybody. So [00:45:00] I lo I loved it probably. Yeah, the, the bigger, more physical player was not, was probably harder for me in, in terms of that, just cuz of my size. But yeah, we weren't gonna shy away from anybody

[00:45:10] Phil: spoken like a true, a true true tar heel there, I think from the nineties.

I think that's what it was taught. You just, you know, no one's, no one's gonna, it doesn't matter. I love that answer. Um, Alright, so the Last thing I got for you right now is we, we were able to do disc training with your team and the, you know, pre-season and, and got to go through that. I, I always enjoy it, loved getting to know the team and be able to help you guys out and, and, and hopefully help you out.

But what did you learn from that DISC training? And we talk about it a lot on this show. And, and how are you able to use that in your, in your coaching?

[00:45:46] Keri: Yeah. Well, yeah, the team really enjoyed that experience. And again, we were coming from a team. that felt a little bit disconnected coming out of Covid.

The sen, the seniors and super seniors that are happening at the college level where you've got two sets of, of groups trying to lead and not [00:46:00] understanding how to share that leadership that they both can lead and the team will be better. And those are the teams that are finding the most success.

Mm-hmm. . And then there's teams that are struggling a little bit because there's more friction between those two groups that are trying to lead and who gets to lead and, and whatnot. And so, I think them just understanding each other better and even understanding themselves. And that's where this spring we're gonna kind of dive a little bit deeper so that they can continue to kind of understand themselves a little bit better as well as their teammates and how they react.

 Because I think that's, that just helps in terms of connection is that, hey, if that's, she might get defensive right away, here's why. And this, this is how we can help her see both sides of the situation, or here's how we could better approach when we need to talk to that player about this or that.

Right. And so I, and it was fun just to see their reactions when they got to, you know, they, they got the responses and they raised their hands of who's what. Right? And, and I think Phil did a great job of giving examples that re resonated with them, right? In terms of, Hey, thi this scenario happened, [00:47:00] this is how they react.

Who, who does that in this room? And they're a D or they're an I or what, whatever, right? And so, or the methodical, you know, we had of only a few people in one area and so, and they go, oh, that makes sense because those two are very unique to our team. . Mm-hmm. makes sense that they're down in this corner by themselves.

So yeah, it was fun to just kind of watch them get to know each other a little bit better at a, at a deeper level and maybe a little bit more understanding. And so we hope to continue to do that a little bit more this spring when we have a little bit more time to, to explore those areas.

[00:47:30] Phil: Yeah. Were you able to use that as far as how you interacted with the players in one-on-ones or just as far as, as you're coaching them to be able to engage them differently?

[00:47:41] Keri: Yeah, I think, again, we bring it up when we were at, if we're having conversations and if somebody's kind of dominating that conversation, you'd have somebody, Hey, pop up and say all of the Ds can't say anything.

Right? Or they, they had some language richette, which I think is a huge thing, right? Just having language and words to use to describe who they are, who that [00:48:00] person is, and maybe why they're either getting along really well or not getting along right. Yeah. I, I knew from my high school experience the clique problem where these girls are hanging out with these girls, they won't talk to each other or became, and I hadn't really had that issue in college until the last few years.

And so again, I think that's one of those things from Covid when people were stuck in their little cohorts or bubbles, they become really tight with this one bubble but not with the other bubble. And now there was some issues because of that. So I think it just helps people connect across and if there's somebody's way different than you learning how to, where, where are you alike?

Cuz I think ultimately ev everybody has points too where they're really alike but you, because sometimes miss them if, if your main personality traits way different, right? Yeah. Yeah. And so it's kind of seeing their underlying personality trait is also helpful cuz maybe they're, they're a d and I don't understand them, but then, oh, we're, we're actually really a alike in this area though.

So Yeah. I think that was interesting as well.

[00:48:55] Phil: Absolutely.

[00:48:55] Paul: Absolutely. we benefited. We had Phil come out with [00:49:00] our team and one of the, aside from the things that you're, you're talking about, one of the great things that I pulled away from it is I just started having some of the stuff on my desk during one-on-one meetings to remind myself before the player came in of what their personality style was so that I knew how better to communicate.

I found that to be very, very helpful. I don't know if you've experienced that as well.

[00:49:19] Keri: I did. We had it on the bench. So on our little thing, , we had like, next to the roster, we'd have their little thing next to 'em just to kind of reminders like you're talking about cuz you, in that you're kind of in an emotional, stressful situation.

And we are trying to figure out, we're also working with a sports psychologist when they come off the field, do you grab that person or not grab 'em? Mm-hmm. , who do you grab and wants information right away? Who needs to go get a drink of water? Cool off if they think they got pulled out because maybe they were doing something wrong.

Yeah. Right. When maybe, right. And so then you can go have some. So it's helping us in terms of that. And I think, again, this was our first year, so I would say we're at maybe step one .

[00:49:56] Phil: Right, right.

[00:49:57] Keri: Absolutely. There's a lot of, absolutely. There's a lot more ways we could [00:50:00]use this, this information and help them use the information.

Yeah. And so, we. , we definitely didn't use it as well as we probably could or should have. And that's what we're hoping to do going forward, is just every year kind of layer it and get better and better at it.

[00:50:13] Phil: Yeah, and that's what I tell people all the time with DISC is, cause you hear a lot of people say, oh yeah, we did disk and yeah, whatever.

And I'm like, well, you don't just do DISC. You don't just do. So it's, it's, you need to practice it. You like anything else? It's, you know, these become, it's an art, it's a skill. It's it's information. It's a tool. So if you just say, oh yeah, it's, we did it and we're done. No. You learn how to use tools better and better and better, and you can become a master at that tool.

And if you can master these tools, you can be a better communicator, you can be a better motivator, you can be a better inspire you can be better in, in all that different thing. And that's what I love seeing and I love hearing that just as far as like we know there's so much more to it. And it's not the, it's not the silver bullet.

There is no silver bullet. But if you can learn how to motivate, and I love that hearing that as far as having it on the bench, the, the [00:51:00] coach I coach with at the, they were, you know, the 14 year old girls and, and the coach, he's, he's wired very differently from me. And they were, the girls were struggling before and in the tournament he goes, Hey Phil, come here.

His right before halftime. And he pulls me aside from the bench, down the sideline, he goes, how do I talk to him at halftime because I just want to yell at 'em and I just want to just drive into 'em and I just wanna rail into 'em cuz they're not playing hard. And I said, and he goes, but I know I can't because they're, you know, a bunch of ss, a bunch of, you know, and he goes, so I know I'll just cause 'em to go into a hole.

And I'm like, yeah, you would. So tell 'em they need to play harder for each other. Because then they will actually go, okay, I need to do it for the other. And it's, you know, and, and, and you know, we talked a lot more about that, but I love that because it is that constantly going, okay, in this moment with this person, what does it look like?

And it will look different. And depending on the situation, did they play great? Were they not, were they, were they struggling? All those things go into it. So anyway, love, love hearing that. And I, I look forward to, you know, continuing to work with you on [00:52:00] that to whatever extent you want me to.

[00:52:04] Paul: Well, Keri, this has been, this has been an awesome interview and we've been going for a while.

We probably could talk for hours and hours of the different things and navigate. And I just really enjoyed our conversation and so I appreciate your time. But we always have a couple of questions we ask all our guests who wanna wrap up here with a couple of questions for you. We've talked a lot about soccer.

We've talked a little bit about how we like to, you know, influence the lives of our, of our young people. But how do, how do you use the lessons you've, you've learned from the game of soccer that have directly affected your parenting? Phil, Phil always gives the example of like the, the retaliation gets the red that's in his house.

You know, we have some things here too. What are some things for you that come directly from the game that have affected your parenting?

[00:52:43] Keri: Should ask my son this .

[00:52:44] Paul: Bring him

[00:52:44] Keri: on . Yeah. Because when he was little, he would tell my team to please win, because when you don't win, she's mad for three days. .

[00:52:50] Paul: My kids

[00:52:51] Keri: feel that too, right?

Yeah. So I, he probably feels like he was coached more than parented, maybe. But I think you're trying to teach him the, the [00:53:00] things that you've learned, right? The discipline, the hard work. I think coaching help with patience. That was probably one thing I didn't have. I don't have a lot of patience and so I think parenting helped with that, which also probably helped with my coaching.

I think I became a better coach after being a parent for sure. So I, I would think trying to parent actually helped the coaching more than maybe the coaching helped the parenting. per se, but yeah, I think it's oh yeah, I would say a patient's hard work and discipline are probably the main ones that, that have translated into my parenting side of it.

Yeah, cuz it is just a, it's a different personality that you're trying to raise this person to be. And I always said, Hey, I was raising a white male, right? So, trying to get him to understand who he is in the world and, and the world that we're in right now and how he's gonna be perceived and to just, you know, be a good person.

You wanna be a good person first, work hard don't take things for granted. Those are all a lot of different things that you can bring from my playing and coaching background into my

[00:53:53] Paul: parenting. Yeah, I think those are quality, quality lessons instilled to any young person. For sure. And by the way, I [00:54:00] always felt like you were really calm.

Are you, were you a, a louder coach when you were younger or you, is that just your assistant personality or like,

[00:54:07] Keri: no, I'm pretty calm on the sideline again, I think I've learned probably as an young assistant, you get a little bit more, I was more fiery because you, you are learning how much lack of control you have.

as a coach. Yeah. . But I think then you realize it doesn't, who's that helping? . Mm-hmm. for me going crazy. So, yeah, in terms of that, the patient side of it, on that side of it, but it is different. I guess it's probably, yeah. I'm better as a coach probably with patience than I am as a parent , because you know, that person intimately,

[00:54:37] Paul: right?

Mm-hmm. . Sure. Totally, totally. So those household interactions are, are, are way different for sure. So, yeah. Last one here, Keri. What have you watched, read or listened to that most impacted your thinking on how soccer explains life in leadership? .

[00:54:52] Keri: Oh, probably my, in the last few years I've been doing What Drives Winning.

Mm-hmm. , I've read the books and, and doing the conversations with, [00:55:00] with Becky and Brett Ledbetter. And I think they just do a really good job of connecting one, all different sports, because I think, again, like you said, we can learn by being multi-sport athletes. I think we can also learn as coaches by watching other coaches and coaches in all different sports.

Right. So, that's one of the things that I think that, that that class has done well for me is I, I'm seeing again, cuz we're all coaching that certain age groups, right? Whether you're a club coach or a high school coach, or college coach or, or beyond they're all encountering similar issues because they're in, they're similar area of their growth, right.

As people. Mm-hmm. and. . I think he's done a really good job of taking kind of mainstream things and, and giving you different ideas of how to bring up topics and, and conversation starters, and also has helped me be a better questioner to try to help connect with your team and your student athletes when they're coming in for individual meetings.

. I think one of the things that I was kind of working on and being better at is the listener side of it. Right? I was always that person that they're talking one, I [00:56:00] wanna fix it. I'm one of those people. This is also, when you talk about the parenting side of it, you're maybe, you're, maybe they're just wanting to whine or vents, but I'm trying to, wanting to fix their problem and I just need to sit back Yep.

And listen and let 'em kind of just vent and then ask some questions as opposed to try to fix the problem. Mm-hmm. . And so I think probably in the last few years, I'm, I've been trying to get better at that. I'm not trying to fix it, but just trying to be more curious and kind of get where, where they're coming from before trying to offer any advice.

And maybe they don't want advice. Maybe they just need me. If I keep asking the right questions, they'll probably answer the question themselves without me putting too much influence on that. And so I think, yeah, I'd say, I'd say that and, and Betsy Butterick for communication, I have to give a shout out.

She, she does a really, really good job of trying to help you be a better communicator.

[00:56:48] Paul: Well, so wise words there that you give from your parenting perspective, that I think could really go well with a lot of parents who have college-aged kids. Mm-hmm. sometimes. Mm-hmm. , mom and dad just need to pick up the phone and, [00:57:00] and listen and, and not try to then call the coach and fix the problem.

Right. I love that. That's some amazing advice, Keri, and I hope people have, are able to listen to that and take that not only for their own parenting, like whether their kid's an athlete or not, but if you have a, a college age student athlete, that's some really, really wise

[00:57:15] Phil: advice. 100%. My my son actually said out loud very wisely to me over Christmas.

He's, he's been through a lot this last couple years and he says, dad, I don't, I don't want you to fix it. I don't need you to fix it. I don't want you to fix it. I just need to know you care. And uh, it was like, I mean, I'm tearing up now because it was, it was a moment of like, oh yeah, I mean, like, , how can what we talk about, we can let 'em f let 'em fall off their bike.

Don't let 'em fall off the cliff. But do we let really let 'em fall off their bike? You know, if, if we're like, oh, but you can avoid that. You can avoid that. You can, you know, but they learn like we did right through those, through [00:58:00] those times. And they learn by us not fixing it because they have to wrestle through it.

And it's, and that's the same goes for the, the, as you said, we as coaches, we can't fix it. We can't go out. We lost a game last night in my high school team, and they were simple mistakes that, like, we, I literally told them at halftime, you need to do this. And, and they went out and they did the same thing again.

And it, the other team scored on a, just a breakdown that it, it happened. And you're like, but it is what it is. Right? So that's, but they learn from it, hopefully. And then they can. You know, be better, be better human beings after it. Well, thank you, Keri, thank you so much for, for all you're doing. Thank you for how you're pouring in to the players, to your team, to your coaches to your son, and to so many others.

So I just appreciate you, appreciate, I'm glad we've gotten to know each other over the last, you know, several months. Very blessed in that regard. So, so thanks Keri.

[00:58:52] Keri: Thank you. I've really enjoyed this, this conversation, right? You learn, you learn a lot just by having these conversations and, and getting to take a, take a [00:59:00] moment to kind of reevaluate and process kind of all the different experiences that you've had.

So thank you.

[00:59:05] Paul: Absolutely. So thanks Keri for being here. Totally agree. That's the benefit of Phil and I being able to host these. We get to have these conversations all the time, and we I can speak for Phil. I think in this as we, we get, we get probably more out of this than anybody. So thank you for, for diving in.

[00:59:18] Phil: 100%. I learned so much from this. I'm like, so, so grateful. I, I'm glad that I, we get to have these and I just appreciate you and thanks again folks. I appreciate you all that you are listening because, you know, you get to learn from this too. And so thank you for being a part of this. And you are a part of this if you're listening.

And so we, we do hope that you engage this not just by listening in, but engaged by letting us know your thoughts, letting us know questions you have, letting us know, you know, what you think. All these different conversations you're having, you know, what you think about the fact that Paul and I got almost everything wrong in the World Cup this year including the who won it.

We, we know that we did not pick the winner of the World Cup, but that's a, that's okay because we can still, [01:00:00] you know, have these conversations and we can still learn. And so I just thank you folks for, for being a part of this. Hope that you do check out all the different things. We'll have the, anything we talked about on this show, what drives winning all that.

We'll have that in the, in the show notes, so you can go check that out yourself. If you want to learn more about Warrior Way and what Paul and Marci are doing out there in Waco and other parts of the country, you can check that out, warrior way soccer.com, coaching the bigger game with that I'm, I'm working on if you wanted to learn about disc training.

All that's in the show notes so you can check that out. Most importantly, we hope that you're taking what you're learning from the show and you're using it to be a better leader in all that you do. Be a better parent, be a better spouse, be a better friend, and that you continually reem remind yourself that soccer does explain life and leadership.

Thanks a lot. Have a great week.