In Episode 8, Rick Clark, Director of Admissions at Georgia Institute of Technology, youth soccer coach, and former collegiate soccer player, talks with Phil about how lessons he has learned playing and coaching soccer for the past few decades have helped him in his marriage, his parenting, and his work at Georgia Tech.
In Episode 8, Rick Clark, Director of Admissions at Georgia Institute of Technology, youth soccer coach, and former collegiate soccer player, talks with Phil about how lessons he has learned playing and coaching soccer for the past few decades have helped him in his marriage, his parenting, and his work at Georgia Tech. Specifically, he discusses:
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Phil: [00:00:00] Welcome back to How Soccer Explains Leadership. Again, we have a great guest with us today. Rick Clark, the Director of Admissions. I'm not sure if that's actually the right title, but at Georgia Tech University.
it is great honor to have him here with us today. And he's going to talk about how he incorporates soccer and all that he's learned on the pitch into the work that he does every day. So we're going to get to that in a minute, but before we do, I just want to remind you to subscribe to this podcast if you haven't done so already. Really wherever you're listening to it right now, all you do is hit that subscribe button and then you won't miss any episodes. That's something that I encourage you to do if you're enjoying it. If you're not enjoying it, then just stop it right now and go listen to something else.
But I'm hoping that because you have this right now, listening to it, it's something that you're enjoying and it's helping you and it's helping you in your leadership. So if that's the case, go ahead and do that. You can also rate and review it. again, wherever you're listening and that just helps people understand why they might want to listen to it, but most importantly, share it, your friends share it with your teammates, share it with your family.
And, but he also, you think can benefit from these conversations that we're having. It's something that, that is the best way to get this show out there. And I very much appreciate it if you're doing that. And I'm sure the people that you're giving it to will appreciate it as well, because I've been super encouraged.
I've learned a ton from these interviews. And so I have no doubt that you are as well. So without any more about that, , I'm excited to get to my friend, my brother, Rick Clark, how you doing?
Rick: [00:01:31] I'm doing well, Phil. Thanks for having me. I'm looking forward to conversation.
Phil: [00:01:35] Yeah, absolutely. First of all, did I get your title, right?
Rick: [00:01:38] You did. You did. The title is Director of Admission. Now one quick correction is. Georgia Institute of Technology. So no university in that, but, but Georgia Tech better known as Georgia tech in Atlanta. Yep. Apologize.
Phil: [00:01:51] It's an Institute, not a university. And so it's all you Yellow Jackets out there, I am, I am sorry for that, but I'm sure you can find in your heart to forgive me. So, now that we got those important technicalities out of the way, Rick, share with the audience, who you are, unless they applied to Georgia Tech and even if they did, they probably don't remember your name, but, I doubt that a lot of people have a good understanding of who you are.
So just share your story, your soccer experience, playing coaching, really how you got to be where you are today. And then we'll get into some really cool stuff about how you are using soccer in your leadership there.
Rick: [00:02:24] Yeah, absolutely. So, I actually grew up here in Atlanta and started playing soccer here.
But when I was in fourth grade, we actually moved out to Dallas and I think that's when I realized, sort of a next level of soccer. I mean, Atlanta soccer is good. Georgia soccer is good and was, okay. At the time, But getting out there was a humbling experience even at that age. And was there for, I guess fourth through sixth grade, and just seeing the various levels of competition and, really getting introduced to competitive soccer, travel soccer, That was for me helpful in a lot of ways, because like I said, it was humbling to start with, but it also gives you something to shoot for.
Right. And I think extrapolating that out. We need that. We need both those things constantly. but then moved back actually here to Atlanta and ended up playing club as well as high school here. and then I went to Lafayette College, which is up in Easton, Pennsylvania, and played in the Patriot league there at Lafayette in my freshman year before realizing, you know what, I'm not going pro. And decided to move back. I transferred to Chapel Hill and, and finished up there. So, I think in terms of soccer since then, of course, you and I have played when you were here in Atlanta, I've played, for a lot of different teams, adult soccer, but really more so in adult life, just coaching.
I started coaching when I was an undergrad at Chapel Hill, which was kind of rare. Most people not doing that during their time, but I coached little kids. Fourth and fifth graders. Just loved it. And then continue to do that before we had kids. And I think I'm in like my 19th or 20th season of coaching my kids now, which has been, just such a cool opportunity.
Not only just, my relationship with them, but also with their friends. It's just so different, when you have that. that's kind of the quick, the quick and dirty.
Phil: [00:04:14] So tell me about the team that you are now overseeing and the work environment, paint that picture for our audience so they understand the context of what we're talking about. They understand the soccer pitch, they understand your teams, they understand the, what you're talking about there. I think anybody on this show that understands soccer is already like out there with you there, but they don't really know.
And I don't really know, honestly, just what does that look like? What's the team that you are overseeing and also the team that you're within and who you're under.
Rick: [00:04:40] Yeah. So my team here, we're in charge of recruiting and reviewing and ultimately enrolling. New undergrad classes every year. So, we do that with first year students and also transfer students.
and basically we're bringing in 3300 1st year students and another thousand plus transfer students every year. And. While we're a research university. I mean that, that enrollment, that tuition is a huge part of obviously the lifeblood of the Institute, especially right now. during the pandemic.
And I think that's been really clear out there in the media is, schools that are hurting for enrollment are hurting period, and that means people lose jobs. And depending on what communities in that means the guy that owns the hotel or the pizza place also loses their jobs. So the responsibility and the weight of enrollment is not just localized to the university or the college, but it has implications for the surrounding community as well.
So, I think about that a lot. we are not just building a class and bringing in, new students to this place, but we're also, providing a lot of, opportunities for people. my team is, it depends on the time of year, but we're around 30, people that, are under me and then I've got it.
Another 30 that come in seasonally to help us. I know you're out in California, place like UCLA could have a hundred plus people that come in seasonally to help their full-time staff. So yeah, that's a decent number of people. and. I do talk a lot about team versus staff. and I think a lot of it does come from playing soccer, like this idea of, Hey, We've got goals, very clear goals. And that's one thing I love about this work is, you know exactly what your goals are. There are numbers to hit, and you're trying to get numbers within numbers too, right? Just like with soccer. And it's not always just about the wins and losses, but it's also about what's happening within those numbers too.
How are you getting to those results? And, for us, and anybody who has maybe had a kid go through college admission, Knows this, as when you're building a class, it's not just getting a number of students, but you want kids from California. You want kids from Boston. You want kids from India and China.
So you're trying to, in a lot of ways, build teams, which are classes just as much as we're building a team, here are the folks I work with.
Phil: [00:06:51] And you're also working with, the Dean or the chancellor or the president or whatever the title is there at the Institute? I know at universities, what they call them, but at the Institute they may have different lingo, head engineer or something.
I don't know. I don't know what they call it at Georgia Tech, but.
Rick: [00:07:06] Yeah, you're right now, our president, our provost and obviously boards, right? Whether it be boards and trustees, of course, publics have legislative oversight too. So that's a whole different conversation, but lots of different constituents to please.
Phil: [00:07:18] So you're basically the manager and you have the owners and the front office that are overseeing you to make sure that what you're doing. Yeah. You're, getting the wins. You're getting the people coming in, but that you got that really, that manager. Well, you got people on both sides of you that you're leading and you're being led.
Rick: [00:07:36] Yeah, without a doubt, that's actually a great way to look at it. Because day to day stuff. Yeah. we're executing that, but, there's no question that there are these pressures from above and around who have a lot of opinions about exactly how we should do that, and who we are and aren't bringing in and why.
Phil: [00:07:53] Absolutely. Well, hopefully they'll give you the money to get the people that you need to get on those transfer market.
So, yeah. So let's get into the meat of the, how soccer explains leadership. One of those things really is the special relationship between the coach and his players, at least, hopefully it's a special relationship. Can you just talk about that? just why that relationship is so special and sacred and really what it's got to do and how it translates into your team at Georgia Tech.
Rick: [00:08:18] Well, I loved playing and I was fortunate to play some great coaches. Things I'll still say are still think about that they said. But flipping that and getting to be more on the coaching side, whether that'd be with my own kids or the kids I coach,
and then of course with my team here. I just feel like it allows you to speak into people's lives in a very different way. And I think what's something that I say a lot to my own kids and definitely in fact, just had a situation happened the other day with, I don't know, you got time for a quick, soccer related story on this.
Phil: [00:08:53] This is a soccer podcast, man. That's if it's soccer related, we can talk about it.
Rick: [00:08:57] I was actually driving. My son is playing now club. and so I'm not coaching him anymore. And there were a couple of kids in the car and, there's a kid in the back. And I heard them whispering the other day.
And I could tell that he was making some innuendos or whatever, just stuff that was not above board. And. I let it go the first time, even though I was pretty sure I knew what was happening the second time I was like, that's a path, and that's just not going to be okay. And so I went ahead and I've told her, and I told my son get ready because when we get in the car the next time, when they'll lay down the law here about what is, and isn't okay in the car.
And I was planning on doing that in a really, sort of calm mild way, but we had not even left this kid's driveway and I hear him like something about a ball. And then all of a sudden, they're all loud laughing back there. And I can tell this kid again, kind of went there with some of those sexual innuendos.
And so I just turned around and I was like, that is not going to work in this car, man. And two of the kids in the back. Played for me and played for me for a bunch of years. And they definitely had seen that sort of side. And one of the things that I said to this guys that day was man, if I didn't love you and didn't want you to be better, then I wouldn't be trying to hold you to this account.
And, I'm not sure what you do at your own house, and I'm not really sure, what your parents think about stuff, but this is going to be the way it is in this car. And I think we do that with our teams as well We want people around us to be better. And I think a good team does that.
And as we talk, I'm here at the office thinking about walking around these offices, usually last person to leave and walking by each of their offices and thinking about who they are and how can I stretch them? How can I help to them make them better? And I think that player, coach relationship and that player coach dynamic is fundamentally that's what it's all about, right? Like, how is each of these people here different than the next. You can't coach them all the same, but what are their goals? And what's their potential? And how can you stretch and push them to get better? and back to like 12 year old boys, I mean, they need that, they need people to ride them.
Sometimes they need people to just say, that's not going to be good enough. And you're better than that. You're better than that. Right. And I see it in you. That's going to be the expectation.
Phil: [00:11:19] Yeah. And to have people other than your parents saying those words. To have people, to have your boss actually care about you think about how much harder you're going to work for them. To have your coach actually care about you and love you and want to you to get your potential. How much better you're going to play for them. How much you're going to want to do it for yourself, but it's going to be that next little something. And that next little something, maybe that's something that puts you over the top. and so I have seen this as much as anything, right?
Just this transfer of seeing a coach's impact on a kid's life and seeing a healthy, positive boss. Who's going to come in and actually care about the people's flourishing and not just doing it for a paycheck or not just doing it for the bottom line. It makes all the difference in the world.
So, that was something that, when we talked about that in another conversation we were having, I, was like, yeah, absolutely. we gotta talk about this. Going back to that kind of with a team, So you have. an ideal team in soccer. it has great players in every position and they're complimenting each other in different ways.
What does that look like? How is that comparable to your office and your team and, and what your role as the leader of that team, as you're putting that team together and hiring and looking into that. What does that look like and how do you think, through that experience through soccer and how does that inform what you're doing in that regard?
Rick: [00:12:34] I think probably one of the biggest things is I've said for a while, when I leave here, I want somebody to come in and be able to look around and be like, all right, I'm going to put my own spin on this, but I see what he was doing. And I can see where he was heading with this.
And, it makes sense. Structures in place and things are healthy. And now I have the tools I need to put my own spin on it, which we're all going to do is as leaders as coaches, whatever it may be. But I think for me, it's so much of that starts with the leaders within the team, and sort of from me that next level down. And I guess one way to put that out there is we have divided out into several different teams.
Just like you would have somebody that you can rely on that's up front and that offensive leader and that defensive leader. Right. Same thing here is man, if they're healthy and they're, being pushed and stretched and they're on the same page with you, then you don't have to be there to deliver that message all the time.
And I think that's what good coaches do, Is they don't have to constantly be riding people. They don't have to always be there because they've got those captains on the field. Normally, it seems that the best teams don't just have one. usually you see them spread throughout the field where you can identify and say that guy, that guy.
They're the ones that are holding everybody to account. And, yeah, I think the other thing of course, on the team side of things is those complimentary skills and talents. Just that idea that, you're not going to win. You're not going to win with, just all good defenders.
You got to create a team and find those strengths and talents and then put them in the right place. And that's certainly something we talk a lot about here is we feel like we can coach people to do the work without a doubt. We just got to get people to have the right attitude on board and then figure out where they're going to thrive.
So just a really quick example of this. We hired a girl that was working at University of Illinois and she came down here and we thought she was going to be perfect in this one role. And actually now she's running all of our social media and she's just absolutely killing it. And it was one of those things where she had lots of good talents and skills and great attitude.
And then we started to realize what she loved. What she really loves to do and what she was made to do. And then watching her take off in that over the last year has just been man, so exciting to be part of. And I think that's again, thinking about that coach metaphor. I think there's probably nothing more satisfying as a coach than to see like, man, you just put somebody in the right place.
They did the work you just gave him an opportunity to be in that right place. And you had the vision to identify it, but then to watch them just take off way beyond what you could ever imagine is pretty cool.
Phil: [00:15:10] And I think a lot of college coaches right now, if, as they're listening to this are thinking right now, as you said, that where someone came in as one position and they, realized they were at a different position, they're basically thinking of their left back. Because it seems like every college coach I'm talking to says they had a winger that they made into a left back because left backs are so hard to find.
So if you're a high school parent or a parent of a kid, If you can groom your kid to be a left back, you've got a pretty good shot. My daughter happens to be a left back. but that's what she does wanted to play. she was never a winger. But, anyway, it really is interesting and it makes sense a lot of times where you can take those skills of a winger, especially with wingbacks now, and to be able to convert, but that takes a coach to be able to think outside the box. A coach, to be able to see those skills, it takes a manager, it takes a boss.
It takes a leader in an organization to see those skills and not just think, Oh, I hired this person. So I'm going to stay in this box. But to say, what are these ways that I can use these gifts and talents for the best use for the team so that it will make everybody better, including that person. And then it also takes, It takes that understanding of how to communicate to that person. Cause that winger may not like the idea of going back to defense. And not getting the glory of the goals or the assists right. Or
Rick: [00:16:21] whatever. Almost never do they move.
Phil: [00:16:26] And sometimes in a job too, they may not see it at first. Right. But for you to have that foresight and to be able to communicate it, to say, Hey, look, I think this is best for you
and here's why. And I think you're going to see it too. Once you get into it a little bit and maybe coach them through that transition too. Have you seen that? I mean, have you seen that with the what you're doing?
Rick: [00:16:45] Yeah, absolutely. I think you're absolutely right. in fact, I'd say a lot of the time, especially when it's lateral or then it's like a lateral movement is one thing.
Of course, it's like, Hey, here's a promotion. And, we believe in you and whatever, but that sort of quote, unquote, lateral move where you're like, no, I just think your skills and talents can be better used here. and that takes a little while, and certainly it takes a certain personality to be okay with that.
I think, But another thing that you said was that, as a leader, as a coach, To be willing to cut your losses, when you realize it's not working out in a certain position, and not just try to like stick with it too long and like finding that balance of knowing when it's time to just be like, this is just not working and we're going to either make a move or move on.
Phil: [00:17:32] That's absolutely right. Whether it's a virus, whether it's it's just not the right position. you know, you just, we tried that it did not work. we've all seen that on our teams. We've seen it maybe with ourselves, we've seen it in Premier League level down to, my kids, U-6. So, I want you to just talk a little bit about now to what position you played when you were playing and really what you learned from that and how you're actually using what you learned from that today in your leadership.
Rick: [00:17:59] So I was definitely one of those people that got moved back over time.
and ultimately, probably by about. ninth grade or so, both on club and playing at the high school level was a center back. I did play left back interestingly, now that you're bringing that up for our high school team, because we had a center back, senior when I was a freshmen, but pretty much moved into that center back across the board and, Now, I mean, I just have such an affinity for that position.
and a lot of times will argue. I think it's the best. And one of the most important roles on the team, everybody will make that argument of course, for their position. But you know what I appreciated about that then, and this is just who I was as a player. I wasn't the guy I realized pretty quickly, the turn and distribute, great center mid, or attacking mid, that takes a certain level of.
Of ability, vision, all kinds of, different skills and talents, right. But that center back, what I loved about it is you could see everything. And I still think about that a lot, that vision. And I think about where I sit here in my role at Georgia Tech as well. in universities, and this is probably true in a lot of companies too, it's easy to get siloed.
And one thing I do love about admission is it touches everything. It touches politics, it touches the money, it touches the student life. It touches, people outside of here, parents and students, high schools. And K-12. In a lot of ways, it is very much the hub of the wheel. And I've always liked, being in the mix.
So being in the center, but also having the vision out of. If we do something here at Georgia tech, like what are the positive implications or potential negative implications with our state legislator? how are our alumni going to respond if we make this decision or if we don't meet this goal or whatever.
So in a lot of ways, I think that's something that translates a lot for me. Is this idea of wanting to have that type of vision. The other thing I would say is, when you're the last man back. you just, you feel a ton of responsibility. and, I feel like I had to be reminded a lot.
And I say this a lot of times to the kids I've coached is, you know what, they'd be, nine others to get to you. But that's not how you feel. And nor is it, should I think a good center back never feels that way is it is my responsibility. I'm the last one back. If they beat me, this isn't going to go well.
And, I think about that a lot. we're doing this interview on a Friday afternoon. I've let everybody else go. And I try to do that a lot. Everybody else is gone. Go enjoy your weekend. I'm just going to stay here and hold it down. On holidays. The last day before holidays, we, I, in this building, we have about 200 people employed and I usually volunteer to work at the front desk for that last half of the day. Everybody else's is gone. And I'm not saying you have to play that position to have that mentality. But I do think that translates a lot as being okay with being alone. Being okay with being the one to hold it down. And then it very much translates to the work I do here because we, if we enroll too many people then we're going to have problems in terms of, not being able to feed them all, housed them all, teach them all. And so this idea of protecting and helping to meet goals and keep things in check and in balance. Is absolutely a huge part of what I do. Yeah, man, that center back role I have obviously a big affinity for it, but I do think it really does translate a lot to just the way I see life, to be honest with you and definitely my work.
Phil: [00:21:27] And I think that both the keeper center back, one of those two roles on a team depending, and I was a keeper and I played that too. Like you said, you'd be able to see the whole field, really the field general, depending on the team.
Sometimes the keeper plays that role. Sometimes the center back, depending on the personalities, more than anything usually. But, that really is the ability to really be that helping the team to be jelled as well. And a lot of times, what you also see is you don't get that acclaim really.
And I think the role you're in now doesn't get a lot of acclaim either, right? You're just doing that developmental work that if you're not doing that, the school will fall apart. Sure. But most people don't see it that way in the center back. I think it's changing a bit now. And if you're in the know, and you've got Virgil van Dyk, you got, Harry Maguire getting a big contract, you've got all these center backs who are now being more known.
But I think that still they're not getting the Ballon d'Or, usually, right. sometimes they're up for it, but rarely, usually it's the attackers and the wingers, And I think that's a lot of the world to the way the world works. The developmental work doesn't get that acclaim as the all-star, but when it really comes, when push comes to shove, it is the foundation.
It is the core. And if you talk to a lot of coaches, they'll say I start my team with a keeper and a center back. Alex Ferguson. He said he built his teams around his center backs. And I think organizations have their center backs that are those core people that you are making sure are solid.
That aren't necessarily going to be the rockstar salesmen or the rockstar out there doing whatever. What do you think about that?
Rick: [00:23:10] I think that's spot on for sure. And as you're also saying that about kind of vision and just getting things done. The other thing is you don't find very successful, quiet center backs or keepers for that matter.
Not only do they see the field, they have to say what they see and they have to direct right. And be willing to call people out, be willing to help, make sure they're organizing things. and that's another thing I would say is, just that communication.
I, enjoy that part of my work as well. Being able to tell our story, tell the Georgia Tech story broadly and publicly. But also within my own team, thinking about like I had a, there was a president I worked for who said, 95% of problems are communication problems and 5% or special communication problems.
And there's a lot of that on a team, right? And there's a lot of that within coaches to players and players among themselves and, healthy players and healthy teams and healthy coach player relationships start with communication. being able to be honest with one another, hear that criticism, say what your expectations are, all of that.
And, I think, again, it's not like you've got necessarily quiet center mids or something, but. That center backs got to talk, man. And they got to call out what they see and expect everybody to contribute and hold people at a higher level. That accountability, right? that's a keeper's too.
but that with vision comes to the necessity for communication.
Phil: [00:24:36] I brought up keepers. You don't need to keep talking about keepers. That's okay. That was, that was just me bringing it up. I felt left out of the conversation. I wanted to bring myself in, but your center back, you can talk to them about that's cool.
It's okay. It's okay.
Rick: [00:24:48] So this is probably why you and I are friends because there's always a special relationship between center back and keepers.
Phil: [00:24:54] That is true. That is true. And I've had many and I actually, I, you say that like this rush of memories goes through my head of all the great center backs I was able to play with.
but yeah, you watch that too though. you can see that you can see those relationships being center backs and keepers and, the best teams have those best. They're just jelled. they're just a rock back there,
Rick: [00:25:15] And on the communication side and the vision side, I've started to like, pause and slow down because, with kids, coaching kids, teaching them to talk on the field is such a huge thing, cause that it can be so quiet out there on those youth fields sometimes. And so, you know,
Phil: [00:25:31] except for the parents on the side that we're not quiet.
Rick: [00:25:34] I mean, on the field, the parents on the field, that's a whole different podcast. That's a whole different podcast. But, I think of course COVID has changed this a little bit, which in a way is kind of cool, like watching the the MLS
cup where it was quiet. And you heard them talking. I think for kids that was a great instruction point, but normal world I've started to pause it because otherwise the crowd just drowns all the talking out and actually show my son when you can see these guys talking. And that's key to say is Hey man, they don't know each other so well that they're just going to all work in harmony and rhythm here.
They are constantly talking. Constantly, and that's true within a healthy work environment, too. Right? that communication piece.
Phil: [00:26:19] Absolutely. So, we talked talk about the players on the field. We talk about the center back, the keeper, that relationship, the key roles the differences of the different positions and really what that has to do with leadership.
But there's also these players, these people. And there's sometimes they're not even players. Sometimes they're the kit man. Sometimes they're the, different people on the staff of the coaching staff or other people that are the reserves or whatever, but you have these people that are really not seen but there's still a key players on the team. So can you speak to that really? The players that aren't necessarily making the big impact on the field aren't in front of the camera. aren't, getting on the stat sheet, but how they can contribute
and how you as a leader can encourage that.
And make sure they understand that and spur them on to their best.
Rick: [00:27:06] Yeah, I think that's where, one of the things that actually is written up on my whiteboard right now is celebrate your wins. And man, as individuals, as families, as teams, in the workplace, we have got to do that because maybe the pandemics helped us to hit pause on life a little bit
and slow down. I feel like things have gotten back into fast-forward mode, but, we don't do that very well usually. It's always the next thing. And maybe that's a little bit of an American culture thing too, but it's like, what's next, either whatever you achieve what's next or just.
Today is over what's next. And I think, especially as you mentioned, those people who may not get the stat line and they may not get the interview after the game kind of kid or player, man, we've got to bring them into the bigger celebration of the team victory. And that is something I feel like we have done very well here at Georgia Tech is because enrollment is constant.
It's one term after the next. literally kids show up here and we're like, okay, they're not just numbers on a spreadsheet anymore. We got them. Money's in the bank, they're showing up to class check, move on. And that just is life in general, too. It's sports. It's soccer, Is like you win the game or you don't, but it's whatever's next.
Whatever's next. And I think, man, we have got to celebrate our wins and just hit pause and bring everybody in to that. And like you said, you actually brought up some really good examples. Like the guy that's cleaning the jerseys in the locker room. We got to bring more people into the fold and celebrate the fact that none of that stuff happens without everybody playing their part, whether they're on the field or supporting the team on the field. like we have something here, we call them campus partners and we talk a lot about how recruitment and enrollment is not just an admission job.
There's lots of concentric circles. And so we always have, not during the pandemic, but normally once kids show up, we'll have a big party basically. And we'll invite all these people and talk about how they all contributed to this win. So celebrate your wins.
Phil: [00:29:14] The other thing about it though, is I think that we often get different perspectives from these different people. Right. my daughter has been playing soccer up at Trinity Western University. Shout out to TWU up in Langley, British Columbia. If you're looking for a great school, it is a great one.
so is Georgia Tech, But she was hurt. She's been hurt the last year, for a year mystery injury, random. And I told her, what a great time to watch your position, to watch your team, to understand the culture, to understand everything about this. You will never have this perspective.
Well, hopefully you won't have this perspective again. To be able to see how you can improve. To be able to watch these other players and pick up different things. when you're playing, when you're training, you don't have the perspective from that forest view. And the same thing goes, I think a lot of times for organizations, when you're in certain roles during lulls, maybe, or during whatever, or you might have a time to be able to see things differently, And how do you capture that and how do you in your organization capture that when people are maybe going through these different things that may not seem on the surface to be great things in their lives?
Rick: [00:30:26] I feel like sometimes as coaches, we've got to tell cause when you get hurt, man, It's not just the missing of games and all that, but he started to question life in general when you're hurt and you can't be part of the team, especially if that's not something you've experienced much before. I feel like when I've tried to tell my own son and definitely, players that have, that I've coached is injuries are a blessing.
because like you said, you get to pull back and get out of the mix a little bit. And, I actually have a book here. It's a picture book. but we have a little like library in our office and it's a book called zoom. I don't know. It's like a little kid's book basically, but it starts out with, a picture, on a farm.
And it pans out on the next page and then you see that's like a stamp and then you pan out and you see that's on a letter and you pan out and you just, every page you pull, you just see how there's a bigger and bigger scene going on, and it's a powerful book, I think in a lot of ways, and I think for a player, that's kind of what an injury is.
Because you have been in the mix and no matter where you are in the field, you really aren't going to totally see it all and relationships with your other players, relationships with your coach, all that changes, when you get hurt. And so I just think, we have to try to change their mentality a little bit.
And like you said, embrace. That moment, and sometimes longer than expected or longer than anticipated moments, to say, what can you learn during this time? how can you change your vision? And I think as leaders, as coaches, as parents, man, we have got to escape our immediate situation.
as a parent, especially you get. You gotta sometimes just put, hold on, whatever the discipline is, whatever the problem is, whatever the tension is and pull back and, see it and seek out advice and insight from other people, which is part of why. I think it's so awesome that you're doing this podcast, man, because the more people's voices we can hear and perspective we can get, we're always going to pick up something.
Phil: [00:32:26] I think this is my fifth interview for the podcast so far. I don't know when it's going to release, but I'm doing it fifth and I'm like writing notes and all these interviews and learning and stuff. I've already picked up a couple of things that I'm going to implement immediately into my family and my parenting.
and my kids hopefully will think I'm a better dad from it. Yeah. They'll never tell me until they're older, but that's okay. so on that note, I think that's a great segue into, not quite the last, question, but, something I like to ask, and this is where I'm getting a lot of the nuggets
I think that are cool. And I think are, I think people listening are already probably. Looking forward to this question, but how do you incorporate really lessons you've learned in soccer? You've talked about a couple already, but I'm sure you have more that you haven't said yet, but what you've learned in soccer into your marriage, into your parenting, in your home.
Rick: [00:33:19] I think one of them is, yeah, I guess I did hit on this earlier, but, even when we were talking about this, in preparation, but also just oftentimes I've written this down is like finding that combination of humility and understanding kind of where your skills are and how, you quote unquote fit in, but also, always having that vision and being surrounded by and intentionally, surrounded by people that are just a little better or, have had just a little more exposure to something. And that's that refusal for the status quo. And I feel like, good soccer players or people that just love the game, even if maybe they're not the most talented, they are just not content with where they are.
They just always want to be better. They understand. And they're, self-aware. Of maybe some limitations. Okay. I'm not the fastest. I don't have the best touch or the best, moves on this team, but I can get better and I'm going to surround myself with people that can, I know something you told me that you talked to your kids about is this idea of retaliation always gets the red.
and I love that and it's so true, man. And I was like, God, do I have anything that I say like that? And the one thing that I do say over and over to my kids is touch the line. And this is more of a warmup thing. But when you're running suicides or it's kind of like play to the whistle, it's the same idea, right?
the ball's not out, even if the ball is out, it's still not dead until the referee blows the whistle. But I say touch the line a lot, because I think about warmups and how you can tell so much about a kid. A player based on how they warm up. when you turn your back, are they going all the way to the line or not?
And when it's the last one and they know it's the last one, cause you said we're doing 10. Are they still going all the way to the line or not? And I say that with my kids a lot. My daughter today literally like she's nine. She got her shirt out of the living room, which is the letter of the law.
But it was like to the landing of the stairs. And I literally turned around and said touch the line and she knows now what that means, which is get that thing back into your closet, man. Go all the way. I believe that's how I try to live, is even when no one else is around here, touch the line, man.
Phil: [00:35:29] I love that, man. That's integrity. I mean, that's, integrity stuff, and that's another great thing that I'm going to use. hopefully, I'll use it in something I'm just going to say it to somebody today and see what happens. But that's such a great point.
And it goes back to that idea of you, you play like you practice, and everything you do that integrity and what you do. And it will become muscle memory. Whether you're not touching the line or whether you're touching the line, whether you're cutting that corner or not cutting that corner. If you cut the corners in your warmup, you're going to cut the corner in the game.
If you cut the corner in the game, you're probably going to cut the corner in life and that will bite you in the butt at some point. And sometimes more obvious than not,
Phil: [00:36:08] I it's fantastic.
Rick: [00:36:09] I went back to help my high school coach, for a year or two. when I first moved back here to Atlanta and I remember how sometimes the worst thing that would happen is he we get so pissed and he would be so disappointed with us in the way that we would practicing, that he would just leave. Right. He would just literally just walk off the field and this didn't happen. It was probably in my four years, playing for him, happened, like, let's say three times in my memory, it happens, a lot more.
But it probably happens sometimes. And I remember one day we were at practice and, I told him, I this is a walk-off. This is a walk-off moment. These guys are not putting in the work, man. We just got to walk off and he said, but that's the difference between this team?
And that team is no one else will continue to run practice. Because when he left, when we were there, it was like, we felt that his disappointment was our shame, and I think that's another sign of, good teams, right. Is. as you said, when no one else is looking are you putting in that work?
You practice, like you play. And even when the coach isn't there, in fact, even, especially right now, how are you conducting yourselves? And do you have the right people there to coach and captain when you're not?
Phil: [00:37:18] And I will just say if you're a player listening in on this. As a coach, as someone who's played as a dad, as a, president of an organization, people are watching.
When, even when you don't think they are, people are watching and at the end of the day, you're watching yourself. So, your character will shine through. And if your character is built in these little things, so that's fantastic stuff. All right, man, as we're drawing this to a close, I always get so bummed at the end of great interviews, which this absolutely is one, And they're great interviews by the way, or because of the guest, not the interviewer just to be clear.
and, we asked this question and you've already mentioned a book, the zoom book, the picture book, which I'm going to check out for sure. But, what have you read listened to, or watched that has impacted your thinking about leadership or soccer or ideally the intersection of soccer, life, and leadership,
Rick: [00:38:13] I'll tell you, and maybe this is a bit of a stretch on connecting them all, but the one I read recently was, The Road Back to You by Ian Cron. It's actually about the Enneagram. and man, I just, I feel like for me as a boss and also as a father and as a coach, man, like just that idea that we are all made differently and the way we're made is beautiful. Right?
And the way we're made is complimentary. And it's not trying to force someone to be something they're not, but like good coaches, I think, understand who players are, what motivates them. what, they're going to get fired up about how we talk with them, how we push them.
Right. And as a father, too, man, just taking the time to understand our kids and think deeply about that. is probably one of the best ways that we can love them. And obviously same with our spouses. without a doubt. So I think knowing ourselves, which is really what the book's about.
But then extrapolating that out to the people in our lives. and certainly our teammates, our coaches or players, the more we can understand ourselves and be self-aware, and then also love people enough by understanding really who they are and how they're made. that's just going to be a recipe for success across the board.
Phil: [00:39:29] I don't think that's a stretch at all. I've talked about this already on the podcast. We use the DISC model of human behavior. I'm a consultant on that and certified in that. And we used it with my high school soccer team and. it's transformational, it's stuff that if you understand yourself and you understand others, you will be a much healthier team, whether that's a organization, a business, a for-profit, and non-profit a family, a soccer team, or any other team.
a musical, I don't care what you are. You're going to work better together when you understand each other and, you actually grow to care about and love each other. So, absolutely agree with that. And I just want to thank you again for taking the time to be on the show, to share your wisdom, to share what you're doing.
I know you're as you said, the games continue your off season is really non-existent. It's kinda like the COVID year where you don't really have an off season. And, it's something that, very much appreciate your time and appreciate our friendship. And I appreciate, how you're really thinking about these things and applying them.
I have no doubt that people that work for you, and with you appreciate that, greatly. So thanks a lot, Rick.
Rick: [00:40:31] Absolutely. Phil, man. Thanks for having me.
Phil: [00:40:34] Well, thank you folks out there again. Thanks for the download. Again, as we said at the beginning of the show, go ahead and subscribe to this show.
If you have not and share it with your friends, I have no doubt that they'll learn from what Rick was sharing with us today. I know I learned a lot from it. if nothing else touch the line folks, and I think that's something to remember that as you're going through your days, For the rest of today for the rest of your life.
And I do hope and pray that you take all that you're learning from this episode and from all the rest of these episodes that you're taking it, you're learning, how you can apply what you're learning from the beautiful game, into every area of your life and in every area of your leadership. Thanks a lot.
Have a great week.