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Coaches Column

The Coaches Column

The Coaches Column are writings contributed by Michael Parker, Director of Coaching (DOC) for AYSO United Alabama. He has been volunteering with AYSO United since 2015. Michael has 20+ years coaching experience through other volunteer positions and entities as well. They are:

  • Head Soccer Coach, Child & Youth Soccer (CYS), Fort Leonard Wood, MO - 2012 - 2015
  • Head Soccer Coach, AYSO Region 498, Madison, AL - 2009 - 2012
  • Head Soccer Coach Child & Youth Soccer (CYS), Ft. Leavenworth, KS - 2006 - 2009
  • Head Soccer Coach, Child & Youth Soccer (CYS), Fort Riley, KS - 2003 - 2006
  • Head Soccer Coach, Child & Youth Soccer (CYS), Fort Lewis, WA - 1999 - 2003
  • Varsity Assistant Soccer Coach, Lewis Palmer High School, Monument, CO - 1997 n- 1999

Michael has had other volunteer positions besides coaching. Prior to volunteering with AYSO United, he served on the AYSO Region 498 board as Child Volunteer Protection Advocate (CVPA), Assistant Coach Administrator, Safety Director, and 19U Division Coordinator. 

Michael holds several soccer qualifications such as a National D License, Accredited Interscholastic Coach (NFHS)(AHSAA), AYSO Advanced Coach, AYSO Regional Referee, Goalkeeping LV1, and a Director of Coaching Diploma. He is scheduled to receive his National C License in October 2020. 

Coaching Philosophy

Coach Parker's Philosophy

Players learn the most by playing. I am here to develop players in practice and games. I am looking for players  to positively contribute to the success of the team as a whole. I will constantly be looking to help the players understand that I will know them by their actions before, during and after practice, and by their preparation and attitude leading up to the games. The game each week is a simple measuring stick from one week to the next to examine our development as a team and as individuals. Some of the traits I am looking for include: technical skills (passing, dribbling, etc.), positive attitude, courage, respect for themselves and the game, composed thinking, preparedness, creativity, understanding of player role, coachability and fitness. 

I aim to create an environment in which my players feel safe and comfortable to explore the game at their own pace. In practice or games, I give guidance to players. However, I avoid simply giving them the answer. I allow players to learn from their mistakes. Sometimes it's done by not saying anything at all, while other times I will ask them to walk me through their thought process. I understand that all player learn in different ways. I appreciate that players are at varying levels cognitively, physically and emotionally. Taking this into account, I create an environment that provides structure, but -- more importantly -- provides space for exploration. I try to focus on the player's effort and praise positive behavior, not just the end result. Ultimately, this way, players are more engaged, more excited and have a blast as they learn. I try to build vital character traits -- self-esteem, effort, perseverance, mental toughness, decision-making, teamwork, etc. -- whilst improving their knowledge of the game. So we are not just creating good quality soccer players, we are building well-rounded young people. 

I will ensure a safe and enjoyable environment to play soccer and for players to have fun while doing so. The objective of the game is to have fun -- but fun within the context of playing at a very competitive level of soccer. From a development perspective, winning must be accomplished through good training, teamwork and intensity. My development philosophy includes the development of the complete player -- which includes their level of intensity and willingness to truly play a contact sport and be willing to accept the physical demands of the games, as well as the development of the fundamental skills required to execute in the game. The fundamentals of the game are too often overlooked. I expect players to set goals and we will work towards achieving them together. Soccer is ultimately a team sport and at the highest levels, team chemistry is critical to success. There is much to be learned through teamwork. My job is to develop players because any system, tactic or team is only good as the individual players within it. 

"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice,
and most of all, love of what you are doing"  ~ Pele

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