My Coaching Philosophy


After five years of coaching, it was about time I wrote down my PHILOSOPHY. But I needed help putting it into words and that help came from Tony Dicicco and Dr. Colleen Hacker*.

  1. Play Hard, Play to Win, Have Fun. Another way to say this is, “winning isn’t everything, but it’s more fun than losing; let’s play to win.”
  2. Better Together. Soccer is a team sport, not a star sport. Every player—from the weakest to the strongest—is better because she’s on a team. We will win or lose as a team.
  3. Vulnerable, Humble Coaching. I’m learning, too, and want to learn from the girls – their skills, what they see on the pitch…even about life. I want them to know they have a voice worth being heard.
  4. Validate Their Feelings. These girls are in a significant time of change in soccer and life. Their emotions are as important to me as their skills.
  5. Challenge. I want each girl to face and conquer a challenge, to do something she didn’t think she could do.
  6. Perfection Isn’t the Goal. I want players to understand what they’re supposed to do and work at doing it so that it’s natural in a game. (Dicicco calls this “imprinting.”) Understanding is the goal, not perfect execution.
  7. One Size Doesn’t Fit All. I have three kids (two daughters), and none is like another. I won’t expect any girl on my team to be like any other, and I’ll try not to treat them as if they were all the same.
  8. Be Prepared. I want the girls to be prepared for virtually any situation they’ll encounter on a soccer pitch, from throw ins to penalty kicks to blowout scores. This mental preparation is harder than any skill training – and a good life lesson.

In addition, three PRIORITIES guide my coaching:

  • Safety – on and off the pitch, my players’ safety is my top priority.
  • Fun – regardless of whether she ever plays soccer again, I want each girl to have fun.
  • Soccer – there’s a reason it is the world sport: anyone can play, and all you need is a ball.


*Dicicco and Hacker were Head Coach and Sport Psychology Consultant, respectively, to the 1996 Olympic Gold Medal and 1999 World Cup Champion U.S. Women’s Soccer Teams. These principles were discussed in chapter 1 of their book, Catch Them Being Good, published in 2002 by Penguin Books. Some of the titles I have used verbatim or nearly so; some I have put in my own words.