Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A glimpse into the life of . . .


I met Shea about 10 years ago while playing soccer in high school. He was attending Jamestown College and joined us as an assistant coach. I loved playing soccer more than anything else but didn't exactly display the best attitude or behavior at times (if you can even imagine). But he was always so patient and kind, firm when necessary and always overflowing with an insane amount of knowledge.

When I sent him a Facebook message to ask if he'd answer some questions for this fun, little blog of mine, I saw that the last message I sent him was from five years ago when I asked if I could feature him in a special edition story I was working on for The Jamestown Sun. He always sticks out in my mind when I think of interesting people to write about or talk to because of the passion he has for soccer. I swear he knows absolutely everything about the sport, and his love for it was very inspiring as a player and still is today just as someone who appreciates a passionate soul.

For Shea, life has always been about soccer. As he says, "I started playing when I was a little tyke and haven't had a break from soccer since." He grew up in Washington and started coaching competitive youth teams at age 16. When he moved to Jamestown for school, he assisted the women's team as well as our girls' team at the high school. He was soon after hired as the head coach for the boys' team and then also for the girls. In 2009 he was hired as the assistant director of coaching for Red River Soccer in Fargo, which eventually merged into Tri-City Soccer. In 2012 he was hired into his current position: technical director for the North Dakota Soccer Association.
Current job: I am currently the technical director for North Dakota Soccer Association.

Dream job: I am not sure. I like educating coaches and players. I am currently doing that so I am not sure there is anything else. Maybe in another beautiful country.

First job ever: When I was 17 I was hired as an assistant manager at an indoor soccer center.

First "grown-up" job: I think my first job was pretty grown up. I believe every job is grown up.

What draws you to soccer? The creativity and lack of structure needed to develop. Soccer is really a player's sport. They make the decisions and there are many right ones and wrong ones in any particular circumstance. Players are given creative authority over those decisions.

What is your favorite part of your job? Being around the kids that are enthusiastic about learning.

What is the most challenging aspect? The every day struggles of education. Generally, people don't like change and trying to get everyone on the same page is tough sometimes.

What is it like to transform from player to coach? It's difficult. . . but easy? You understand where the players are coming from and where they are going, so you can relate more with them so soccer becomes important. It is also difficult in the same way, as you have to understand how people that didn't grow up with soccer or in a culture of soccer just don't understand some things. That is why education becomes so important.


What advice do you have for someone pursuing a similar career path? Watch and learn from other coaches.

What age group is your favorite to coach and why? I really like nine and 10-year-olds. They are just big sponges and it is all about developing skill at that age. The oldest ages are fun because the game gets more tactical and you can play a little bit of a role in the outcome.

When you are 50, what do you want to be able to say when you look back at this moment in your life? I just want to look back and know that I had a positive effect on children's lives.

How do you define success?  I copy John Wooden on this one. "Success is knowing you did the best to become the best that you are capable of becoming."

Who has been your biggest influence, personally or professionally, and why?  There isn't a specific someone besides my parents, of course. I have many coaching influences, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

What hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time?  Anything to wind down a bit: golf, the lake cabin, watching soccer, travel.

Number one on your bucket list: Go to the World Cup.

Favorite ice cream flavor: I am not a big ice cream guy (aka crazy) ... chocolate probably. My mom and I used to go to the grocery store and get chocolate ice cream and a movie to watch so it has some meaning as well.

Thank you, Shea!

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