E M A G G N I V L O THE EV October 2018
Issue 46 Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Coaching Newsletter
Former Eastern Pennsylvania ODP and U.S. Women’s National Team keeper Nicole Barnhart is among the 21 NWSL players who will take the U.S. Soccer C License course as part of a partnership with U.S. Soccer. U.S. Soccer announced in late September that it would host a U.S. Soccer C License course for 21 NWSL players. The course is free to the participants and will take place over two weeks, September 30-October 7 and December 7-9 with an eight-week member program in between. “As the game continues to grow in the United States, we have a unique opportunity to develop the next generation of coaches from within NWSL,” said NWSL Managing Director Amanda Duffy in a press release from U.S. Soccer. “This is an exciting initiative that allows the League and U.S. Soccer to offer the C License Course specifically for NWSL players at the preeminent facilities of the Utah Royals FC.” “We need more women in coaching. Every sport, not just soccer. We need more female involvement in administrative decisions at any level,” added U.S. Women’s National Team coach Jill Ellis. “We know we are in the minority in terms of numbers, but I think if those [people] can connect, we can be a powerful group.” Among those who are taking the course is eastern Pennsylvania native and former ODP player Nicole Barnhart. Barnhart, a two-time Olympic gold medalist with the USWNT, is currently a goalkeeper with Utah Royals FC of the NWSL. For more information on the course visit USSoccer.com.
Inside: Karla Thompson US Soccer Educator
Inside: Teresa Rook Player & ODP Coach
Betty Ann Kempf Townsley Maddy Evans
MEET THE COACH
Betty Ann Kempf Townsley and Maddy Evans To w a r d t h e e n d o f h e r fi f t h professional season, and second with Orlando Pride of the National Women’s Soccer League, Maddy Evans took a leap of faith. The former Penn State standout decided to retire as a player and go into coaching, joining Betty Ann Kempf Townsley with the West Chester University Golden Rams. Now in their second season together, Betty Ann and Maddy sat down with the Evolving Game in the midst of yet another successful campaign (the Golden Rams are 7-1-1 overall, 6-1-1 in the PSAC as of this writing) to discuss a range of topics. Maddy, I know last year you were mulling this decision over, so what ultimately led you to take the job and step into coaching fulltime? Maddy Evans: Yeah, it was a really difficult decision. The ultimate deciding-factor was that I wanted to work with someone that I could learn from and grow from. I had a lot of conversations with family, friends and (Penn State women’s soccer coach) Erica Walsh just about trying to make this decision. I was ready. It was like I was standing on the edge of a diving board saying, “I need to jump. I need to jump.” Eventually I did. You know, you step into something like this, and there are a lot of unknowns. But I felt like I did my homework well enough about the program, about Betty Ann, about all of these things to know that I was coming into a really special environment. Betty Ann, how did this partnership come about? Betty Ann Kempf Townsley: Well, I knew Maddy as a youth player. I knew (Evans’ former FC Bucks coach) Eddie Leigh pretty well. I had watched her play. It’s funny, because we didn’t open up this position until July (2017). All these names were coming in. I would get these emails. And so I own a home in Orlando. My sister and I were going down for
vacation. And then, almost the first day we’re down there, I’m checking my email, I’m like, “Oh my God. Maddy Evans. I know that name.” And it’s funny because when I got to Orlando I had looked at the Orlando (Pride’s) roster, and I had seen Maddy’s name on there, and I thought, “Maybe I should go over for a game, but I’m here away from soccer.” So then when I saw her name, I opened up her resume, and it says, “Hi, my name is Maddy Evans, and I’m a professional player on the Orlando (Pride).” And I started laughing, and my sister asks, “What are you laughing about?” I said, oh God, this is just too weird. I said, “I’m going to text her right now, and see if she wants to get together.” I don’t if I even said who I was in the text, and (Maddy) said, “Is this coach Kempf?” It was so funny. Maddy: Well it was in Orlando about someone who was in Orlando, and it was a 215 number. Betty Ann: She came into town, and we just sat down at this outdoor café, and we just started talking. It was like we knew each other forever. It was too funny. I had coached Erica at ODP, so I had known Erica a long time, too, and I know Erica had told her a lot about me, so she had done her homework. But I said, “I need a coach now.” And I didn’t want to force her to make the decision to give up playing. Who wants to give up playing? I wouldn’t want her to give up playing. She said, “I have to think about this.” She said she was coming home, because there was a lull in the schedule. I told her I’d be at West Chester that Friday. If you want to come by, I could show you around, and we could talk some more. So she did. Again, we spent another maybe two hours together. After she left here, she pretty much said, “I’m prepared to make this change now, if
you want to hire me.” I had two more people to interview, and then I had a long conversation with Erica. Her and I talked a very long time. She goes, “Betty Ann, it’s a match made in heaven! You gotta take her.” It was just too funny. It was just the connection we all had. We’re all Philly people for the most part. Not only Philly people, but we all have great soccer backgrounds, but we’re all really solid people. I think you can find a lot of coaches in this game, and their whole life is just that. It’s just soccer. In all three of us, family is important. Our lives outside soccer are important. And really, what we’re trying to do here is not all about soccer. I mean Erica is the same way. It’s about the people who have helped us get to where we are today. I actually Google-mapped it, because I was curious. If you go from UGH to Lower Moreland (Erica’s alma mater) to Abington (Maddy’s alma mater), it’s pretty much a straight line of 10 miles. It’s like a little corridor… Betty Ann: Yeah, and the funny thing is, (John) Oberholtzer, who coached Erica in high school, he played with my brother and my father. And he did a little bit of coaching with (Maddy). I used to go train with my father’s team at Oberholtzer’s high school. And he knows every one of us as a player and as a person
MEET THE COACH
Betty Ann Kempf Townsley and Maddy Evans Maddy, you go from playing professionally alongside some of the best players in the world back to a college campus. When you accept the position and then you actually get on and start going through the preseason, what was that like? That transition? Maddy: I would say my first month after retiring was difficult e m o t i o n a l l y. I t h i n k I w a s struggling a little bit in coming to peace with the decision. I always knew I made the right one, but it didn’t make it easier in the actual transition. I’m very fortunate to have had someone who understands the love of the game as much as Betty Ann does. That made it a little easier. I think the hardest part for me was it was just so quick. I had finished a game, and then, about 10 hours later, I was in a car driving this way. Trying to give myself some time to process everything didn’t really happen until like the end of the season. I feel like I’m finally in a spot now, a whole year later, where I processed it all. So that took a lot of time. But it was neat, too, because I feel like if I had just cut it short and stepped away from the game completely, it would have been even more difficult. So this way I was still able to go out to training everyday with the players. Obviously it was a little different level, but it was still the game. It allowed me to keep (emotions) in check and take some of the sessions that I was just playing and implement them here. The biggest thing for me, and something that I struggled with while I was playing, was it was all
about soccer, and it had to be all about soccer in order to be your best and stay at that level. So I was kind of craving a bigger picture experience, and stepping onto a college campus gave that to me right away. When I was talking to Betty Ann, I said, listen, I’m interested in leadership. I’m interested in education. I understand I’m coming to a college campus, and those resources are available. Will you allow me to explore those things? Obviously I’m fully invested in the soccer program, and I want to be the best coach possible. But the way that Betty Ann runs the program, with those things in mind, leadership at the forefront, I was able to tap into those different interests, so that allowed me to really enjoy where I was at, and soak it all up. Betty Ann, from a technical aspect, how much patience did you have and how much did you allow for a transition period? Or was it something where she stepped in and it was good right away? Betty Ann: I’m not the kind of person that needs to be in control of everything. To me, each coach brings something different. Maddy, playing collegiately at a high level and then playing professionally and for different coaches, brings a whole set of new ideas. And so, you know, I’m letting her take it and run with it sometimes. I [!4 like ] more of the tactical side of the game and
reading players and positioning them. She’s really good with the technical aspect of the game. It’s just fresh, new ideas and experiences that she brings. And it’s so positive for the players. And Erica had said, “She’s one of the best young minds in the game.” Erica’s not one to be hyperbolic, so what goes into that? Betty Ann: Because Erica had her as a leader. (Maddy) was a leader on that team, and I think if you ask Erica, she did mention this to me, it was really Maddy that drove the team to get to a national championship game. When you have that kind of player, it’s almost like a coach on the field. She sees things other players don’t see. That’s where Erica identifies one of the great young coaches in the country. For sure.
MEET THE COACH Betty Ann Kempf Townsley and Maddy Evans Maddy, this program that Betty Ann has built, every year they’re going to the NCAA’s, they’re playing in really highss t a k e s g a m e s . Wa s t h a t intimidating to you, or did that make it easier? Maddy: It definitely made it easier. I always said if I’m going to be coaching I want to coach at a competitive level or help build a program to be competitive. In this situation, I was lucky I stepped into one that was already really competitive. I’m a very competitive person myself, so sometimes when I just want to step on the field, it’s because the team is so competitive. And I think it absolutely made it easier. I coached, before this in my offseason, I would coach at a college in Chicago and I was an assistant at MIT after that. I kind of got the taste of different levels and different divisions. This was my first experience of Division II. The fact that they can compete, and having such a great season last year, was the icing on the cake of my decision to coach. Betty Ann, have you seen a difference in the players, not to say it’s better or worse, in having someone who played so recently as a coach? Betty Ann: Oh, for sure. You know, they respect Maddy. They respect her word, her training, all the information. Plus it’s great she’s played with some of the best players in the world. And sometimes, you know, you just don’t know how players are going to react when you bring in a coach that has no recent playing experience. I think the fact that she’s come in here from a professional level and then just before that, playing at a high
collegiate level, and for all practical purposes she’s only about six years older than some of them, they can look at her and identify or aspire. I think what’s great is I can ask the kids to do things. But then she puts another stamp on it. So if you’re not going to listen to the old woman, then listen to the woman that’s just played recently. You know what I mean? That’s a great thing. How much of the mentorship do you think about as we think about female coaches in general? Because when you started, wasn’t it more or less someone gave you a bag of b a l l s a n d s a i d , “ Yo u ’ r e coaching”? Betty Ann: La Salle. La Salle. You’re starting a Division I program at La Salle Betty Ann: And I desired so much to be an assistant. Charlie Duccilli was coaching Rutgers, and he was looking for an assistant. I had applied for that job, and he went with somebody from New Jersey. He was a Pennsylvania guy. And I was so bummed, because I really wanted to learn, and I had known him since I was a little kid. And so, the whole La Salle thing came about, I was coaching Cardinal Dougherty High School just out of college, and Mr. Bill Wilkinson was the men’s coach (at La Salle), and was also from UGH, and when La Salle wanted to start a program, he walked in and said, “Listen, I’ve got the perfect person for you to start this.” I said, “Wilk, I don’t know anything about starting a college program.” He says, “You can do it. You can do it.” He played with Obie. He knew what kind of player I was, what I knew. I grew with the program. Everything [!5] I learned, I had to learn on my
own. I found my own way. It’s exciting for me to have someone like Maddy to be able to share my knowledge. At the same time, I’m learning from her, too. How many times have you done that with your players, who may have an inkling to coach, where you say, “Yes. Go do it.”? Betty Ann: Yeah, I have a bunch of girls all over the country coaching. There are some coaching in college that are head coaches. And then there are some locally that are coaching in high schools. They all love to do it. I remember girls at LaSalle used to say this to me after I was coaching there at least eight or so years, there was a group of girls that said, “You know, Betty Ann, we want to do what you’re doing when we’re older.” And I was like, uh, I don’t think you really want to do that. It’s not much money. I said, “You guys are different than I am.” They were like, “No, you seem to enjoy it, and you’re giving back. You’re around young people.” So now, I watch some of my players that are coaching, and it’s just not about soccer, which is great. They brought something more to it. Like we say, I think it’s more so with females. My goal is always to give these kids a great experience that they’re going to remember for the rest of their lives. That’s really the goal. At the end of the day, can you win a national championship? Can you win a conference championship? Chips have to fall for those things to align the right way. But if we can teach them something about who they are and find their way through college and prepare them for the future, things may happen.
MEET THE COACH Maddy, I’m sure you saw U.S. Soccer is hosting the C License in Utah for the 21 NWSL players. How important are things like that to see the federation and the league partner? Maddy: I was thrilled to see that. Admittedly, I was a little bitter, because I’m like, “Of course. They’re offering a C license course the year after I retire.” But, yeah, you need the support. While you’re playing professionally, there’s always…you have to be thinking about what’s next. It’s never a stable, “Oh, I’m here. I’m going to be doing this for a long time. I’ve been playing pro for h o w e v e r l o n g . ” I t ’s a l w a y s questioning. I ended up retiring in my fifth season, but I was still having those thoughts in my second season. Do I stop now? Do I move into coaching? To have those opportunities where you can give these players a chance to grow as a coach but still feel comfortable continuing their professional career instead of having that feeling of “oh, man, I’m playing, but I’m not going to be able to do X, Y and Z,” an opportunity like that, and support from bigger organizations, and recognizing there’s that need and that desire from the players is absolutely huge. While I’m bitter, I’m very excited. I think it’s going to be really fun and, obviously, if you can learn in any way possible from these coaching licenses, then I’m all for it. You grew up in the same area. A lot of your players seem to be coming from that Bucks County, Montgomery County area. What qualities do you see
Betty Ann Kempf Townsley and Maddy Evans in those players, or maybe you see in yourselves, that make for good soccer players? Betty Ann: I think the desire to compete is the big one for me. The fundamentals and the tactical side of the game, but I think that if you have that burning desire to compete and you want to learn, you’re going to get better. You have to be driven on your own. Our kids do a lot in the offseason. In the offseason, Maddy and I will do a lot of teaching more than anything. She’ll focus on technical stuff, and I’ll focus on tactical stuff. It’s those kids buying into what we’re doing. I think when you have success, and the next group comes in…I think it’s neat to see my upperclassmen, especially my seniors, talk to freshmen and say just wait till you get to training in the offseason. You’ll understand things so much better. They have become coaches themselves on the field, which is great. That’s ultimately what you want. You want your older kids to be able to mentor your younger kids. Maddy: That blue collar mentality. You see a little bit in our area. You say Betty Ann or Erica, and I think blue collar right away. Nothing’s given to them. It’s worked for and earned. I think that’s what makes this program and Penn State great is that blue c o l l a r m e n t a l i t y. I
think a lot of it comes from Philadelphia roots. We like to claim it at least.
Meet The Coach: Teresa Rook, Eastern Pennsylvania Olympic Development Program At what point did you realize you wanted to coach and who were some of the people who helped you with that decision? Teresa Rook: I only realized that I wanted to coach after I was done playing in college. I wanted to stay involved with the club I had played with in high school and it seemed like a natural transition. My dad had always coached me so he had good advice going forward with my coaching career. One female coach who had a fairly high profile playing career told us recently, “I feel like I owe it to young female players to continue to mentor them.” Do you share that sentiment? If so, how have you seen that play out coaching in ODP? TR: Absolutely! A lot of the reasons why I coach is to form those relationships. Obviously I love soccer and love sharing what I know, but I love helping to develop young ladies into soccer players that treat others with kindness, respect and sportsmanship. I have seen all my ODP players over the past three years grow as people and players. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned transitioning from a player to a coach? TR: Patience. Players make mistakes and I’ve learned to use those mistakes as positive growing experiences. I also make sure to have a balance of work and play. Soccer is a sport that is meant to be fun. I want to win and I want each player to grow but most of all the girls have to enjoy the journey.
Karla Thompson / Coach Educator/NDC Kansas City Karla Thompson is a coaching educator with U.S. Soccer. She’s been an important part of building the curriculum for the new coaching pathway and teaches the A-Youth and B Licenses at the U.S. Soccer National Development Center in Kansas City. “I teach, mentor and facilitate the candidates for the duration of the courses to help them meet the competencies of the respective license level,” she told the Evolving Game. Karla is currently creating a new format, content and evaluation for the C License that will be more in line the B and A License courses.
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