My name is John Wilson, and I am a RCMP member for the Richmond detachment. I have been a community soccer coach for the past nine years. I enjoy coaching soccer — it is such a beautiful game. I have been coaching my two daughters Julia and Jenna in the Richmond Girls Soccer Association for nine years. My oldest daughter was six years old when she started playing – now, she will be playing in the U16 Richmond Selects this upcoming season. In 2006, Jenna began playing, too.
I became involved in community soccer coaching partially because my daughters had started to play. Most importantly, I began coaching because I love the game of soccer. I have never played soccer, though I was a rugby player in the past. I studied Physical Education in university and after I received my degree, I wanted to become a Physical Education teacher. I ended up changing my mind by going into policing.
My involvement as a coach has been a positive experience for me and it has benefited my family as well. We all enjoy being at the girls’ games every Sunday. I also chose to coach in order to have quality time with my lovely daughters. As I always like to joke, “I am a better soccer coach than I am a parent”. I am lucky that I have received positive responses from my daughters and that they like me as their soccer coach.
When I was co-coaching with Mr. Wilson as a hired professional coach for his U12 daughter’s team, I asked Julia if she ever gets fed up with her dad’s coaching. She replied, “Never! I always have fun at my father’s coaching sessions.”
Mr. Wilson’s coaching philosophy is work hard, have fun, and return next year. I have observed him coaching several times. He is enthusiastic and positive and enjoys doing drills with the players, and this shows in the number of players that return to his program every season.
“I have been fortunate to get almost ninety percent of my girls returning back each year,” he said. I agree with him; during my thirteen years of coaching soccer in Canada and the Vancouver West side, I have noticed that girls drop out of soccer programs exponentially more than boys do, which is remarkable if you are 12 years old. My analysis of this predicament is that girls (and boys as well) do not sufficiently develop skills and build passion for the game so that they enjoy every moment on the playing field and have fun.
While I was chatting with Mr. Wilson on the West Point Grey Secondary School turf, his daughter was playing an exhibition game against Surrey United. He was pleased that the Richmond Club had organized a spring academy that trained girls and would then take them to the Seattle Soccer Tournament in July. Mr. Wilson is happy with the increase of provincial soccer programs for girls and their development. Through local clubs and different programs, soccer is becoming a year round sport which will help children improve their game. I also believe that the more you play, the better you get, as the pros say.
Yelling at children from the sidelines while they are playing does not work as a coaching approach. Mr. Wilson is content that parents are no longer standing behind coaches and telling the coaches what to do or commanding their own child. The new rule is that parents go to the other side of the playing field or the bleachers. When my U11 Boys’ team went to play in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2009, two parents were yelling at their children and frustrating me, so I sent them to the opposite side of the field, which they did not appreciate. In my opinion, parents should spend more time observing a good coach to develop their own understandings of the game instead of yelling at children who lack expertise with the soccer ball.
JBST Soccer Magazine thanks Mr. John Wilson for his time, and we wish his daughters a prosperous fall season in soccer.