Stephen Myles, Technical Director at Murietta Surf SC, spent two seasons as assistant coach with New England Revolution
Youth Soccer News: Up Close with Murrieta Surf SC Technical Director Stephen Myles
Far above the norm, Stephen Myles has impeccable qualifications and remarkable credentials. Myles takes up leadership at Murrieta Surf SC to help train potential USA soccer stars of tomorrow and reminds us all we should always be students of the game.
Steve Myles' career has taken him from the pitches of Sheffield, UK, to the fields of the New England Revolution and LA Galaxy in America. In March 2012 Myles joined Murrieta Surf SC as Technical Director.
The road to Murrieta Surf SC has been one of many twists and turns for Technical Director Stephen Myles. Beginning in his native England with the Sheffield United FC schoolboy program and then at Chesterfield FC in the late 1970s, Myles worked his way through the ranks to finish his career in 1993 back with Sheffield United as a non-contract player. Along the way he also played with Scarborough FC, Frickley Athletic FC and Boston United.
Even before his playing days were finished he had moved over to the coaching ranks, working with Coca Cola Soccer Skills Coaching and the Nike Soccer Camps in the UK. In 1991 he became an assistant coach with Frickley Athletic and the head coach of U14-U16 with Sheffield United. Eventually Myles was named Director of Academy for Sheffield United’s U9-U16 program.
Myles continued on with Sheffield United through 2000, leading the U18 team to the Premier Youth League championship twice and the Reserve Team to the Pontins League Cup title. In 1999-2000 he also worked with the Sheffield first team as an assistant caretaker coach. After a short stint as an Academy coach at Barnsley FC, Myles moved to America as the Director of Coaching for Tulsa Thunder SC in 2001.
Continuing his move through the coaching ranks, Myles became an assistant coach with the San Jose CyberRays of Women’s United Soccer (WUSA) for the 2003 season.
After the league folded he joined Santa Anita Soccer Club as Director of Coaching, and in 2005 Myles became Assistant Director of Coaching at the David Beckham Academy in Los Angeles. Eventually he moved on to be head coach of LA Galaxy U20 and then U16/U18 head coach with LA Galaxy Academy. In January 2010 Myles moved to the New England Revolution as an assistant coach under Steve Nicol until 2012.
In March 2012 Myles joined Murietta Surf SC as the club’s Technical Director. Recently SoccerNation editor Diane Scavuzzo spoke with Myles about his career and his views on soccer.
Diane Scavuzzo: Why did you decide to join Murrieta Surf SC as Technical Director?
Steve Myles: I was delighted to be able to join Murrieta Surf Soccer Club. The club is at a stage where its growth and development can be molded to how we want it. The President and the board are passionate and ambitious and want to build a top class youth soccer club that will be here for a long time, and I am grateful for the opportunity to help achieve this goal.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is your coaching philosophy?
Steve Myles: To keep the game and learning process as simple as possible. Learning to control the ball (first touch) and being able to pass the ball correctly and do them both consistently well are good habits to build your game on.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is the difference between coaching youth versus pro players?
Steve Myles: In respect to coaching youth, the focus is more on teaching and development and you get time to do this. When working with the pros, time for teaching and development is limited. Your job is to put a team together that can win games. It’s more about getting the right players and good man management; your job depends on this and results.
|Steve Myles (L) with Steve Nicol (R) during his tenure as Nicol's assistant coach at New England Revolution
Diane Scavuzzo: How do you motivate your players?
Steve Myles: If you have to motivate your players to play, you have a problem to start with.
Diane Scavuzzo: You have a UEFA ‘A’ License. How important is coaching education?
Steve Myles: I try to learn every day, either by reading or attending coaching seminars or advancing my knowledge on coaching courses and watching games.
The day you think you know everything you are finished.
Diane Scavuzzo: You have been a coach for nearly 20 years, most recently with the New England Revolution. What was it like coaching there?
Steve Myles: I thoroughly enjoyed working at New England Revolution with Steve Nicol, the players and staff.
Steve was honest from day one in that the team was going through a bad period.
Unfortunately, at the end of the day we did not have enough good players and we certainly did not have anywhere near the resources most other clubs had to change this.
All in all, it was a great experience and the limited resources made what Steve Nicol had done in previous years all the more remarkable.
Diane Scavuzzo: How did your own playing career begin?
Steve Myles: I had very little choice. I was kicking a ball about as soon as I could walk. I came from a family of professional footballers in Sheffield, UK.
I signed as an apprentice professional at age 15 at Chesterfield FC. I played for several clubs, including Scarborough FC, Frickley FC, and Boston United FC. I was also a non-contract player at Sheffield United FC.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is your favorite professional team to watch?
Steve Myles: Arsenal FC
Diane Scavuzzo: How important is it for youth players to watch professionals in action?
Steve Myles: Extremely important. They should watch the players in their position and see what they do. Whenever possible watch live games to see what the player does when he does not have the ball. TV does not show you that.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you believe players have to do to be successful if they have dreams of becoming a professional?
Steve Myles: Work harder than everybody else on all parts of your game and do not give up trying.
Diane Scavuzzo: What player attributes do you believe are the most important?
Steve Myles: I would say ability, self-belief, confidence, drive, ambition, a desire to succeed, determination and self discipline.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you believe needs to happen for American soccer players to be able to successfully compete on the world stage?
Steve Myles: The quality of the MLS domestic game has to continue to grow, as well as the development structure which leads to the professional game.
There is no doubt the USA can produce top quality players, and the national team has had some terrific performances against top opposition. Unfortunately, a lot of these players have had to go abroad to help and grow their level of performance.
Diane Scavuzzo: What coach and what player have inspired you the most?
Steve Myles: Arrigo Sacchi of AC Milan comes to mind, although it would be unfair to name just this coach as there has been numerous including head coaches I have worked with or coaches I have admired from afar.
As for soccer players, I saw Pele play live with Santos FC in Sheffield against Sheffield Wednesday FC and that was something I will never forget.
No, I can imagine most would never forget that experience!
Photos courtesy of Stephen Myles
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