Soccer is not just a sport, it is a way of life for our Yorkshire, England native and Coach of the Week, Tom Butler. He is currently the Regional Operations Director for the North American Soccer Camps (a Weplay Partner!) as well as a coach for the Southeast Soccer Club U11 Boys. In a nutshell, Butler has been playing, watching, and living soccer (aka football) most of his life.
At the age of nine, Butler, signed with a local professional team after only four years of playing for his hometown team! He went on to represent the University of York, despite a leg injury at the age of eighteen, which unfortunately ended his professional career. It was while he was at the University that he developed a passion for coaching. After he graduated he decided to take his experience and love for coaching to the US.
For the past six years, Butler, has been living in Connecticut. He has coached players of all ages across New England while working with NASC. Not only has he coached at camps but in 2006, he was named NASC’s "New Coach of the Year". He also represented Major League Soccer at the 2010 Coca-Cola Soccer tournament in the Dominican Republic.
He enjoys being a member of the SSC coaching staff. His goal as a coach is to help kids love soccer just as much as he does by using these three coaching strategies.
Strength Based Coaching - Rather than focusing on a player's weaknesses, which is what many coaches do, use what they already know to take their skills to the next level.
Watch the Sport Outside of Your Own Team - One of the main differences, Butler, sees between players from the US and UK is that players overseas watch at least three professional games a week. He encourages his team to watch games because he feels it bridges the gap between what they learn and how it translates to the field. His current team also participates in a Fantasy Soccer League, which has given his players the opportunity to find role models within the sport.
Positive Reinforcement - In keeping with the NASC tradition, when a player does something positive they receive a physical form of reinforcement, a Green Card! It helps highlight positive behavior, whether it be in a game, during practice or anytime they are taking part in club festivities and gives them incentive to continue what they are doing.
For Butler, Weplay is an added value for his teams. Allowing player's to receive positive feedback before and after every event. The green card prop has also helped reinforce positive feedback and has become his teams favorite tool.
Congratulations again to our Coach of the Week, Tom Butler!
Do you look up to your coach like a role model? Nominate them for Weplay's Coach of the Week.