Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
'When you whisper' ... Reflections on a Hall of Fame coach
by Mike Woitalla, June 8th, 2011 4:24PM

MOST READ
TAGS:  men's national team, under-20 world cup, youth boys

MOST COMMENTED

By Mike Woitalla

U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame welcomed Bob Gansler last week.

He coached the USA when it qualified for the Italia '90, reaching the World Cup for the first time in 40 years. He won an A-League title in 1997 and an MLS title in 2000. But the 69-year-old Gansler, who now serves as a scout for the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, has deep roots in the youth game.

His start in coaching came when as a ninth-grader he made compensation for a gym window he broke by coaching a fifth-grade basketball team. While a college sophomore he coached a high school soccer team.

“The way I coached is I played along with them,” he explained in an interview with Charles F. Gardner in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal. “I was the best player, so they listened.”

In 1981, Gansler coached the first U.S. national team that qualified for the U-20 World Cup. In 1989, at the U-20 World Cup in Saudi Arabia, Gansler guided the USA to a fourth-place finish, which remains its best finish at that competition.

I was able to watch Gansler closely during the 20 days in Saudi Arabia and he made an important impression on me. This was in the Bobby Knight era when a popular school of coaching believed in the hard-ass, screaming, marine-sergeant approach.

In Gansler I saw a gentleman coach. A coach who believed respect from the players should be earned and not taken for granted.

Never in his long career did I see him scream at his players, abuse or even criticize referees – or hold a grudge against his critics.

He was proof that nice guys do not finish last and that high-volume isn’t the best way to convey a message.

“The louder you speak, the less you're heard,” Gansler once said. “When you're whispering, you've got their attention.”


(Mike Woitalla, the executive editor of Soccer America, coaches youth soccer for East Bay United in Oakland, Calif. His youth soccer articles are archived at YouthSoccerFun.com.)



0 comments
  1. Brent Crossland
    commented on: June 8, 2011 at 5:35 p.m.
    “The louder you speak, the less you're heard,” Probably 15 years ago I cut the subtitle of a magazine article out & stuck it on the bulletin board over my desk. Can't remember the magazine or the author, but's it's moved with me through three offices. It says "If you have to YELL to be heard, you probably don't have anything important to say."
  1. John Soares
    commented on: June 8, 2011 at 6:04 p.m.
    Good advise; Another take that, sat on my desk for 20+ years, don't remember who said it first. "If you want some one to listen... whisper"
  1. Jim Mcnamara
    commented on: June 8, 2011 at 9:06 p.m.
    Bob Gansler is awesome...I have sat in on teaching sessions as he trains players and coaches and he has provided a complete different approach in my style...I have also had the opportunity for him to come alongside me on the sideline and guide me...I can tell you, this is something I will never forget. He is a MAN above all others and his respect for those still learning to teach at his level is second to none. He is truly an icon and a hero where many do not even come close. Thank you Bob for all you have committed to the game of soccer and my life as a coach.
  1. B Arsenal
    commented on: June 9, 2011 at 11:57 a.m.
    I wish I knew him. He sounds like an amazing role model. My high school football coach was that type of a person but I was not fortunate enough to have such a great role model for soccer. You guys who knew him are truly blessed. I hope I'm lucky enough to meet him some day.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Youth Soccer Insider
A new cycle begins for U.S. U-20 men's national team    
Coach Tab Ramos, who in June guided the USA to a quarterfinal appearance at the 2015 ...
11 Tips for Coaching the Little Ones    
"I got recruited to coach my kid's soccer team. Any advice?"
Youth leaders react to change to soccer's registration cutoff date    
On Monday, U.S. Soccer announced to two initiatives that will be mandated by August 2017. One ...
U.S. Soccer mandates major changes, altering birth-year registration and standardizing small-sided format    
U.S. Soccer has mandated a significant alteration in how American soccer will be organized -- changing ...
'Former pros can bring wealth of knowledge to the youth game' (Chris Martinez Q&A)    
Colorado native Chris Martinez, who starred for the A-League's Colorado Foxes and MLS's Colorado Rapids, now ...
The Trophy Debate -- Give kids some credit     
I'm not a big fan of trophies. They tend to be gaudy and overpriced. At the ...
'Coaches cannot be set in their ways' (Luchi Gonzalez Q&A)    
After a seven-year professional playing career, Luchi Gonzalez launched a career in education -- he served ...
World Cup-bound U.S. U-17s prep with Czech Republic tourney    
For its first gathering since the draw for the 2015 U-17 World Cup, Coach Richie Williams ...
Consider the individual when planning practice    
It's that time of year in soccer when youth teams are kicking into a new season. ...
Why should you care about sports science?     
For most, it is accepted that injury in sport is a part of the game; a ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives