[U.S. SOCCER CENTENNIAL] In 1970, Manny Schellscheidt became the first coach to earn a U.S. Soccer coaching license. Schellscheidt, who coached at nearly all levels of the national team program, headed the U.S. U-14 boys national team program from 2000 through 2011. U.S. Soccer spoke with Schellscheidt as part of its 100th anniversary commemorations.
Schellscheidt received his A license at the USSF’s first licensing course from legendary German coach Dettmar Cramer. Schellscheidt went on to win national titles at the youth, pro and amateur levels.
On his coaching philosophy, Schellscheidt said:
“I believe the game has the power to teach itself and as coaches we are just facilitating the process. It comes down to kids getting a feel for the things that matter and then having the ability to bring the game to life. We just need to give them little problems to solve, but they still need to have a chance to do it their way.
”It’s better to ask questions than to give answers. It’s more important that we activate their minds to catch on to things and solve problems. In the end you can never really teach anybody; people teach themselves based on experimentation that is quite often hit and miss. The ones who have the ability to learn are the ones you hang on to, the ones you bring back.”
Schellscheidt's advice young coaches just starting out?
“They need to understand not to take themselves too seriously. Coaching is about making sure that the kids they are entrusted to have a great experience with the game and have fun. It’s about fun. I always say, it’s a game, it’s play. Play is essential to human development. Through play we find out who we are, what we’re made of, and what we like and don’t like.
“Often times I go to games and when I come back people ask me, well how’d it go? I use the expression ‘well they are very well coached’ but I don’t mean it as a compliment. The players can look so programmed and so stiff that they don’t respond naturally to the flow of the game anymore. So we should really measure success in coaching by how long it takes me before you don’t need me anymore.
“If I’m doing a good job, I’m putting myself out of a job. Every good team I’ve ever had, and there were a few of them, got taken over by the players that caught on to the principles of the game.”
Read the entire interview HERE