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As a College Coach,
What do I Look for?
By Schellas Hyndman
Head Men's Soccer Coach,
Southern Methodist University

On the surface, the answer is easy: I want the best players! Good players give you the chance to win championships. Good players are complete players who do all the necessary things required from a soccer player...

  1. They have good techniques, passing, shooting, dribbling, etc.
  2. They have a good understanding of tactics
  3. They know how and do play on both sides of the ball
  4. They make good decisions and think before they get the ball
  5. They have good athletic qualities, speed, strength, etc.
  6. They have good skills, not the same as technique

As college coaches, we are all looking for players with such qualities. However, it really goes deeper than this. The two areas that I find extremely important between a potential college starter and a potential All-American are: Commitment and Competitior.

  1. Commitment
    Does he play soccer or is he a soccer player? For example, he only plays or thinks soccer at practices and games! Without commitment, you will enjoy your sport and may even be good at it, but you will never be great at it. Of course, commitment comes with a price tag that is paid by you! Nothing worthwhile comes without effort. No pain, no gain. The price of commitment comes in terms of things like sore muscles, cuts, bruises, delicious foods that must be passed by, rearranging schedules, fatigue and disappointments.

    Commitment is not easy; it carries with it no guarantees!!! The only thing it promises you is pain and hard work. But if you want to be great, it's the only path to take. Are you committed to being a 12-month soccer player? The excuses are never-ending sometimes. Remember, when you're not practicing, someone else will be!

  2. Competitor
    What is a competitor? Someone who stands out from the rest; he never gives up. The game is important, every game, whether it's a scrimmage or the championship game. He gives 100% all the time. He doesn't get discouraged when he makes a mistakehe keeps coming back harder. He handles his mistakes, mistakes don't handle him. He sees mistakes as a learning experience.

    A competitor is someone who is really consistent. No relaxing during the game. He is always in the game 100% both physically and mentally. Consistency is his trademark. From the beginning to the end of the game, he is very valuable to the team. He makes things happen. His teammates play better because of him. His enthusiasm and dedication becomes contagiousothers follow his example. He makes a difference; he turns defeat into victory!

    A competitor is always on the attack. He leads, he doesn't stay back and watch or hope that things happen. He plays aggressively; not out of control, but his physical conditioning and training serve him well when he goes forward and makes things happen, even in the closing minutes of a game. Sometimes a competitor is hard to understand. He may be the best player, but he never seems to be satisfied with his performance. He is always working to make improvements.

    A true competitor will be the one you see on the pratice field, in the weight room, in the gym working as hard as possible--even after others have stopped. He wants to be the best! He just won't stop. He's more interested in winning than anything else! He is willing to pay the price, and put in hours and hours of hard work. He excels in games because he knows he can. You see he's put in the time, and has paid the price. Soccer is a priority in his life and winning is important.


Remember, there are three types of players:

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