Coach in the Spotlight – Ashlie Pruitt

Coach in the Spotlight – Ashlie Pruitt

Coaching Profile

Club: Seattle United
Hometown: Des Moines, Washington
College: Seattle University
Occupation: Teacher

 

When and why did you start coaching?

I started coaching in 2010. I’ve always enjoyed working with children, which is why I’m a teacher by day. Being able to combine my love of teaching with my favorite sport was my main incentive to start coaching.

What do you enjoy most about coaching?

I sincerely enjoy the opportunity to share the game with my players and see them grow over time. There is nothing better than watching my girls try out new skills and then apply them in games. Every practice and game I get to see them do something they’ve never done before.

What do you like the least about coaching?

There is never enough time to do all that needs to be done. There are so many things I wish to share, but I always have to remind myself to slow down and meet my players where they’re at.

Do you have examples of something one of your coaches did that you have adopted as a coach? Or anything your former coaches did that you avoid?

I had many great coaches and trainers growing up. I think the biggest thing I learned from them and try to instill in my players is probably that practice makes improvement. A lot of kids want to be instantly good, but don’t understand that it takes hard work and a lot of it. I try to help my players learn that the more time they spend with the ball, the faster they will reach their goals.

What’s the biggest mistake youth coaches make?

I think one of the biggest mistakes youth coaches make is to focus on wins instead of development. I’ve seen a lot of youth teams who have won a lot of games because they rely on being bigger and stronger, but it seems to catch up with them once those teams get older and are lacking technique and understanding of the game. I’d much rather see my girls play soccer with skill and lose a game here and there than focusing only on knocking the ball furthest and running it down.

What were your favorite players growing up and which teams do you enjoy watching most now?

I definitely grew up watching our US women’s team. Mia Hamm, Brandy Chastain, Michelle Ackers, and all the other US women players were my idols growing up. Not only were they great soccer players, but they were great FEMALE soccer players. It was important for me to see women finding success in the sport when I was young.

Do you plan on attending any Women’s World Cup matches in Canada next summer?

I definitely plan on attending some Women’s World Cup games in Canada. It would be great to be able to take some of my players as well. This is a rare opportunity.

What’s your advice for coaches at the youngest ages?

My best advice for coaches at the youngest age is to teach the kids to love the game. A player won’t continue to play over time if they are not enjoying it.

If you had a magic wand, how would you use it to improve American youth soccer?

I would make good training more accessible to low income children. I think there are so many children out there with talent that never get the chance to show it because they simply cannot afford to play at a competitive level.