Coach in the Spotlight – Lance White

Coaching Profile

Club: Seattle United
Hometown: Edmonds, WA.
College: Ravensbourne College (UK)
Occupation: Soccer Coach


When and why did you start coaching?
I started coaching in 2001 when I began assisting a BU8 Rec. team. My decision to teach soccer was basically a ‘quality of life’ move; to devote my working hours to something that I was passionate about, something that was a big part of my culture.

What do you enjoy most about coaching?
I love sharing my love and passion for the game with young players. Teaching them new skills, encouraging them to watch and study the game, and most of all watching them develop their own love of the game for many years to come.

What do you like the least about coaching?
The cold and wet Seattle weather! (it’s just like London so I can’t really complain too much).

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?
A former High School coach that I worked with had very high behavioral standards for his students, and from that I expect my players to be “leaders in conduct and sportsmanship on and off the field “, to represent Seattle United in the best way possible.

What’s the biggest mistake youth coaches make?
A very common mistake that I see is “over-coaching” – not allowing players to think for themselves and learn from their own mistakes, thus they miss the opportunity to become natural problem-solvers.

What were your favorite players growing up and which teams do you enjoy watching most now?
I grew up idolizing West Ham’s World Cup winning trio of Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore and Martin Peters. I was lucky enough to grow up at a time when England produced some great footballers such as Bobby Charlton, Tony Currie, Rodney Marsh, Alan Hudson and Trevor Brooking – all great midfielders who were very exciting to watch. I have been a West Ham supporter for 46 years and still avidly follow them, I also enjoy watching any EPL games, Champions League and any high quality teams.

How would you rate the USA’s performance at the 2014 World Cup?
They did well to advance from a very tough group stage but they lacked the depth and quality to compete with the best teams. This was a typical USA effort: great energy and work rate, a “never give up” attitude, and they wore their heart on their sleeves. However, the USA must continue to improve their technical ability and tactical nous in order to be able to play a more free-flowing attacking style of soccer that can break down the best teams in the World. It was good to see some young talent break into the team (Yedlin, Green, Brooks), and their development must become the priority for Klinsmann and his coaching staff, although there needs to be the correct blend of youth and experience and I personally believe that excluding Landon Donovan from the squad was a costly error!

What’s your advice for coaches at the youngest ages?
Teach the kids how to train with focus and discipline, show them how to have ‘serious fun’, let them play, and don’t rush their development.

If you had a magic wand, how would you use it to improve American youth soccer?
It must become more inclusive across all levels of play. There is a wealth of talent waiting to be identified and we must strive to expose more kids to the game and provide more year round play opportunities for all.

Also we should not force younger players to play with higher numbers on larger fields too early in their development. This can limit their ball contact, overload their mental capabilities, and ultimately hinder, rather than improve, their speed of development.