NSCAA.com Features Tim Ward
Tell us about yourself - how long you've been coaching, how you got started, your education background, your current involvement in soccer, etc.
I've been coaching for 19 years now...I got started to make some money while in HS and during college...I played at an NAIA/D3 school (California Lutheran) and I needed to make ends meet. So I went back to my alma mater (Agoura HS) and started coaching the boys there as well as with a local soccer club, Las Virgenes (now Real So Cal...one of the biggest clubs in the country) and sort of grew from there. I also owe a great debt to my college coaches who showed me the way and introduced me to coaching education...George Kuntz and Sean Roache were massive in my development both as a player and educator as each of these gentlemen had very strong qualities and remained authentic in their presentation and teaching of the game.
How long have you been a member of the NSCAA and why did you decide to join?
I joined the NSCAA at the urging of my friend Ken Dale back in 1995 I believe.
What are NSCAA benefits do you find most useful?
I really enjoy the soccer journal and the perspective it lends. I enjoy reading articles by others who I admire. I also enjoy gaining a different perspective on the fundamentals of the game. After coaching so many years...it's not necessarily how much you know, it is more about how effective you are at sharing what you do know.
How did the NSCAA influence your coaching?
I just think idea sharing and continually educating oneself is massive. I have to be honest, my family is EVERYTHING to me and for a long time, I used it as an excuse not to go back to certain coaching education courses...having said that, the older I become, I believe staying current is paramount to success and I am doing my best to catch back up.
What inspired you to become a soccer coach?
I just loved the game and my father said to me once upon a time, that if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life...pretty much the rest is history.
What is your coaching philosophy?
I love to win, but I can honestly say I am not afraid to lose. Right or wrong, I just don't want to win...I want to win in style. We have won many a game at Pep playing really attractive soccer and we have lost a few "going for it." But I don't regret any decisions I have made late in matches...normally, if we are up a goal...I am not the type of coach to sit on it...I much rather nail the game with a second...that's just me both as a player and as a coach...I don't play "not to lose"... I play to win...for what that's worth! Within that framework, I believe that attacking possession soccer is at the heart of all great teams along with a relentless spirit toward individual and team defending.
How do you prepare yourself before a game?
I read the bible, listen to music, call my wife and just enjoy it...I still get nerves, but they are the good kind now...Game day is all about preparation...if you have done the work, then you can just go out there and do the very best you can...in the end, it's not life or death...although sometimes it can feel like that.
How do you keep yourself motivated to coach?
I never really felt I needed to be motivated...I just love what I do and I love the game!
What is your most memorable moment as a coach?
I must say...winning the WCC in 2002 was a MASSIVE memory as we became the first team other than Portland and Santa Clara to EVER win a conference championship in the West Coast Conference...so dethroning the GIANTS of the game was a really special achievement both for me personally, but more importantly, for the tradition and heritage of our program!