Chivas USA U-18 Coach Keith Costigan
By Simon Allen
I called Keith Costigan asking about his recent appointment as ChivasUSA U-18 coach. Costigan is now the U-18 coach for The Goats, which is good sign that the other LA club is working harder to create talent from within. Most people know Costigan only as a pundit and commentator on Fox Soccer Channel but most don't know that Costigan played college soccer in the United States which led to him coaching in college. He also spent time playing for the USL Portland Timbers as well as Luton Town in England. Below are some of the questions I asked about the appointment. You can hear the entire interview on an upcoming episode of the World Wide Soccer Podcast.
Tell me about the new job.
First and foremost I love coaching the game. It's good to be on television analyzing but I've taken all my coaching licenses over the last few years. My UEFA A license. My goal is to become a top coach at the very top level and this position with ChivasUSA gives me the chance to work with some of the best players in Southern California and work with people I respect like Sacha van der Most Spijk (Director of Youth Development) who is trying to build a vision and build a very good academy... we're in the early steps of that (and) I'm very happy to be a part of that.
Let's talk about your playing days.You played for Cal State Bakersfield.
When I played, the college game was a good level I think it has raised to an even higher level in the last few years....I was lucky enough to go on and play for Portland Timbers in their USL days and got to play in front of the fanatical fans and that fan base has continued to grow. I always had a desire to be on the coaching side of the game. That's when I decided to start to go through the coaching license... travelled back to Liverpool and talked to the academy coaches there quite a bit...I've gone through the badges and the system over here and then I got involved about 4 years ago in the college game. Cal State Bakersfield had become a Division 1 college and over the last 4 years we've had tremendous success in bringing in good players and playing an attractive style of soccer which is important to me and important to ChivasUSA and that's another reason why it's a good match to be a part of the club.
Where are you going to find new players?
ChivasUSA has a brand name that attracts a lot of great players so we're fortunate in that respect. I've inherited a good squad. You're always out there trying to get more players but we have a lot of coaches and a lot of scouts in terms of people who will go out and do that. My job will be more the day to day on the field interactions with the players implementing a style of play. Making sure we play an attractive style of soccer. Making sure we're a successful team on the field and Sacha and the rest of the staff will insure that I have the players to do that. I've only had 4 practice sessions so far but we've had several players in each session coming out and trying out and wanting to be a part of the organization so were very fortunate in that respect that people want to be part of the organization.
Tell me about the philosophy that you will be bringing to the U-18's
I'm not a coach that likes to sit back. I'm not a defensive coach. I like my players to be very advanced. It's difficult to implement in the short term but...if you were to describe it as a style of play it's an attacking style...as I believe it's how soccer should be played.
You already have a midfielder (Marco Delgado) playing on the first team. Are ChivasUSA expecting instant results from you?
The expectations at a club like ChivasUSA speak for themselves. You're expected to hold yourself to a higher regard. Want to do well. Want to win every game you're involved in...my goal...is to put my team in a position to compete in every game and give themselves an opportunity to win but also make sure that any player that works under my system leaves a better player.
Do you think in a few years the first team will be full of academy players?
That's the goal for any club. That begins with the recruiting of players as well. Realistically one or two academy players making the jump year to year. It's important to build from the youth academy up because it makes it a lot easier but that begins with identifying talent, making sure that talent comes to the club, making sure they're nurtured in the proper way...and once you get all those things in line you give yourself every chance of sending one or two players on every year.
What's the reaction of the players when they see this Irish guy coming on as coach in a predominantly Mexican club?
It's an old cliché.. soccer is its own universal language. It doesn't matter where the coach is from...I happen to be big fan of the way ChivasUSA want to play. If I was a coach that came in with different mindsets and different ideas...it might be difficult. I will ask for a lot of work from (the players) and it will be fun to see them evolve over the next year or two.
Throughout the interview Costigan talked about the ChivasUSA philosophy and the vision of the club. The way he envisioned the way the U-18's would play and the importance of the academy and college systems. The USL-Pro and player selection was talked about as well talking about Liverpool and how Brendan Rodgers is doing. Let me assure them that Costigan is a coach that has done well in the past and will continue to do so in the future. The press coming out of ChivasUSA's PR room has been confusing lately but his appointment is a refreshing sign that ChivasUSA is taking care of business and setting up a solid foundation for future squads.