Club Soccer Spotlight: Carrie Taylor of Laguna United FC
The game was over and Laguna United FC’s Carrie Taylor shook hands with the opposing team’s coach as she always does with a few words of congratulations or commiserations depending on the result.
It was only a few minutes later that she spotted that same coach giving business cards to her players in the parking lot.
Such is the overly competitive nature in some sections of club soccer in Southern California.
The vastly experienced Laguna United Director of Coaching has known other club representatives offer free cleats to some players if they agree to switch teams.
Surrounded by big, expansive clubs in the Orange County hotbed of youth soccer, Carrie is determined to continue building a very different ethos at Laguna United. She has no interest in poaching players or building a merger-hungry soccer corporation.
“Ideally we want to develop our players through the recreational program, on to the Signature teams and ultimately join our club sides,” said Carrie. “We have a great staff and we are very excited about what the future holds for Laguna United, but we’re not looking for players who jump from club to club to club. We want them to grow with us.”
This is Carrie’s fourth year at the helm of the Laguna Niguel-based club, which was founded a year before she joined. There are now 2,000 or so players in the club’s rec. program, called the Laguna Niguel Youth Soccer Association, 15 teams in the Signature section and 33 fully-fledged Laguna United club teams.
“We are a newer club and obviously we are going to lose players along the way but our long term goal is for every player to understand their best opportunity is going to be staying here,” continued Carrie, a former Vancouver Whitecaps assistant coach. “We have great coaches, great fields, which in SoCal is a hot commodity, and we have a good relationship with the City of Laguna Niguel.
“The great advantage in being a relatively new club is that we bring some fresh ideas and goals to the soccer community here.”
Carrie has coached male and female soccer teams and is a great advocate for the women’s game. Learn more about her and Laguna United as she tackles our Football.com Q&A:
1. Can you sum up your soccer philosophy?
My own personal philosophy is that I think it’s important to teach the kids the basic of how to play great soccer.
I also aim to connect with my players and teach them to respect their teammates and respect the game. As I have aged, I have realized, it’s not all about the Xs and Os or winning and losing to me. I want my players to love the game, learn how to work within a team and play the sport for a very long time.
2. What are the most important attributes you look for in a young player?
The key things for me are a good attitude and work ethic. If a player has a good attitude it’s much easier to teach them the technical aspects of the game.
3. Who is/was your favorite pro player and pro team?
As a defender I always loved Carla Overbeck, the former captain of the US women’s national team. I was also a fan of Zinedine Zidane and I have enjoyed watching Tottenham Hotspur this season, although not how they ended their season.
4. Sum up your own background in soccer?
I started playing back when the goalkeeper could still pick up a back pass. I went on to play college soccer at the University of Michigan and was on their first ever varsity team there.
Currently I’m the Technical Director of the Laguna Niguel Youth Soccer Association and Director of Coaching for Laguna United Football Club, as well as head coach and program director for Dana Hills High School girls’ soccer. Instructing the National Youth License and E licensed is also something I do within the game.
I have had the honor of coaching a team that won the President's Cup National Championship in 2011 and was named Cal South Developmental Coach of the Year. Recently I became a part of the US Youth Soccer Technical Committee and I am co-founder of WOMEN IN SOCCER. I hold NYL and USSF "A" Licenses, and a NSCAA DOC certificate.
I’m also one of very few women to have coached a college men's soccer program. From 2005-2009, I was Head Men’s and Women’ Division III college head coach at the College of Mount St Joseph, and was twice named HCAC coach of the year. I also have served an assistant at Xavier University.
5. What’s the best advice you can offer to a youth player?
Find a good fit for you as a player. Ask yourself, do you like the coach? Do you like the environment? Are you getting better? Do you have a positive attitude?
Control what you can control. Turn up early to training sessions, be super coachable, and be the last one to leave. Most of all, don’t run from adversity. If you have that type of attitude you will see the results.