Club Soccer Spotlight: Gwynne Williams of the Murrieta Surf
Gwynne Williams has brought his vast experience gained at all levels of soccer to help build the development program at Murrieta Surf.
Gwynne, the club’s Assistant Director of Soccer Operations and Director of Business Development, grew up in a hotbed of football in the north of England. Born in St Helens, he was raised just outside Liverpool.
He played non-league soccer in the area and signed with Bolton Wanderers as a youngster.
Sadly for Gwynne, his career was cut short by injury. The silver lining for all the players he would go on to help over the years was that he turned to coaching to overcome his disappointment and fell in love with teaching the game.
“I was a player with potential as a goalkeeper but I didn’t make it because of a knee injury and not fully appreciating the mental side of the game at that young age. I had 9 knee surgeries. I was 19 and I was told I would never play soccer again,” he told football.com in an interview.
“I decided to become a physical education teacher and carried on playing in the English Southern League. I taught for 2 years in England before going to teach in Bermuda, where I spent 16 years and got involved in coaching the national teams,” he added.
In 1993, Gwynne moved to Florida where he coached at Lynn University in Boca Raton, a Division II school with a very strong soccer program. Under his guidance over a period of 14 years, the team reached 7 Final Fours and won one national championship.
He was also involved in the early days of the ODP program and is still on the US coaching staff.
In 2006, he joined Coach Stevie Nicol with the New England Revolution, spending four years with the MLS organization. “They are still the most successful years the Revolution has ever had,” he said.
During his career, Gwynne has coached players like Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey and helped 5 current MLS keepers.
He left the Revolution for a new challenge as Director of Coaching for the state of Alabama, where he stayed for 3 years.
But his friendship with the Murrieta Surf’s current Director of Operations brought Gwynne to Southern California, the state he has now made his home.
“I have known Steve Myles since 1994,” he explained. “We worked together on the ODP program and kept in touch. I was at the Revolution with Steve and when he moved to the Murrieta Surf he kept saying he wanted to bring me in and in August last year I moved over from Seattle, where I’d been working, to take care of the business side of the club.
“The Surf was previously a club focused on recreation soccer and as the kids developed they would move on to other clubs. Steve wanted to create a complete program. We now have 40 teams and we are getting better every year.
“Our goal is not to steal players but to develop our own. You have to build from the foundations. Our real focus is the younger teams,” he continued.
The club’s professionalism is clearly bearing fruit. One Surf player recently had a trial with Sheffield Wednesday in the English league.
Gwynne and Steve have also introduced a new focus on getting their players into college.
“We have a college program director Adam Skumawitz giving players and parents information on finding the right school for the kids ability and guide them through the academic process.
“This is where football.com will help our program so much. We have become partners and we’re very excited about all the ways it will enhance our club.”
Asked for his best advice for a youth player, Gwynne says: “They have got to be driven. They have got to want it every day. Not just when they choose.
“Scouts are looking for not only kids with talent and technical ability but they must also have the desire. Mistakes don’t matter. It’s how you react to the mistakes that matters.”
- Assistant Director of Soccer Operations/Director of Business Development at Murrieta Surf/MYSL Vice President
- USSF A-Licensed Coach
- USSF National Youth License
- NSCAA – Premier Diploma
- USSF National Instructional Staff Coach
- FIFA International Academy Certification
- FIFA Olympic Solidarity Certification
- NSCAA National Instructor
- USYSA National Instructor
- Staff Coach Region III Olympic Development Program
- Washington Youth Soccer Association Coaching Instructor
- Former Asst Coach New England Revolution (MLS) 2007-2010
- Former Asst. Coach Lynn University, (National Champions Div II 2003) 1994-2006
- Former Consultant Canadian Soccer Association -1983-1994
- Former National Teams Staff Coach of Bermuda 1980 - 1993