Featured Coach: Billy McNicol of Mission Viejo SC
Our Featured Coach series continues with an interview with Billy McNicol of Mission Viejo SC.
McNicol currently serves as the Program Director for the club and is also a scout for US Soccer. He was chosen as the head coach for the U16 and U18 US national teams back in 1996 and was also an assistant coach for the US Women's National Team.
You can learn more about his experience in the game by visiting the Mission Viejo SC staff page.
1. Who is your favorite professional player to watch, and what is it about his game that intrigues you the most?
Billy: I like to watch the goalscorers and playmakers on every team. Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Wayne Rooney score goals regularly, but individuals like Andres Iniesta, Eden Hazard, and Cesc Fabregas make the playing of the game appear easy.
The game needs players with flair and guile. Fans pay money to be entertained.
2. What are the major characteristics that you try to instill in your players in order to help them strive to become a complete soccer player?
Billy: I teach them to refine their natural strengths and train hard to improve their weaknesses. Others include dedicating yourself to doing what is needed to reach your goal, attending and observing as many high level games as possible to become a student of the game.
But you also have to enjoy the fun of it all.
3. Is there a specific individual training drill that you would recommend for all youth soccer players?
Billy: I would recommend repetition of technique until it becomes a habit and small sided games to goals with keepers.
4. What gives you the most satisfaction as a coach in terms of player and team development?
Billy: Watching players stay in the game long enough to find their success. Some get it early, others mature later and some go on to become influential coaches.
Selecting a group of players and convincing and showing them that each has an important part to contribute to the team playing well and winning.
5. What is the most influential piece of advice that you've received that's helped you throughout your career?
Billy: The game can be the best teacher. Be good to the game and the game will be good to you. No one is bigger than the club.
Don't cheat, and when the final whistle blows, you will always want to say you tried your best.