Spotlight Profile: Shannon MacMillan of the Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks
For youngsters starting out in the game, it’s a great inspiration to know that many of their club coaches have themselves had brilliant playing careers.
And soccer resumes don’t come much more impressive than Olympic Gold Medal and World Cup Champion Shannon MacMillan, Director of Club Operations for the Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks.
The DMCV SHARKS is a non-profit, volunteer organization that has been offering recreational programs, competitive programs and camps for players of all abilities in the suburban Carmel Valley area since its inception in 1970.
Shannon oversees the operations of the Sharks with the expert help of top international coaches like Technical Director Warren Barton, the former Newcastle and England defender who is also head soccer analyst for Fox Sports.
Shannon enjoyed a career with the US Women’s National team for 12 years; playing in 176 games and scoring 60 goals.
During that time she won a gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, a silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and another gold as an alternate for the 2004 Greece Olympics. She also played a vital role in winning the 1999 Women’s World Cup and followed that up with a third place finish in the 2003 Women’s World Cup. In 2002, Shannon was named the US Soccer female athlete of the year.
In February of 2014, Shannon was inducted into the Cal South Hall of Fame.
Prior to joining the Sharks she was the Assistant Coach for the UCLA Women’s team for two years, 2007-2009, helping lead the Bruins to two final four appearances.
Here, she talks to Football.com:
1. Can you sum up your soccer philosophy in one sentence?
SHANNON: Soccer can teach so many invaluable life lessons that extend beyond the field if coached properly with the focus on the players and their development.
2. You were a big part of winning World Cup and Olympic US teams as well as being US Soccer's 2002 Female Soccer Athlete of the Year and scoring countless vital goals during your incredible career. What are your favorite memories from your playing days?
SHANNON: In all honesty, winning all of that was incredibly special and I know I have been incredibly blessed. My best memories stem from the friendships made over the years and our journey together. Soccer helped me go from a quiet, timid and scared young girl into a confident, strong and happy woman.
3. In one paragraph, sum up your own youth soccer background.
SHANNON: Started playing because my friends played at 5 years old. It was all about the oranges at halftime and the snack after the game. I played numerous sports, but soccer was always the one sport that I truly loved and had a passion for. No matter what was going on at home or school, whenever I went to soccer practice – everything disappeared while I was out on the field. My club team was essentially the same group through middle school and high school and we were very close. I had no idea how good I could be – I just love my team who were like my family!
4. Were there any coaches that particularly influenced your development in the game?
SHANNON: Clive Charles at the University of Portland. Clive is who I owe my entire playing career to and who I have become as a person. Clive had the unique ability of being able to draw the best out of each and every player. He took time to invest in them as people first and foremost and was the best coach I EVER played for!
5. What are the most important attributes you look for in a young player?
SHANNON: Passion & love for the game and coachability!
6. Who is/was your favorite pro player and pro team?
SHANNON: Carli Lloyd – Portland Thorns (I wish Portland had a professional team while I was still playing!!!)
7. Tell us a little about your involvement with the Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks. Are you disappointed more women aren’t running soccer clubs?
SHANNON: I am the Director of Club Operations and I over see the entire club – rec and competitive. I certainly wish there were more women coaching/running soccer clubs. It is a great opportunity to help the game that’s been so good to us continue to grow while also being a positive role model.
8. What do you enjoy about coaching?
SHANNON: I enjoy inspiring these kids to believe in themselves and go after their dreams – no matter what they may be. As I mentioned, soccer has been so amazing to me throughout my life so it is imperative that I give back to this game and share my knowledge and love of the game.
9. Are you in favor of the proposed Girl’s Development Academy being launched next year by US Soccer? If so, why?
SHANNON: I am in favor of it. The US Women are the best in the world and we need to keep identifying the top players to get them involved with our youth national teams. I think US Soccer needs to be tied into the club soccer world and push the emphasis to be about the players and their development versus the results.
10. What’s the best advice you can offer to a youth player?
SHANNON: Dream big, work hard, never give up and enjoy the journey!!!