Soccer coaching may have to take a back seat for Chris until his daughter, Lyla Day (born November 18th) is a little older. His focus right now is on her but the native Tulsan will be ready for soccer this spring when his TSC Hurricane 98 boys’ team takes the field. Chris and wife, Michelle who teaches dance and pom teams, have already discussed Lyla’s future activities but they agree it will be her decision.
Chris began playing soccer while in elementary school and when the family moved he joined a team in Union Soccer Club. “I vaguely remember playing for the Tulsa Sharks and then the Union Zebras,” says Chris, “but I certainly remember playing for two coaches: Keith Eddy and Gene Jackson.”
Those club games under coaches Eddy and Jackson led Chris to the University of Tulsa and four years of college soccer with Tom McIntosh. “I received a college education thanks to soccer and met some really good friends. But I also learned what it takes to be successful in the game as well as in life.”
Another coach who influenced Chris was Jim Tindell. “Both Keith and Jim saw something in me as a player and that gave me the confidence to progress as a player, “says Chris who kept in mind those coach comments when he eventually hung up the boots. “I turned to coaching as a perfect option to keep involved in the game,” he says. And for the players he has worked with since then, they agree it was a wise decision. Chris led the TSC 97 boys to a regional tournament but will pick up the 98’s this season. He agreed that his new position as father may alter his time at the practice field and the pitch.
Chris plans on attaining his USSF National “C” license as soon as possible and to keep learning about coaching the game he loves. He currently holds a National “D” license. Chris believes that good attitude and hard work are necessary for making players better and for them to become better as a person. “But we as coaches need to work together to consolidate the talent we have here in Oklahoma so as to better compete for regional and national championships,” says Chris.
Funding is another area that Chris finds limiting the development of Oklahoma players. “We need to find a way to help out kids who are financially challenged,” he says, “because I know there are youngsters out there who want to play at a competitive level but cannot afford it.”
So just as Chris turned to his mentors for support and direction, he is now providing that for his young teams and that is why he joins the ranks of OSA’s Coaches of the Year.
Congratulations, Chris Spears, Oklahoma’s Boys’ Competitive Coach of the Year.
(Source: OSA Smoke Signals, reprinted with permission.)
(Pictured: Chris and his 2011 97 Boys Team in the State Cup Championships.)