Monday, August 30, 2021
A Puget Sound native, Ali McCready seemed destined to become a Spokanite. Soccer, however, was not the original plan for the mother of four that is one of the club’s longest serving members of the coaching staff.
It all started with academics. The place: Whitworth.
“I was heavily involved in the sports medicine coursework offered at my high school. Chris Franklin – our athletic trainer and sports medicine teacher – was a recent graduate from Whitworth. He introduced me to the school and the program. After I went for a visit, I knew that was where I wanted to be.
“Soccer was secondary at that time. I contacted the coach, and turned out for the team.”
That coach ended up being former club technical director Sean Bushey – one of the architects in transforming the Shadow men’s team into a youth club at the turn of the century while McCready was playing at Whitworth.
“My four years at Whitworth definitely made me into a much better player. I had never had that level of coaching before.
“The impact of my time playing soccer at Whitworth led me straight into coaching after graduating in 2001. I was very fortunate to have four incredible coaching mentors during my early years. Sean Bushey, Jeff Robbins, Stu Saunders and Kevin Moon all helped shape who I am as a coach today.”
McCready would ultimately go into teaching, something that seems to dominate her DNA considering she also coaches and has four children.
“There is so much I enjoy about coaching. I enjoy the game – playing it, watching it and teaching it. I enjoy being competitive and working hard. The relationships I have built with players and their families is especially important to me. No matter what stage I am coaching, whether it be recreational, developmental or competitive I value the responsibility of the role I play. I hope to impart the value of hard work, team work, perseverance and strong character/integrity.
A mindset created by her mentors and her experience as a youth player in Kitsap County on the peninsula, where she would go on to play four years of varsity at North Kitsap HS – reaching the state quarterfinals during her sophomore year – before the move to Whitworth.
“I grew up in the Puget Sound and I began playing club soccer in seventh grade. The change from recreational soccer to premier was amazing. I learned an incredible amount of information during my time with FC Kitsap. The years I spent with my team hold some of my best memories.”
Balance, though, has been key.
“Balancing coaching and being a mom has been difficult at times. I was married and pregnant with my daughter when I began coaching. It turned out to be a great fit. It allowed me to be a stay at home mom during the day and also work in the evening when my husband was home.
“My kids got used to traveling at an early age! All four of my children have grown up on the soccer field and I have had the privilege of coaching a few of them during their early years.”
And now, 20 years after starting with the club McCready is taking on another challenge.
“I took a few years off during the last 19 to make sure the balance between family and work was in check. After many years of coaching on the development side of the club, I felt it was the right time to return to the competitive side. I am very excited to be working with the G09 GA team this year.”