Monday, June 21, 2021
In this edition of Coach Profiles we check in with Noah White, an up-and-coming member of the staff that will be guiding his first RCL team this season after working several years with the Sounders Junior Program and Select.
Though he is one of the younger members of the coaching staff, White has already been coaching club soccer for six years, starting in 2014 as a freshman in college when he was sidelined by a knee injury that brought him back home to the west side from Colorado.
“I returned back home after one semester due to needing surgery on my knee and it being easier to recover back home. Immediately after my return I started coaching alongside my old coach Brandon Mitalis for the next two years, learning everything I could from the coaching side of things. I got my E license straight away and then got my D license a year or so later.
“The reason I wanted to start coaching so soon was because I missed being around the game. Since my playing career was done, coaching was another way to stick around the pitch. I learned so much from Brandon as a player about the game, but also about life itself. Everything about soccer relates to something in the real world. A simple example is if you’re late to practice with no warning, you’ll probably get in trouble, just like in the real world if you’re late to your job with no warning, you’ll get in trouble. So I wanted to make the same impact that Brandon made on me to the future players of the game.”
The product of Northshore Select and FC Alliance, White coached in Seattle for two years before needing to make the move to this side of the state to attend Eastern Washington University.
“Before making the move I knew I wanted to continue to coach and continue to learn. So, I asked Brandon if he had any connections in Eastern Washington University and he did – Abbas Faridnia. Brandon got me in touch with Abbas and the club, and when our team was in Spokane about to play them I interviewed with Mike Pellicio and got a position with the coaching staff.
“Heading into year six, I love the area over here. There is so much to do in terms of outdoor activities; plus the traffic is not as bad.
White would manage a few U10 Girls teams as well as a U11 Select Girls side in his first year with the club.
“It went okay, but I knew I had a lot to learn about how you have to adapt as a coach to what level and what age you are coaching. And over the year I got more comfortable and was more diverse in my coaching styles when it came to different teams. You have to adapt to what that team needs in their coach. Whether it’s holding them accountable more often, being understanding, or usually the one that works the best for me is being both.
“When I coach a team I hold them accountable for their actions, but I also make it known that I am there for them when they need something. I want them to feel comfortable talking to me about what issues they are having on the team or maybe with something more tactically related to the game, like movement in the attacking third. As I saw myself grow as a coach, I saw my teams started to grow as well.”
A couple years later he coached a 2005 Girls Select team and they won Copa. Then a year later he took over a 2007 team that also went on to win Copa.
“For me, it is not the wins that bring me joy, even though they are nice. Instead it’s seeing how each of the girls individually have grown and the team as a whole has grown. I am very excited to see where the G06 team I’m coaching this year will go this coming 2021-2022 season.”
A key element in part of his development as a coach is tied to his relationship with Select and Sounders Junior Program Director Jason Bellefeuille.
“Right when I started with Sounders I worked closely with Jason on the select side for about three years. Working with Jason opened my eyes on how to be more diverse with my coaching style, like I mentioned earlier. He showed me how to approach different situations in different ways to get the best reaction out of the players.
“Then the last two years I have been helping Dan Philp out with our G07 Rave and out G04 Shale teams. With him I learned many more ways to adapt certain training sessions that I had done before to be more complex or easier if needed. He showed me how you can make the simplest of changes to make a drill fresh and not stale for the players.”
In addition to coaching within the club White has also worked in the community, assisting the soccer program at University High School for as C-Team head coach and later JV head coach in two years there.
“Working under Kara Sharpe was amazing. I had always wanted to coach high school soccer because it’s a different type of soccer. Training three days a week and then playing two games as well, it’s a lot for players. So it made me even more diverse in my session planning to make sure we had days that were high intensity and then had days that were medium or low intensity. That way the players could recover and not get burnt out, but still learn something while we were out there. I think I will coach high school again once I am older and/or retired.”
Until then, White will continue coaching club soccer to counter his demanding human resources position he holds at a local company, providing an outlet for him.
“After spending the day indoors, I look forward to getting to the pitch outside where I can just breathe. I enjoy seeing the players smile and have a good time. And when they perfect an area of the game for the first time – like a move, a shot, etc – it is amazing seeing their face light up when they accomplish those goals. I hope to impact every player I coach in a positive way so that they too may coach one day.”
That’s not a bad passion to have for a guy that could easily focus more on his other hobbies such as golf, travel, trying new restaurants or spending more time working on his house, going on runs with his dog or watching movies.