In high school there’s always that one athlete—the one who never misses practice, who is the last to leave the gym, and who shows up to every game even when he’s got a busted up shin. Scott Miller, the new head coach for the boys soccer team, was and is that athlete, and he understands that natural talent is no substitute for hard work. In a recent conversation Coach Miller gave some background on the himself, the team, and what he has planned for the future.
What was the main motivation for agreeing to be the head of SLC’s men’s soccer team?
Scott Miller: To be honest I saw it as a place that had an incredible amount of potential. Also it was very appealing to work with a very academically minded university, one where the player’s intellect would match their physical performance.
Could you tell me the types of coaching positions you held before coming to SLC?
SM: Aside from coaching various club teams, I also served as an assistant coach at George Mason University, and was head coach at Alfred University.
I understand you have a lot of personal experience with the sport aside from coaching.
SM: I started playing when I was about five or six, and growing up I was consistently involved with the Pittsford Mustangs, a highly competitive club team up in Rochester, N.Y. I also played soccer at Alfred University, and had the chance to play some semi-pro after I graduated. Some of the teams I played with were the Rochester Rhinos, the Arizona Sahuaros, and the Vermont Voltage.
Did you have any reservations when you were considering taking the job? More specifically, where you are concerned about the school’s rather comical view towards the men’s soccer team’s reputation?
SM: I welcomed that challenge. I had a vision of seeing the team prosper, and when a situation challenges you, the best thing to do is to have the courage to face it head on. I really thought of it as a great test for what both the team and I were capable of achieving!
What where your first impressions of the guys on the team? What did you think about the player’s personalities and as well as their ability to play?
SM: I was immediately drawn to the guys. Pre-season showed me that the personalities were exactly what I had been looking for. A handful of them were really good leaders and there were a bunch of younger players to follow suit. I saw a big range of talent; some were definitely more experienced than others, but hey, that’s where coaching comes in.
What would you say the team’s greatest strengths and weaknesses are?
SM: Greatest strengths are definitely personality and having the right mindset. The guys are willing to dig in and do what needs to be done to be successful. Also, they work together as one big cohesive unit. As for a weakness, I really would not even call it that– it’s more the fact that the team has a hard time seeing their own potential.
In your opinion, what makes you different from past coaches? What are you bringing to the table that coaches before you did not?
SM: An enormous part of it is teaching the kids to play in a system that works with their individual strengths. It’s my intention to give each player a specific role; that way, they know exactly what is expected of them. I will also be the first full time coach to use recruiting to help build the program. Mainly, I think it will be good for the team to have someone new who is looking forward to working and growing with them.
If you could have your pick when it came to recruiting for the team, where would you want to pull your players from?
SM: I would focus on the international kids who, for the most part, have had a lot of experience with the game. I would also pull a lot from New York City and surrounding areas. I think that by focusing on kids that are somewhat local it will help build a fanbase and create a family-type atmosphere at games and practices.
Now that the season has gone into full swing and you have had a chance to see the team in action, do you have any ideas about the types of changes you might want to implement for next season?
SM: From now on, I want us to start as as team at the same time. I think by having everyone involved in pre-season it should help to keep the team on the same page.
I know you just started, but where do you envision the team in five years?
SM: I’d like to see us in the national championships and seriously competing in some NCAA tournaments.
by Graeme Belzer '18