The championship mentality...an all-encompassing interview with NC Courage assistant coach Scott Val
From playing and winning championships at the highest level to doing the same as a coach, our latest interview with North Carolina Courage assistant coach Scott Vallow is definitely a must read! We were lucky enough to get some time to talk with the former professional goalkeeper; check out what he had to say below!
Let’s dive right in! You started out your professional career as a Project-40 signing. You’ve seen the program develop throughout the years to blossom into what it is known as now (Generation Adidas). Do you feel the program was beneficial for you as a young goalkeeper? And do you think the growth of the program (and MLS as a whole) over the years has been beneficial for young goalkeepers?
I think the most important thing for young goalkeepers is to play. You can only simulate game like situations in training and there’s no substitute for getting games. I was lucky because my pro-40 team actually competed in the a-league, so we got good training during the week with our MLS teams and the competitions on the weekend. We had 28 road games because all the various pro-40 players were coming from all over the country from our MLS teams. IF young goalkeepers are actually competing and getting minutes in meaningful games; then I’m ok with it, but most MLS teams have a clear #1 that will play a majority of the games. In this case, I think being a #1 in USL would be better for development than a #2 or #3 in MLS.
You’ve played at the MLS level as well as in USL; what were the main differences between the two leagues at the time? Level of play? Training? Facilities?
The biggest difference was the full international players…both foreign & from the USMNT. Apart from that, the remaining players from MLS and USL are pretty equal. That’s why several USL teams beat MLS teams in the US Open Cup when full internationals are sometimes rested for MLS league play. Several USL players were also able to make more money in the USL because their value to their USL team was greater that their value at an MLS team. I would say the facilities might’ve be slightly better in MLS when I played too. Times have significantly changed since my last year in MLS in 2005. Now MLS is the clear leader in every category.
During your career, you played with some great goalkeepers like Pat Onstad, Scott Garlick, and Joe Cannon. What was your mindset like when training and competing with goalkeepers of that quality? What as the goalkeeper’s union dynamic like in those environments?
The dynamic at training is very professional. My attitude was the same no matter where I was and no matter who I was training with: no excuses and train as hard as I could and continue to improve each day/week/month/year. This way, if the coach wanted to not select me to play on the weekend, I could sleep very well at night knowing there’s nothing more I could’ve done during the week. I also had a good personal relationship with both Joe & Scott, not so much with Pat. Training was fun and I think that’s important to keep in mind too.