On the sidelines of the soccer field, coach Michael Myers observes as players pile off the field and onto the benches. The other team has the lead of the game, but instead of allowing his players to feel defeated, Myers gives them words of encouragement. He uses his voice as coach to convince them that they can still win the game.
The ability to connect and inspire players is what drew Myers to start coaching, and continue with it throughout his life. Myers has coached the boys’ JV and varsity soccer teams on campus for two years, but he has been involved with soccer much longer. He has played since he was six, after getting into the game through his neighbors, and continued to play throughout high school, college, semi professionally and was approached to play professionally by the Atlanta Chiefs.
Myers’ interest and devotion passed down to his son, who played at the college level, and the two still learn from each other’s skills.
“He didn’t play at the levels I played at, but he’s a much better player than I was,” Myers said. “[I] still wonder, did he play because I forced him to play, or did he play because he liked it?”
Even though many know Myers as a teacher on campus, he has held the title of coach before he held the title of teacher; he has coached since he was 16.
“I think that what led me to want to be a teacher, was that aspect of coaching and working with kids,” Myers said.
Although coaching inspired Myers to take up a career as a teacher, he learned that the two jobs have many differences.
“One of the big differences in coaching and teaching is that they play the sport by choice and they can either do what you want them to do, or they don’t get to play,” Myers said. “Where as students [in a classroom] who don’t do what you want them to do, are sadly just content with [not doing their work]”.
Even as the game changes and coaching styles change, Myers’ love of the game has stayed consistent. With the experience he has earned, he has not stopped working to get better.
“Coaching has changed so much that most of the coaching stuff I’ve learned has come from coaching courses and learning how to coach,” Myers said. “You have to just research it, see what problems are there and what soccer information is out there on the internet, and look up drills.”
Myers’ experience as a coach allows him to introduce his dedication to the sport to his players.
“Myers is very disciplined and he makes us work for everything,” junior Elijah Leon said. “Nothing is given to us, to make sure we’re as dedicated as he is. Myers has brought a different control to the team than last year. Our coach, although he was a nice guy, didn’t have control of the team, and I think Myers brought that structure, and has a great understanding of the game.”