The Importance of the NPSL With Temecula FC’s Willie Donachie
The growth of the NPSL is remarkable — as players across the country benefit from its pathway to continue their playing career beyond the college level and gain valuable visability. The NPSL is currently in over 80 markets with further expansion in sight for the future.
GoalNation spoke with Temecula FC head coach Willie Donachie on the growth of the NPSL and the aspirations of his club moving forward.
NPSL Soccer News: The National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) is weeks into the 2017 season as clubs across the United States take the pitch for another year of semi-professional soccer.
The growth of the league has been met with clubs expanding their organizations to fit the demand of top-to-bottom development that includes youth programs below the NPSL squad.
Temecula FC has joined the movement to provide youth players in the region with this opportunity as they aspire to reach the next level of play.
GoalNation spoke with NPSL head coach Willie Donachie on the 2017 season and his inspiration for growing the game at all levels.
Diane Scavuzzo: What was your initial experience like as you joined Temecula FC?
Willie Donachie: I joined Temecula FC after I left my Newcastle United U21 coaching position. A friend of Brandon Jantz, owner of Temecula FC, asked if I wanted a vacation in California helping a new club get started.
The whole community of Temecula welcomed me and that’s why I come every year now for the last three years to advise and help coach the players and coaching staff at Temecula FC. My goal has always been to give back to the game that has been a great part of my life.
Diane Scavuzzo: Describe your coaching philosophy. What type of players best fit your style of play?
Willie Donachie: My coaching philosophy is to serve the players by trying to help them understand what is needed to win and become a better player.
I look for honest players who don’t make excuses and are enthusiastic with a desire to be positive and creative.
Diane Scavuzzo: How has your coaching background in the U.K. shaped Temecula FC?
Willie Donachie: My main influence from the U.K. is to be positive, honest, never give in, unselfish and creative. I am lucky to have witnessed football and coaching all over the world. I try to take the best from them all.
Diane Scavuzzo: What has the growth been like for Temecula FC in the NPSL?
Willie Donachie: The growth as a club has been fantastic. It gets better every year.
Diane Scavuzzo: How does an NPSL club help the youth level at Temecula FC?
Willie Donachie: At the youth level we try to keep costs at a minimum and we do many free camps to encourage young boys and girls to play.
I never paid for coaching and always learned as a boy from volunteers.
We coached and played for the love of the game. The Dutch and British systems are built on volunteer coaches at the grassroots level. People who care about the game and not making money off the players.
Diane Scavuzzo: How has soccer changed, if it has, since you became involved?
Willie Donachie: The basics of soccer will not change but society and the world has changed enormously. As a boy, like in Africa now, we never had a phone, TV, computers, or cars, so we played soccer all day with all ages — men and boys.
We were never coached and learned by playing with and against better players and observing great players such as Pele.
Diane Scavuzzo: What influences you?
Willie Donachie: My influences are the company, family, friends, what I watch — world soccer — what I hear and read, as well as spiritual books and videos. Good company is vital.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are the greatest attributes of your squad?
Willie Donachie: This squad is evolving because amateur soccer is often a second priority to work.
However, we have a committed squad of good people who are striving to improve and that is all we need.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is your team like?
Willie Donachie: The team is ambitious. I believe there is a need in the program to win matches, so the players never give up and have an anything can happen attitude.
Diane Scavuzzo: The NPSL has teams in approximately 80 markets across the country — is your area in need of more competition?
Willie Donachie: One of the problems in the USA is that money can be the driving force of clubs and coaches rather than the love of the game. Our motto is Love and Serve. Competition is vital for learning, which helps us all improve.
Soccer to me is an art form at its best and not an industry.
Diane Scavuzzo: Who do you think is your greatest competition?
Willie Donachie: Our greatest competition is fear and jealousy of local youth clubs that don’t support our mission.
The youth clubs in this area do not support Temecula FC by coming to games, which I don’t understand. Players learn by watching the best and in this area, Temecula FC is the highest standard.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is your decision on including academy players on your roster?
Willie Donachie: I would love all our academy players to make their way into our NPSL team. All that matters is they are good enough to make the team.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is the pathway to the NPSL team?
Willie Donachie: The pathway to our team varies. Some come from our U19s and some from college — these are the two main pathways at the moment. We are working on building our youth program as it will be our primary pathway for players moving from our youth to the NPSL team.
The goal moving forward is to only use our youth players. So players interested in the opportunity the NPSL team offers need to be in our youth program.