Tom Brown - Coach Profile

Tom Brown

Please state your CURRENT coaching position and how long you've been at that role. 

  • Head Coach (Been coaching travel for Valley for 15+ years)
    • 2011 Girls Green (U11)
    • 2010 Girls Green (U12)
    • 2009 Girls Green (U13)
  • Director of Administration

Playing experience:

  • Played in NY Adult league for 10 + years

Coaching License:

  • USSF D License

Past soccer coaching experience: 

  • Assistant Coach - Hidden Valley High School Girls Soccer (3 years)
  • Head Coach - William Byrd High School Girls Soccer (2 years) with combined record of 23-7-2 (Conference 24 Finalist both years)
  • JV Coach Hidden Valley High School Girls Soccer (2 years)

Hobbies away from soccer:  

Home Improvements - used to be a contractor

Why did you choose to coach for Valley? What do you enjoy the most about coaching for our club? 

Our family moved from New York not soon after 9/11. We had 3 children who started playing recreational soccer for Valley AFC. We liked the family atmosphere at Valley and my oldest tried out for travel program when she was a U11. That was the year I started coaching for Valley. I have loved the collaborative approach our coaching staff has in sharing experience, tactics, drills and practice plans. I have learned so much from some of the best coaches in the Roanoke Valley. I feel supported/appreciated by other coaches, our Directors and Board, but most importantly my players and parents.

 

Please highlight a favorite/memorable coaching moment you've had with the club. 

There are so many to list.

  • My greatest memory would go back to 6-7 years ago when I started coaching our 03 Girls team. Our first tournament we faced the Strikers Elite team and lost 8-2 (both our goals were from 20+ yards our on direct kicks). We didn't belong on the field with them. The girls worked hard that year went undefeated in every game (50+) and we faced the same Strikers team a year later, beating them 2-0.
  • The most current memory, would be coaching our U11 girls at the President's Day tournament 2 years ago. I had been coaching older teams for the previous 4-5 years. The first game we played a U12 team and were being dominated. The first 15 minutes we couldn't get out of our own 18 and gave up 3 goals. The remaining 15 minutes of the first half got a bit better, but we could get out of our own half of the field. The second half, we played the team pretty even. We lost 3-0. I have never seen a team learn so much during a game and look completely different at the end of the game. The girls had smiles on their faces, they knew they accomplished something despite "losing".
  • My favorite off the field memory was last spring. My players and parents did a "drive by" my home when COVID first hit. It blew me away... that I shed a few tears of joy.

What is your coaching philosophy? How do you inspire your players to perform their best on and off the field? 

The coach's responsibility is to set the proper environment for the players to learn the game. Players need to be encouraged to be creative and to be free thinkers. Players cannot be afraid of making mistakes in order to build their confidence. When mistakes do occur, I challenge them to understand why it happened (technique issue/poor decision), so they can learn from it. Additionally the training environment must try to replicate game speed as much as possible. I tell my players "to give their best, to get their teammate's best".

 

Right now I am coaching our younger teams, so the focus is on their technical skills (passing, receiving, dribbling, shooting, etc) and thought process (quicker decisions, seeing options before receiving a ball, etc). Our goal is to hold possession of the ball while looking for opportunities to score and attacking when they are present.

 

A coach must understand the level of each player on a team and coach/challenge them accordingly. As players and the team improve, it's important to change expectations of a player/team to keep challenging them to get better. My goal is to instill a love for the game and have players excited to go to training and games. I also believe that is up to the coach to be a role model for our players and that life lessons can be taught through the game (sportsmanship). 

 

Please use this place to highlight anything else you wish to showcase about yourself or the club.

Our club has made tremendous strides in the 15 years since I started coaching. We have gone from a volunteer coaching staff to a professional coaching staff that is one of the best in SW Virginia. We are the largest club in SW Virginia and the only one to own their own complex.

 

I love that our club is not focused solely on having players play at the "next" level. The reality is only a handful of players from our area will go on to play at the next level and rarely are there full rides for college anymore. Our club focused on developing the player at their "current" level but also can provide a pathway for those that truly aspire to play at the next level through our affiliations with DC United for the boys and the Washington Spirit for the girls.