Earning respect key to coaching
At first glance, Scott Howey looks more like the players’ big brother than their coach.
Howey, who turns 22 this month, is the head coach of Langley United’s U13 boys’ Metro soccer team.
“The challenge is always to earn their respect,” Howey explained.
“They look at you as a younger person. The goal is to earn people’s respect as quick as you can by the way you carry yourself and the type of work you do on the field.”
And judging by Howey’s track record, he has done quite well for himself as the first-year head coach of the Metro squad.
Howey grew up playing the game in Newcastle, England, and his family emigrated to Canada in 1997.
He has played the sport all his life, including at the college level with Kwantlen Polytechnic University, where he served as the Eagles captain.
Howey did have a couple of tryouts with pro teams in England, Scotland and Holland, but has since switched his focus from playing to coaching.
“I have just continued in building off my experiences as a player and transferring them onto the field,” he said.
But even before he took this opportunity, Howey knew coaching was in his future.
“It just kind of fell into my lap,” he said about his start.
“As a player, I always coached on the field, it just felt natural to me.”
One of his coaches ran a soccer school and got Howey involved.
He instantly took to it.
“I have had even more of a thrill coaching, influencing other peoples’ lives, problem solving during the game,” Howey explained.
“I have loved it and never looked back at this point.”
Howey played as a centre-back, keying in on stopping the opposition’s goal scorers.
But that doesn’t mean his coaching philosophy revolves around preventing goals.
“I coach a lot different than I like to play myself,” he said.
“I like to be organized, and have a fluid attacking team, create some chances (offensively).
“Play football, I like to say.”
As for the challenges of coaching a team full of teenagers — while he is not that far removed from his own teenage years — Howey makes sure the players see him as an authority figure.
“I know most of the stuff they are talking about when they are trying to make jokes,” he said. (But) it is very professional. They don’t think of me as a friend, it is more of a role model (relationship).”
“They take your leadership and the way you conduct yourself, that has a huge influence on how they react.”
And as for parents who may be surprised to see such a young coach, Howes says any skepticism they may have is quickly put to rest when they see him at work.
Howes still plays the sport, recreationally, but hasn’t completely abandoned his own ambitions, calling himself “semi-retired.”
But for the time being, his focus is helping Langley United win a provincial title.
The team plays in the championship game on Saturday, July 2 against the Interior champions. The game will be played in Richmond.
Langley United earned their spot after winning the Coastal Cup title in April, defeating the Ladner Celtics in penalty kicks.
“If we continue doing what we have done all year, I think we stand a good chance,” he said.
“On any given day, any team can beat anyone; that is football.
“But I think if we play the way we can and do the things we have been working on, I think we stand a good chance.”
During the regular season, Langley United crushed the competition, winning their division with a perfect 11-0-0 mark.
Even more impressive was that they combined a potent offensive attack — scoring a division-high 59 goals — with a stingy defence which allowed a mere six goals.
Garrett JAMES/Langley Times
Langley United defender Carson Lee (right) rushes to the ball during his U13 boys’ Metro soccer game on Saturday. Langley defeated the Port Moody 98 Selects 2-1 in an exhibition tilt.