January 20, 2011

Getting To Know Assistant Coach Curtis McAlister

By: Maxine Goynes, Santa Clara 11'

The Santa Clara women's Soccer team is an elite program because of its passionate coaching staff. Curtis McAlister, a former San Diego Aztec collegiate soccer player who graduated in 91', has found his way out of the goal and into a coaching position.

McAlister started working with the Bronco staff in January 2003. Not only is he a certified USSF licensed coach, McAlister brings seven years of professional playing experience to the Bronco program (1991-97), and he was a member of the U.S. National Futsal Team in 1995. He was also a member of the Major Soccer League champion San Diego Sockers in 1992.

Aside from being a great athlete, college coach, club coach, McAlister is also a loving father and friend to anyone he has come in contact with. Santaclarabroncos.com (SCB) took a moment to catch up with McAlister and ask him a few questions about his experience at SCU and life lessons he has learned from coaching.

SCB: How young/ old were you when you decided to coach?

CM:  27 years old.

SCB: How did you get into coaching?

CM:  A little naturally, a little by default.  As a college student-athlete, friends and teammates would work local summer camps in San Diego to pick up some extra spending money.  During my professional playing career, we had appearances and clinics we had to do which led to coaching opportunities with the local youth soccer club teams.  After my playing career, I took a job in sales (mostly because my father mentioned it was time to "get into the real world").  However, after six months of "the real world" I realized sales was not for me.  I was coaching a high school varsity team and happened upon an assistant position at Washington State University.  It was there I realized I was destined to be involved in not only the sport of soccer, more importantly, how energized I was knowing I was having an opportunity to teach life skills through sports. 

SCB: What do you like about coaching?

CM:  As a former competitive athlete, there are the obvious competitive juices that still run through my veins.  However, what I enjoy most are the relationships I am able to form with the student-athletes.  Throughout the recruitment of student-athletes to Santa Clara University, we hope to develop a friendship first and foremost. From there we are able to shape and develop passion, commitment, integrity, patience and compassion.  All vital pieces needed to be a positive influence in society once their time is done here at Santa Clara.

SCB: What has been your greatest coaching moment?

CM:  To date, representing Santa Clara University at the 2004 NCAA College Cup.

SCB: What was your greatest moment as an athlete?

CM:  Representing the United States as a member of the US Futsal team in Brazil – 1995.

SCB: When you stop coaching one day, what will you most want to be remembered for by the athletes you have coached?

CM:  I think that the parents of the players and that the players themselves genuinely felt that we understood our role in helping the girls grow as people and learn life skills.  It is a wonderful thing to learn life lessons through sports.  To understand what the key challenges of life will be. To reflect on your ability to tackle each task with dedication and commitment. To develop your ability to be a more effective communicator and to become a better leader.

SCB: What aspects of sports have you learned to appreciate since you have been a coach rather than an athlete?

CM:  That at 18-20 years old, I did not know as much as I thought I did! I have learned to be more open to new ideas.  To listen more intently, and to try and communicate more concisely.  Mostly, to have more compassion (which has really come around since becoming a father).