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A Winning Soccer Coach Who Never Talks About Winning

Coach Mike Keating of Captain Elite had heard a lot about head soccer coach, Scott Frey, of Messiah University.

Other coaches kept telling Mike, "You need to meet Scott Frey. You two share very similar values when it comes to coaching soccer teams." So Mike was thrilled when Coach Frey agreed to a sit-down interview even on his busy schedule. Watch the video below where Coach Frey talks about the six core values of his women's soccer team and how it has impacted them.

We believe that Coach Frey has found the secret sauce for creating a successful team environment and that all of us who are interested in club and collegiate soccer can learn something from these six core values.

Please like, share, and comment on our blog posts. We are interested in creating content of value for our subscribers including soccer players, coaches, and soccer parents.

image of a head soccer coach at Messiah University
Scott Frey, Messiah University Women's Soccer Head Coach

Winning is at the very crux of life in America. That's what it's all about, right? We move our kids to the best teams so they can win more. It's at the very foundation of our lives.

What if I told you that Coach Scott Frey of Messiah University has found a way to win without ever talking about winning and his players seem happier.

I was working away the other day when another head soccer coach from South Carolina reached out to me and asked me about the interview that Mike did with Coach Frey. This coach said that he shows this interview every year to his soccer team. He felt that this interview was valuable enough for his kids to watch it every year. This conversation showed me that I needed to get it out to our Captain Elite family again.

Whether you're a soccer coach, soccer player, or soccer parent, we hope you learn as much about soccer teams and what's important as we did during this interview. Try some of Coach Frey's ideas.

Coach Frey's ideas work.

Just look at his teams' records over the last 2 decades to realize that his ideas do work.

group photo of Women's Soccer Team Messiah University
Women's Soccer Team Messiah University

In a culture that seems so overly focused on winning, it's pretty incredible to meet a soccer coach who never even mentions winning to his teams.

As of the 2021 women's college soccer season, Scott Frey celebrates his 22nd year as head coach of Messiah University's women’s soccer program. During his time as head coach, Coach Frey has coached his women's soccer teams to an incredible 421-24-29 record which makes him the winningest active NCAA men’s or women’s soccer coach with 10 or more years of experience!

Coach Frey’s teams have earned six NCAA Division III National Championships! You can read all about his accomplishments and records set while coaching at Messiah here:

Now sit in and listen to Coach Frey's secrets on coaching and what makes his teams so very special.

And here's the transcript from the video if you like reading :)

Hey guys, Coach Keating here. I just had a great interview with the winningest Division three soccer program in history on the women's side. The guy's name is Scott Frey. He's the head coach of Messiah University and they have a 91.9% win rate which is...unheard of.

I want to tell you something.

They never talk about winning.  

What do they talk about? What makes them tick? That's the topic of this video.

Coach Frey: I think we would tie that under the idea of pride. Yeah, pride in a very positive way.  Meaning pride in who we are as an organization, as a group. That we do things well. Because, you know, pride also includes humility, right? It takes strength to be humble. To  

understand that I have value, but I'm not more valuable than somebody else.  

That's the same thing with our program. Like we're not better than anybody else but we have pride in who we are. We're humble enough to go like...We have to be prepared. We have to do our best. Whatever we do. That matters. 

Coach Mike: So how would you then, if you could just boil down what the Messiah way is? You know if you looked at the interview we did with Angela Duckworth, and I know you saw Angela's interview (the tutorial we did with Angela), and she talked about having your way, whatever your way is, and having it be a bright line. I love those two points of having your own special way in your organization and there being a bright line between your way and other ways with other teams or organizations.

So tell us...What's the Messiah Way?

Coach Frey: Well, I think we have boiled down our program to six core values. Yeah. We used to have, you know, we had a pyramid. We had 12. We had so many things and I knew we had to be able to synthesize this to something that I can articulate. That our players can grasp. That it's not so big and so we got down to six core values.

The first one is Selflessness.

That is I think the one that everything else builds upon. That we are looking for young women who've desired to be a part of a group. Where they know that a decision on the team may never be made in their best interest. It's going to be about the team and 

they need to want to defer to the team. They want to be part of a team where everything will be looked at through that lens. So (it's being) selfless.

The second core value is Relentless Improvement.

That we are continuously, always getting better. And for me, that is simply to get out of bed and put your shoes on and go for a run. It's that simple. So relentless improvement is big for us.

women's soccer players winning the NCAA championship and cheering
Messiah Winning the Championship

Excellence is number 3.

Excellence for us is defined as actions. Simple actions that are in and of themselves done consistently and correctly, compounded over time. Those things are just done and compounded together over time. Consistent. Simple.  

They're simple things. Go train. Eat well. Go to bed on time. Get your homework done.

That's it. Those are all excellence things.

Number four is Servant Leadership.

Here at Messiah this is very important for us.  

That our upperclassmen understand that their main role is to serve. To help those who they're working with become their best selves.

Coach Mike: When you say the upperclassmen's role is to help others, do you mean helping the underclassmen or just helping anybody in general.

Coach Frey: I mean helping the incoming freshmen. The underclassmen. The upperclassmen's job is to serve them.

It's doing the little things like, hey, when we go to eat, Seniors always eat last. 

Coach Mike: That's very interesting. Very interesting because in a lot of environments, it would be the seniors who would always go first. And I totally get the way you're coming from because it's a concept of gratitude.

There's a lot of research, even recently, on gratitude where it is just the idea of feeling grateful to other people.

And there's a saying in South Africa called Ubuntu, which means, I am because of you. And where there's a deep feeling of gratitude for others. It makes you feel more composed. You get more relaxed and you feel better about yourself. You feel better because you're giving to others, so I think servant leadership is just right on. It's not about me. It's about what I can do to help others. Yeah. I always find it interesting.  

Coach Frey: I tell the stories to high school kids right because the environment you just described is the classic environment. I mean about the freshman's job...what's their life? Well, to get the water. Bring the balls. Yeah. That's their life. That's their role. That's the role. But yet, 20 minutes later you want them on the field competing with you. And caring. Right? It just doesn't make sense. So walk down the hallway and say hi. Just engage them. Yes, it's fun.

Coach Mike: I'm not sure where this attitude comes from. Is it a hazing mentality? Is it the rite of passage mentality?

Coach Frey: Yeah. It's a prove your worth. You know to say that you have earned your way in. But our position is no. We wanted you here. I asked you to be a part of this. So we're gonna make you feel welcome. And to be a part of us.

Positive Attitude is number five.

Our player needs to be positive. That's a choice. Circumstances...whatever. Coronavirus?  

We're gonna choose to be positive. We're going to choose to be positive and to make the best of it.

And the last one (number six) is to Invest in Relationships.

The key part of the invest in relationships for us and I think there are two key things that go into that one. First of all, is being a team of grace. Again, that's just a part of our faith aspect at Messiah. But that we're valued and loved and because you're on my team. And... if there's an offense, I agree to let it go. Why? Because that's what was modeled by Christ for us. This idea of grace. And so to have it to develop a team culture that embodies's a powerful thing.

This last one is to Mean no offense.  Take no offense. And that means I'm able to have a 

conversation with you. Sometimes hard but it's out of love. It's out of caring for you as a teammate that we can have a conversation whether it's on the field or off the field and it's because I value you.

Coach Mike: This is a very mature concept. You know, it's something I'm sure you try and teach your players, but also your kids when they were younger, but there's something internal that has to switch and click that all of a sudden they get it.

Coach Frey: I completely get that. It's not about me. It's much bigger than me.

Here's what I think is even different in coaching. It is very challenging in coaching. That coaches feel. And I was even reading something about this the other day.

That you can't develop a character for your team culture by rules. Rules will never get you your culture. Rules will get your players to behave in a certain way but it's not going to change their hearts. So you can get your team to follow your rules...but I don't want them to follow my rules. I want them to follow their hearts and what they really desire to be and become, and when that happens, now you got something! Right?

Cause coaches all the time that I'm talking to, and they're like... but what are your rules? We have no rules. There are no rules. Our rules are to become you know...our desires are to become the best team we can be, the best program we can be. To be the best place in the country to play...which has nothing to do with wins and losses. It has everything to do with our team and relationships. And it's not because we have a set of rules. It's because we have this culture that, when you step into it, you either embrace it or say that this is not for me. And that just doesn't happen (with our players) very often.

Coach Mike: I ask this question sometimes about Tolkien's one ring to rule them all. 

Is there one (core value), not that it dominates, but that it's really, really kind of the core ring 

to rule them all that works for you?

Coach Frey: I think it's the first one. Selflessness. Everything else comes under that because when one is selfless and it's not about me, then I'm willing to do all those other things.

Coach Mike: It's this environment is what I know every parent in America dreams of, that kind of an environment, that culture of acceptance, and love, and work...hard work and 

discipline, that parents dream of for their kids to find. 

And again, whether it's spiritual or not, that's the environment that they want their kids in, so you've created something that is just remarkable and the results show it.

I know that you're a John Wooden fan and he never talked about winning and you never talk about winning. I love that! That's the magic of this, is that you focus on all of the things that you need to focus on which is the process in order to get results and in order to grow as a human being. That's just so powerful and every parent in America wants that for their kids.

Thank you to Coach Frey of Messiah University for such inspiring advice for our players, coaches, and soccer parents. Be selfless and focus on the process and everything will work out for you.

Join Captain Elite's training programs for individuals, small groups, and teams. We look forward to serving our parents and players as they grow to achieve their best in soccer and in life! Read more about us in the links below. You can always reach out to us with your own stories and questions at , chat with us live, or call 336-644-6650.

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