"Criticism, feedback and failure," says Coach Charlie Trout of FC United Soccer Club, "are essential learning moments for any player both on and off the field." It's vital for growth in a player's development to be open to change and get out of their comfort zone. There is always room for improvement.
"What you do on your own time will define you as a player. The work that you do in isolation cannot be beaten. Love the ball. Enjoy the ball," says Charlie.
These are some of the countless tips Charlie offers his players both on and off the field at FC United's Development Academy. For Charlie, not much compares to seeing his young players implement the skills he teaches them both on and off the field. He has been with FC United since the start of the Development Academy Program in August 2016. Keep reading to learn more about his coaching philosophy as it relates to player development, coach development and community. We've asked Charlie 14 questions that will inspire and motivate you to be a better player.
FC United Soccer Club is Chicagoland's leading competitive youth soccer program for players 4-18 years old. FC United Development Academy, Trevian SC, Titans FC, Spartan FC, FC Hawks, and Chicago Magic are affiliated with FC United Soccer Club. Whether you are a beginner or an elite level player, we have the right program for you. We are dedicated to providing an environment which fosters a passion for soccer. By building a sense of teamwork, confidence, fitness, and individual skills, players in our program will achieve success both on and off the field. We look to strengthen our young people through a competitive atmosphere that breeds proper technique, ball movement, relationships, teamwork, and discipline.
FC United Development Academy focuses on positively impacting everyday club environments to assist in maximizing youth player development across the country. The Academy values individual development of elite players over winning trophies and titles. The Academy sets the standard for elite environments for youth soccer clubs nationwide and is a part of U.S. Soccer's global leadership position in youth soccer that will impact thousands of players.
Get to know Charlie Trout like we do.
FCU- Who has been your biggest influence in your life?
CT- I can't say that one person has had the biggest influence on my life. I do my best to learn from every single person I come in contact with. I continually look to challenge myself and become a better person.
FCU- If you could have a coffee with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?
CT- Johan Cruyff. Not only was he one of the best soccer players of all time, he had one of the best soccer minds. He was a Dutch legend that changed soccer world wide.
FCU- Who is your favorite team?
CT- Nottingham Forest
FCU- What's your favorite experience as a coach?
CT- There have been many moments, but being invited to coach "the rest of the world" team vs Spain in the La Liga Promises U12 Tournament was one I will never forget. I was a part of coaching some of the best young talent in the world. Patrick Kluivert was on my team and Raul Gonzelz Blanco was on the Spanish team.
FCU- What's your favorite band/musical artist?
CT- Michael Buble
FCU- What's your favorite restaurant and what do you order?
CT- Sunda in Chicago. The Brussel Sprout Salad and the Firecracker Rolls. They are brilliant.
FCU- How do you motivate your players to learn and play to the extent of their ability.
CT- Providing an environment that is intense, demanding but also fun is so critical in motivating players to strive for their ultimate potential. Pushing them to think more about their game and encouraging them to do more on their own is crucial. Searching for balance between work and fun is not easy. However, constantly showing that work is fun with high levels of energy will transition over the players with the mindsets to improve.
FCU- How do you create a training environment that allows for enthusiasm, creativity, and self-confidence?
CT- Preparation will always build the foundation needed for a training session to have potential to hit on all these points. Being able to transition quickly and efficiently from one stage of the session to the next keeps the players engaged and focused. The club pushes a learning philosophy which is focused on players thinking and solving problems themselves.
I personally try to bring maximum energy to most sessions. Celebrating effort, attempts and ideas while also pushing for higher standards. I hope to transition my passion and energy for the game through to the players and in turn allow them to express their own passions.
I am a big believer in energy being the fruits of life. If players can seek positive energy whether it be mental or physical, they can then begin to really push to their limits as this will feed their hunger to reach their potential.
FCU- Do you encourage players to train on their own or play in "pick-up" games?
CT- The more players can do on their own time the better. What players do on their own time will be what defines them as a player. Having the ball by their feet as much as possible is essential to them reaching their individual potential. Also, young players do not experience enough "pick-up games" or playground/street soccer in Chicago. So much can be learned in these environments that are so difficult to manufacture in a structured training session. Do more on your own and go out and search for pick-up games.
FCU- What is your coaching philosophy?
CT- I desire the team and players to play with "control." Control the ball, the game and the opposition. Youth games can tend to become "out of control" too much. Watching two teams go at it without control is so difficult for me to watch. I desire the game to be played in a way that is easy on the spectator's eye, the fundamental part of this is control. Many, many, many coaches will disagree with this philosophy, but that is what makes the game so beautiful and motivating.
FCU- What other ways do you, as a coach, educate yourself in the game?
CT- I think about the game 24/7, even waking up in the middle of the night to write something down. I love to watch games, training sessions, analysis videos, interviews and debates, and read books constantly. I really enjoy the licensing courses and will continue to push to do as many of those as possible domestically and internationally.
FCU- What is the most challenging part of your job?
CT- Bridging the balance between developing and winning at the academy level. Winning is important and is a fundamental part of developing players. However, at the younger ages players must learn how to perform first which in turn will create winners. Many seek instant success, but true development is a journey of highs and lows.
FCU- How do you positively influence soccer beyond your own team or club?
CT- As we educate our players and encourage them to express their passion for the game, this will naturally have a positive impact on the game locally. These players will influence friends and may eventually become coaches that teach to the next generation.
Presenting a style and culture that is first class wherever we go will positively influence the game beyond our club. It is so important for us to turn heads in the community for the right reasons.
FCU- Who has helped you grow and develop as a coach?
CT- I have taken positive and negatives from every coach I have played for, worked with or observed. They all have impacted my development as a coach and will continue to do so.
Charlie joined our team when FC United was accepted into the Development Academy Program. We are delighted to share the knowledge, passion and all that is Charlie Trout with all of you. We are lucky to have such a dynamic coach with the club. If you want to learn more about Charlie, CLICK HERE for his Coach Profile.