As a long-time player and youth coach myself, I have always been impressed with Craig's ability to: communicate technical skills in a way that children and young adults can understand, coach from a positive perspective, and understand the importance of foundational player development.
Craig is very skilled technically. As two examples, on numerous occasions, I've watched him indicate correct foot placement and angle when striking or passing and body position when receiving or defending only to see my daughter's do their best to repeat during games. When asking about specific plays, I would often hear, "Coach Craiggers said to do it that way.
Many youth Coaches equate yelling and calling out mistakes with coaching. For girls especially, this does not instill a positive attitude or enjoyment for soccer. During one game, I listened to Coach Craig say to my daughter - who had just made a good defensive tackle while way out of position - "Great tackle D! Next time lets let R take that so you can stay at midfield." I've also seen many coaches react to similar plays by yelling about the player being out of position with no mention of the good individual play.
Finally, I have always appreciated Coach Craig's focus on player development and individual skills over team tactics, especially for younger players. Coaching philosophies and teammate abilities vary. Craig's focus on speed and agility as well as ball movement and striking which leads to a more well-rounded player who is able to fit into any team.
Coach Craig has been training my daughter for the past 6 years. She excelled under his guidance, and though he has recently moved away, she continues to value his guidance and feedback as she prepares to play at the collegiate level. Coach Craig has not only been instrumental in developing and refining the physical aspects of her game, the most valuable skills that he has taught Jami are the “mental” skills. He has taught Jami how to play smarter, and how to mentally prepare herself for her games. As Jami has developed into a high-level player, she credits much of the success she has in soccer to the training she has had with Craig over the years, and misses his guidance and evaluations of her performance.
Coach Craig has trained and coached my 2 daughters over the course of a few years. It is amazing to see the things they learn in training applied in their club play. Coach Craig makes the technical training sessions fun but hard work. He has a great rapport with the kids and they respond well to his training. We highly recommend Craig and miss his positive influence on the kids.
My daughter worked with Coach Craig for a year when she was 8 years old. Aside from the obvious development she experienced in her skills, Craig played a pivotal role in helping her see her leadership potential. The confidence he gave her enabled her to try new moves during game time, and she made amazing progress that year.
Coach Craig worked with our daughter both as a field player and as a keeper. Over time, she evolved to working with him solely on keeper skills and preferred him over any other option. Craig does a great job of supporting a player’s strengths while identifying those areas that the player needs to work on. He had a great chemistry with our daughter and kept her engaged/challenged during training sessions, while also keeping a smile on her face. Craig was able to instill solid technical skills into our daughter’s keeper play and that was a big reason for her making the Washington State EPD team in her first year of eligibility. I can say that she misses working with Craig, we have had some difficulty in finding a replacement since he moved. We highly recommend him!