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Ian, Director of Coaching Education, National Soccer Coaches Association of America

Ian barkerWhat’s your current job?

I direct an education program for soccer coaches: curriculum development is central to my work. I have to train "trainers" to deliver education to young adults. I also deliver a lot of content personally in the class and on the field.

You should never underestimate your audience and keep the content you deliver fresh by embracing new delivery methodologies. The skills needed to be successful in my career include empathy, good content and preparation, clarity, brevity and relevance.

Why did you choose this career?

My undergraduate degree was in Philosophy and Literature. As liberal arts was my area and my skill set seemed to lend itself to communication, sharing, indeed teaching.

Teaching was not my vocation per se, but it is something I enjoy and feel comfortable doing and importantly others see that I have ability in the field.

I teach the subject that would be my hobby/passion anyway, namely soccer technically, but then management, leadership, communication, motivation, child development. I like working with college age and adult learners and I love coaching kids.

What's the best thing about teaching?

It is not a single moment. It is an accumulation of "thank yous" from individuals you may not be able to recall, but report back that you had a profound impact on them in some way. You got them into a career, inspired them to carry on, and improved their sense of self and as such their life.

It is not the pursuit of a single moment, more than a body of work that reflects overall you tried to do right by people.