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Upper Hand Sports Pod

Episode 21: Myriad Soccer Training Co-Founders

Posted by Upper Hand | Jan 24, 2018 12:05:28 PM

Shawn McLaws and Michael Millay have dedicated their lives to training and the game of soccer, leading them to found Myriad Soccer Academy in the last few months. Shawn and Michael both have professional level experience, and are committed to the idea of pushing athletes to their highest level, helping each player work toward their individual dreams. Michael played with FC Cincinnati, and Shawn continues to play with the Oklahoma City Energy FC of United Soccer League. Shawn also played with the New York Red Bulls of MLS. See what these two have to say about getting Myriad Soccer Academy off the ground and building a family oriented soccer brand focused on starting a soccer community.


You can read an overview of the interview with Shawn McLaws and Michael Millay or listen to the podcast below for the full interview.


Q: What is the vision and mission behind Myriad and How did you get started?

Shawn: So it was probably in my second year playing professionally. I was playing in Pennsylvania, and I was in New York before that. And I started realizing that I had all this free time. I’d go to training at like 9 am and I would get out of training at like 1 or 2 and I’d be like what am I going to do with my afternoons? I can’t just spend them on the golf course. So I started diving into coaching and doing a bunch of individual training… And then I started just researching how I could turn it into a business. How I could grow it. How I could become one of the best trainers in the nation, and in the world for individual soccer training…

I stopped by to see Mike… We’d been best friends for a while and we started talking about what I was doing. How I was legitimizing my business and how I wanted to grow it. And he just wanted to jump on board with that, and so that’s kind of how we stumbled into it...

Michael: I think for me as well it just really made sense to partner with Shawn... I’ve had some experience starting businesses, helping startups grow. And really it was easy for me to get behind it… He ran me through some of the sessions and programs that he created and I literally left and I was like these are literally some of the best training sessions I’ve ever done. Where were you at when I was a little kid? So it was easy for me to get behind it...And the programs that Shawn created, hopefully will speak for themselves.


How did you go about deciding on the direction of the brand and what your vision was?

Shawn: Yeah so me and Mike really hashed it out whenever I was in Cincinnati… I really wanted to create sort of a reactive soccer brand… And then on top of that, besides creating great athletes we wanted to create just a really family oriented brand. Me and Michael are best friends and we just wanted to create a soccer community…

Michael: ...We really wanted to create a brand that set us apart from everyone else. You know something that a kid would want to wear a t-shirt everyday and really represent and be proud to be part of the program.


Q: Tell us a little about what you're working on at the moment?

Shawn: ...For the next month we are really trying to put out some content we created, get all the behind the scenes logistics completed, and prepare ourselves for March 1st when we start really coaching athletes a lot in Oklahoma city and Cincinnati…

Michael: Right now we’re trying to finalize all the partnerships that we wanted to create and kind of figure out where the home base is going to be in both Cincinnati and Oklahoma…


Q: Tell us a story about one of your proudest moments in your coaching career?

Michael: I’m actually going on my third consecutive year coaching the same team… I picked up a U11 team… and really when I took the team none of the kids really cared to play. They were all just their to have fun.  There moms and dads were making them play. They all played other sports… Didn’t really care about soccer… But I think the biggest moment for me was actually this past season. It was actually after a loss. We lost in the last seconds of the game… My kids came off the field and they were just devastated. They were crying and they were so upset... And for me, I literally grabbed em in and I told them “You know what, I don’t even care that we lost, but I care a thousand times more that you guys care enough to be upset.” For me that was a big moment for me because it showed that I actually made an impact and helped drive them to love the sport more and actually improve their game more.

Shawn: … For me every time I have a coaching session… At the end of the session… you can see the kid just just feels more confident at the end of the session, and when he walks away he’s got a smile on  his face and they know they’ve put in hard work, and they’ve reached a better level and they’ve bettered themselves. That’s always a proud moment for me after every session...

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Q: Tell us a story about some of the challenges you faced in your coaching/athletic career and how you overcame them, or maybe you still are?

Michael: ...Coaching wise for me it’s kind of balancing different attitudes and personalities on the team… It’s just being able to balance discipline and being able to put your arm around them and let them know everything is alright and you’re there for them. So kind of being that father figure as well as a disciplinarian at the same time.


Q: Who has been your biggest inspiration in your coaching/sporting career? Could you tell us a story about how they had an impact on your life.

Shawn: For my coaching career the biggest influence was probably in my second year of playing, one of our goalies on the team… He was big into coaching goalkeepers and he kind of introduced me to individual training. I would come out to his. He would set me up with sessions and then it really grow from there… He really helped me fall in love with coaching and from there my aspirations to be an individual soccer coach, and small group, and really push kids to the next level just grew exponentially and I mean I can’t thank him enough for that.

Michael: ...Patrick Dicks and Ken Cox - They probably made the biggest impact on me as a player just because they instilled in me that family aspect that I bring to coaching too. I played with them all growing up and they taught me a lot of what I know but they also helped me develop some of the best friendships of my life… And they always had faith in me as a player too...


Q: How do you think technology is changing the way you work and coach?

Shawn: Wow I mean technology is huge. It’s the next wave of coaching. There’s so many cool gadgets you can get to help advance you. Speaking for ourselves I want go into too much stuff because we want to make some announcements… But we have created a partnership with a company that really is involved in reactive training and how kids react within the drills… Going along with that, I use an iPad a lot in the trainings, not only to film sessions, but to use as a screen for the kid to look at, and they react to the different things that they see on the screen, within the soccer drill. So technology is huge…


Q: What is your favorite "success" quote?

Shawn: “Good better best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better, and your better is best.”

Michael: “If you wanna go fast go alone. If you wanna go far, build a team.”


Learn more about Myriad Soccer Training at www.myriadsoccertraining.com. Subscribe to the Upper Hand Blog for latest podcast episodes and other news! 

Topics: Sports Business Management, Soccer, Podcast

Written by Upper Hand

Upper Hand simplifies front and back-end office tasks for sports businesses, provides cutting-edge marketing tools and offers business intelligence that enables unsurpassed performance for its customers. Customized software and pricing are fit to each individual’s sports business needs with the objective of helping every customer grow their business.