By Jeff Helfrich/NPSL.com
The soccer world revolves around clubs like FC Barcelona, Newcastle and the England National Team.
New Detroit City FC Head Coach Trevor James has spent time at each during his 30 years of coaching and scouting experience. He’ll now try his hand at leading DCFC in the upcoming National Premier Soccer League regular season and NPSL Founder’s Cup.
“It’s a real challenge especially this season because of the two seasons,” James said. “I’m excited about what this club has done and where it can go.”
After parting ways with Indy Eleven of the USL, James was circulating his name to the open jobs in the U.S. that intrigued him. He found the DCFC position attractive because of its progress in such a short time. James wanted to build on it and lead a club into a new era, from the ground up.
He got a call from CEO Sean Mann and the ownership group after showing interest and came to town and interviewed. He was offered the job the next day.
“Through an extensive coaching search, Trevor demonstrated an appreciation for our club and its potential,” Mann said in a press release. “Most importantly, we’re excited to have Trevor’s years of experience building professional rosters as part of our organization as we start this next chapter for DCFC.”
James has already been hard at work scouting for DCFC. He’s applying his large-scale experience to a smaller one. He’d found that his coaching pedigree is attractive to prospective players in the recruiting process. He’s already had players reach out that want to play for him and DCFC.
“I think my experience and coaching resume would probably work more with the pro players who know of me or have seen me work and that sort of stuff,” James said.
James has no shortage of knowledge of the U.S. soccer scene or prospective players he’s spent time with at stops in the past. He made his way stateside years ago, becoming one of the most-respected and longest-serving assistant coaches in Major League Soccer. He coached with the Portland Timbers, Chicago Fire and served as an assistant with LA Galaxy for six years, including during the David Beckham era. It’s among James’ most memorable coaching stops.
“The league changed,” James said. “A lot changed in the U.S. soccer market at that point, so that was memorable. There was a lot going on. Suddenly the world interest was on the MLS and in particular the LA Galaxy at that time.”
Part of James time with LA Galaxy was spent overseeing the creation and growth of its youth academy as director of player development. Coincidentally enough, on Feb. 2, DCFC and Celtic Soccer Club announced a multi-faceted youth affiliation that includes the rebranding of Canton Celtic Soccer Club as Detroit City FC Youth West and Genesee Celtic Soccer Club as Detroit City FC Youth Genese. The partnership creates a structured path to the Detroit City FC first team for CSC’s more than 800 select and premier youth players.
“I think it’s a good thing for the club because having the youth element attached to the club is going to be essential as you move forward,” James said. “We’ll keep building players but obviously if you can build players within your organization it’s better for the community.”
The lion’s share of James time coaching and scouting has come with long-established clubs. In his 30 years of experience, he’s accrued ideas of how he would build his own, younger organization. Now is his chance.
“With never having the opportunity to put something like that in place, you’re always looking at things that you may do differently,” James said. “The opportunity to actually make a difference and build this club in the right way for people to come on after me.”
Photo Credit: LA Galaxy, Chicago Fire, and Portland Timbers