Alan Scott’s best coaching might not come in Xs and Os or drawing up schemes. Scott’s finest work might be off the field.
The Gulf Coast boys soccer coach is a motivator. Three years ago, he got a group of teenagers to believe in his system, to buy the program he was selling.
Believing wholeheartedly in their coach, the Sharks’ steady improvement culminated in one of the best soccer seasons in Collier County history. In his fifth season, Scott led Gulf Coast, which won just seven total games his first two years, to the Class 4A state championship this season.
The Sharks became the first boys or girls soccer team from Collier to win a title, thanks largely to Scott, who is the Daily News Winter Coach of the Year.
“The credit goes to the kids,” Scott said. “They actually believed in me, listened to me. They showed tremendous work ethic and the commitment to play with each other, not as one person.”
Scott is the only area soccer coach with a state championship on his resume despite being one of the youngest. The 2006 Gulf Coast graduate still is just 24 years old.
While he won over the team, Scott’s biggest selling job might have come five years ago when he convinced Gulf Coast athletic director Jose Arias to take a chance on a 19-year-old first-time coach.
“He had a look in his eye,” Arias said. “A lot of times coaches tell you they’re going to win a state championship, but he actually believed it. I’m proud that he’s proven people wrong that didn’t think he could do it so young.”
Things weren’t always as smooth as this year. The Sharks had losing records in Scott’s first three years. Despite going 8-10-5 in 2010-2011, Gulf Coast made just its second regional playoff appearance by finishing runner-up in the district.
The Sharks won their first playoff game that year. In 2012, they won twice in the postseason to advance to the regional finals for the first time.
This year, Gulf Coast (19-3-3) actually lost in the district final, but ran through the state playoffs, winning its 4A semifinal and championship game by a combined score of 8-1.
“This team believed in me,” Scott said. “It’s not very often a 19-year-old kid gets hired, but the kids were able to buy into what I had to say. It’s been a lot of fun to see them grow.”