From Scotland to the States: a coach’s journey


Gerard Borne/The Lion’s Roar

Christopher McBride, head coach of soccer, talks to his players before a game. McBride coached the Lady Lions to a 7-7-4 record in the 2018 season. McBride is a native of Scotland, and he learned the fundamentals of soccer from his father.

Christopher McBride, head coach of soccer, has traveled the world through his love for soccer.

McBride entered his third year as the fourth head coach of the Lady Lions soccer team.

McBride previously coached at the University of North Alabama and the University of South Alabama.

When McBride developed an interest in the sport, his father helped train him.

“I started playing soccer when I was 6 years old,” shared McBride. “I got cut from my first club team when I was 6 years old. Then after I was cut, shortly after, my dad created his own club team, and I went from there. My dad was an essential part of my development as he taught me a lot, and he was also a coach.”

At 17 years old, McBride moved to the U.S. and enrolled in school.

McBride described the differences in the ways soccer is played in America and Scotland.

“The game in America is far more athletic than it is in Scotland,” explained McBride. “Soccer in Scotland is far more tactical than it is here. Athletes over here for sure are more athletic. American soccer is more of an athlete’s game. My mindset now is watching players develop from their first day of freshman year to their last game. Just looking at day one and the last day is enjoyment, and it brings a smile to my face.”

McBride discussed his transition from being a player to a coach.

“I thought it was a good opportunity for me to pursue, realized I was not going to make it professionally as a player, but still had a love for the game,” said McBride. “So, I decided that I wanted to start coaching. I knew there were more opportunities in America for the sport than there were back home. I loved being in a career I had a passion for and wanted to give it back to the players who shared the same love like me.”

Lexie Gundersen, a redshirt sophomore midfielder and kinesiology major, shared what she learned from McBride.

“Coach has taught me how to use the best of my abilities on the field and shining on what I can do best,” stated Gundersen. “The accent is what makes him different than other coaches. He is a great coach that uses you to the best of your ability and always pushes you 110%. He knows how to connect to his coaches, and I have never had a coach that is so personally involved in your game and life.”

According to Claire Huston, a freshman defender and sophomore psychology major, McBride helped her develop her game on the field.

“He is good at showing us what we excel at and applying that to our games, practices and how I can apply what I am good at to benefit the entire team,” explained Huston. “It has been really helpful and beneficial. Most coaches will yell at you constantly and tell you that you are doing something wrong, but coach McBride does the complete opposite. I was a player that always struggled with confidence, but he taught me that I am here for a reason, and I need to show that.”

McBride discussed a challenge in coaching.

“I hate the way the schedule is structured,” shared McBride. “Soccer is a very physically demanding sport, and playing on Friday and Sunday is hard.”

The soccer team wrapped up its 2019 spring season with a 2-1 victory against William Carey University on April 5 at Strawberry Stadium.