Coach Shelby Spaulding selected to USC 30 Under 30 Program

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Women’s Soccer Assistant Coach Shelby Spaudling has been selected to the United Soccer Coaches 30 Under 30 Program. The program chooses 30 coaches under the age of 30 to an educational and mentorship program for rising soccer coaches.

How does it feel being nominated to the 30 Under 30 Program?

It’s honestly such an honor. This was the second time I had applied. It is an application process for us coaches to get accepted into that program. You go through a series of questions stating your experience: what have you done? What are you trying to contribute to the soccer community? What are some major areas that you think you can grow or get better at? I also gain a mentor through this process — a coach that has been coaching longer than I have. I get to advance a little bit in my coaching education. I get to participate in (the USC) convention, which is actually virtual this year. I just get a lot of opportunities to develop in my career as a coach.

How did you improve your application since the last time you tried to enter the program?

I think I got a bit more experience under my belt. I didn’t apply last year, but I applied two years ago. I think it was just being able to grow into the position and grow as a coach. Also, I figured out the different aspects of my coaching philosophy and what I want to contribute to the coaching community.

Is there one aspect of the program that you are looking forward to in particular?

It’s gaining a mentor. The soccer community feels huge, but the longer you are in it the smaller it gets because you end up meeting more people. I would say a close second is being able to network with the 30 Under 30 coaches. If you look at it, it’s not just all college, high academy level, club or high school coaches. They are all mixed. There are a lot of experiences and perspectives within our group and being able to connect with them is another thing that I am really, really looking forward to.

What will your relationship with the older coach entail?

When we get accepted they send us — the mentees — a form about what type of communication style we want. Are we someone that wants to be in touch (with the mentor) every single day, week or month? I chose to speak with the mentor biweekly to check in about questions and have someone to contact. For example, if I am going through something in that month or week that I have not faced before I will ask, what is the best practice for this? It depends on the mentee and communicating what they are expecting out of the program. On the other side for the educational piece, USC offers a lot of licensing and education opportunities. They are called diplomas. You choose which diplomas best suit you. If you already have one diploma, then you can go on to the next one that you need. It all depends on the person choosing it.

Do you know who your mentor is?

Not yet. We are still waiting on it. The USC has us in a group message and have been keeping all the coaches in contact. They are also planning the virtual platform for the convention, which is a huge event.

Do you believe that you are getting the full experience of this program during a pandemic?

I think with anything during the pandemic you take away the social, person-to-person aspect of things and you are always going to miss that similar to missing the personal side of practices or meetings. I think USC is going to do a really great job of making it as close as they can to the experience in a (normal year) by offering the same educational opportunities, and the same speaker sections. We miss the extra bit of personal networking by sitting next to another coach who may be in your conference, but I really think with how much planning they are into, USC is doing their best to make it as close to a (normal) experience as possible.

How does it feel joining Women’s Soccer Head Coach Pam Monnier to be accepted into the 30 Under 30 Program?

This was something that I had not discussed (with Pam before the acceptance), but outside of  (my) parents, she was the first person that I told. From my understanding they do not pick in a small amount of time from the same school and the same region. They also had 550 applicants, the most in program history, so this is a huge jump. Given the odds of what it was, it is honestly so cool.

What do you hope to contribute throughout your coaching career?

Coaches have the unique responsibility to impact lives. We have the choice on whether that gets to be a positive or negative experience and it’s a conscious choice every single day. During your stay at college, you develop so much as a human. You learn so much about yourself. You learn about what you believe in and what you care about. For me, as a coach, to participate as an adult that helps lead young student athletes, I actively participate in being part of that development. I get to help them through the hard things and be there and celebrate the great things. Soccer is a great platform to impact their lives and to be someone that cares when the student athletes need it the most. At the end of my career, I want to know that the experiences of student athletes and the students in general is a positive one.