LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- Assistant men's soccer coach Drew Courtney has a lot going on these days. Besides preparing for his third season as head coach Nathan Pifer's top assistant, this summer Courtney is serving as the head coach for Mississippi Brilla FC, a Premier Development League team.
Going into tonight's contest with VSI Tampa Bay FC, Courtney has his team off to a 4-2 start. Click here for more information about Mississippi Brilla FC.
Below is an interview done before Courtney left for his summer coaching job.
Q1. Other than the opportunity to be a head coach, what drew you to the Mississippi job?
Being the head coach was a very big draw for me, but knowing who the organization is and what they stand for was a big pull for me. I was very thankful when Rusty [Bryant], the President, approached me with the position. I spent over two years involved with the organization as either a player or a youth coach. To join Brilla again in this capacity is an honor.
Q2. Heading into your first season with the Mississippi Brilla FC, what are your expectations?
With the work we have done in the off season my expectations for the team are to win the southeast division and advance in the playoffs. As an organization I would love to see us develop our brand within the community and strengthen our operations. My expectations for myself as a coach are to develop our players as young men and as soccer players. I want them leaving after the season knowing they are better soccer players both technically and tactically, as well as more mature men.
Q3. Explain a little bit about what the PDL is and about the Mississippi Brilla organization and ministry.
The PDL is an acronym for Premier Development League. It is under the umbrella of the United Soccer League and is the 4th highest level of soccer in the country. It is a semi-professional league that serves the purpose of developing players to play at the professional level.
The Mississippi Brilla is an organization that has both a PDL team as well as a youth soccer club. Brilla is a ministry that uses the game of soccer to advance the Gospel.
Q4. How has being an assistant at Covenant for the last two years helped you prepare for a job like this?
It has been very instrumental in my preparation. Working with Nate has been very helpful for me as a young coach. There is so much to learn from someone who has been so successful on many levels for so long. My responsibilities at Covenant have helped me as I recruit players and deal with the administrative side of coaching. I am thankful for the job, and I am excited to return for our fall season.
Q5. What types of strategies or philosophies of play are you bringing with you?
I am continually learning what can be successful in certain scenarios. I never want to pick a style of play or force a certain strategy and not be willing to adapt to the game or personnel. There are philosophies however, that will be a constant. I have learned a lot in my coaching career before and at Covenant about strategies and philosophies that I will bring with me to the Brilla.
Q6. Back to your job here at Covenant, what would your advice be to someone interested in playing soccer at Covenant?
I would encourage them to apply themselves academically and on the field. We are looking for bright students that have the ability to play at a high level.
If you are interested in our program, make sure you fill out our soccer questionnaire on the website and contact either Coach Pifer or me. Once this happens we would love for you to finish the application process to the school.
Q7. Moving into the USA South next season, what are you most excited about?
I am excited about being involved with a conference as we are expected to gain full NCAA membership. This will give our guys the ability to advance in the postseason and have eligibility for awards that they work very long and hard for. We want to make an immediate impact in the conference and at the national level in NCAA Division III. We know this will take a lot of hard work from both the staff and players.
Q8. What's the best thing about living and working on Lookout Mountain?
The community that my wife [Cassie] and I have. We feel so blessed to have the friends, family, and church that we do. Living in such a beautiful area of the country doesn't hurt either. We love the outdoors and the city of Chattanooga. Lookout Mountain gives us access to both.
Being able to work on the mountain is amazing. When we have evening practices or games, the scenery at Scotland Yard is special. There are nights when I have to stop and take in the sights of where I am blessed to work.