By Lee Schoenbart
To the chagrin of its opponents, there's more modern-day experience coming to Manchester Carmel Valley Soccer Club on Feb. 1 than anyone could have imagined.
That's the day Warren Barton, the 18-year veteran defender of Wimbledon, Newcastle United and England's national soccer team, will make it official. It's when Billy Garton and Jeff Illingworth, co-founders and directors of coaching for Manchester, welcome Barton to the 2010 staff and the day tryouts begin at Carmel Creek Elementary School.
"I have a lot of respect for Billy and Jeff," Barton said. "The way they coach, the philosophy of the club ... I think it's a great opportunity for myself and also for them to have me."
That's not brag on Barton's part; it's all fact. After the 1995 season, when Barton was traded from Wimbledon to Newcastle, he became the most expensive defender in English football at that time for a then-record $9 million.
Barton's broadcast experience is international, from ITV in England to Fox Soccer Channel in Los Angeles as co-host and analyst for its Fox Soccer Match Day. And Barton was invited to earn his coaching credentials.
"It's an invitation-only to go and do your pro license," he said, "and there's 20 people a year that get selected in the U.K., and I was one of those 20 people."
Barton said he studied for six years and the A license well qualifies him to manage an MLS team or even the United States team, if he were approached. But his focus is on a bunch of eager boys and girls, 11 and under, who want to play soccer in Carmel Valley.
"At Manchester, we want to concentrate on their technique, their understanding of the game and their appreciation of the game," said Barton when asked what the former international soccer star would share with the players and their parents. "We want to try and develop each individual so that by the end of the season their parents walk away and say my kid has developed, my kid has got a better understanding.
"And the ultimate goal for me is to enjoy it," he said. "If you enjoy something, you do it better."
Barton said he and the other coaches recently reflected that coaching is not unlike the lessons students get in sit-down classes.
"It's like being a math teacher," he said. "You help them with a problem, and they may solve it themselves. It gives you great satisfaction, and I think that's what we do. We want to give them hundreds of different ideas and techniques, and if they just pick up one and understand it, then it's very satisfying."
For a coach, Barton said, "It's the nearest thing to playing."
Boys and girls tryouts for under-10 and under-11 are from 3:30 to 5:15 p.m. Feb. 1 and 3, and at the same time on Feb. 2 and 4 for U12, U13 and U14. Callbacks will be on Feb. 5 and 12. Tryouts and callbacks are at Carmel Creek Elementary School, 4210 Carmel Center Road in Carmel Valley.
For information, call (858) 344-1086, (619) 933-6769 or e-mail billygarton@
sbcglobal.net or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more, visit www.manchestersoccer.net.