Coach Scotty Armstrong signed on to help coach the boys’ soccer team this year and implemented various changes in attitude and strategy. The Roar’s Ciera Misner recently sat down with Armstrong to discuss those changes just days before West Shore’s Class 2A state soccer championship victory over Berkeley Prep.
Misner: What is your history from playing soccer yourself, to coaching?
Armstrong: Playing wise, I’ve played for as long as I can remember. I played at professional youth academies in England all the way up till I was 18. When I was about 16, I was offered to do an apprenticeship to to play at a professional club. I played here locally at Florida Tech for college, then went back to England to play a little bit with some more clubs, then came back to the US.
Coaching wise, I started coaching straight out of college, then started my own academy in Indialantic called Three Lions. I developed that, then started coaching high school which I’ve been doing since. I also coach at Space Coast United.
Misner: What were your expectations or visions for the boys when you first came to the team?
Armstrong: To win a state championship. The first meeting I had with the boys, I told them we’d win a state championship.
Misner: How do you feel about West Shore’s boys soccer team from when you first started training them to now:
Armstrong: When I first started coaching them, they were very undisciplined and defensively poor. They didn’t understand the basic structure of a game. They didn’t know how they were playing; they just played. They didn’t stage the game and they didn’t understand when to create opportunities through possession. They were very attack-minded and not defensively minded. So we had to put in a system to defend better than anyone else, and we’ve done pretty well with that. The other thing they didn’t understand were their jobs. Each one of them have specific jobs every game, and they didn’t understand that if they didn’t do their jobs correctly, we wouldn’t get the result we wanted. So there was a lot of disciplinary positions we had to put in place. There were a lot of players who had a lot of trouble with this. In the beginning they were extremely selfish on the ball, but are now some of the best players on the team.”
Misner: Are there any specific things you think you brought to this team?
Armstrong: Belief. I think the boys thought they could do it but they didn’t know how they could do it. They struggled in discipline and from preventing goals from going in. The other thing I brought was the desire to have a very difficult schedule and to cover details. We cover the details better than any other team.
Misner: How do you feel heading into today’s state championship game?
Armstrong: It’s going to be a tough game. The team we’re playing is very big and physical. They will match us in every area. We’ll have to be a little more intelligent, a little bit more focused on our jobs and where we feel we can beat them. Last Friday’s [semifinal] game [against Jacksonville Bolles] was a tactically perfect game. We did everything perfectly, and we’ll need another one of those performances.”
Misner: Is there anything you’re doing specifically to prepare for this game, like videos, pep talks?
“There’s a lot, were doing videos and scout reports. The boys get a scout report before every game. Three days before the game [we did] some visualization work. Each of them will have three areas of the game that I’m asking them to improve on from their last game. They all have goals and objectives for the game that they’ll have to perform. If they do that, we’ll win.