There has never been a doubt in Brent Erwin’s mind about what he planned to do when he grew up. There was no back-up plan or second choice. To Erwin, his future was clear – he would coach soccer.
“I knew from maybe when I was in high school, maybe even before that, that I wanted to coach. There was never really anything else,” Erwin said.
After playing at Texas Christian University, Erwin began to pursue his dream of coaching. Erwin held the title of head coach at the University of Central Florida before coming back to Texas to coach SMU Women’s Soccer. He admits that the switch to coaching a women’s team gave him the opportunity to enhance his coaching abilities. Erwin explains that coaching a women’s team is definitely different than coaching men, and that he learned a great deal from them.
“I learned so much from coaching the women, I learned a lot working with them,” Erwin said, as he thought back on the time he spent with the women’s team.
Following his time with the SMU women, Erwin became assistant coach of the SMU Men’s Soccer team. Although he was only with them for one year before he received his offer with Dallas’s own MLS team, FC Dallas, his passion for the sport and overall positivity left a lasting impression on the SMU players.
“He motivates you to play harder and just always sends you good vibes, that way you are pumped,” Eduardo Aranda, SMU midfielder, said.
Erwin’s positive energy isn’t the only thing that left a lasting impression. Players that have experienced Erwin’s coaching style rave about his hands on coaching tactics and his desire to play like the well-known European team, Barcelona. Gaining and maintaining possession of the ball is of great importance in Erwin’s coaching style.
“He is always learning about the latest training technique, theory on physical preparation or technological advance that will provide the program an advantage,” Kevin Hudson, SMU Men’s assistant coach, said.
As a resident of Arlington, a graduate of TCU, and a previous coach at SMU, Erwin’s transition to Frisco didn’t propose any obvious difficulties. Without necessary relocation or culture shock, the move to FC Dallas seemed relatively simple. Erwin quickly realized, however, that a language barrier is present in the MLS. With players that speak a variety of languages, ability to communicate is crucial.
“My major transition was the necessity to be multi-lingual in order to communicate with all of the players,” Erwin said.
Schellas Hyndman, current FC Dallas head coach, and Erwin go back much further than their MLS coaching careers. Erwin coached under Hyndman at SMU from June 2000 through May 2005. Hyndman’s role at FC Dallas was yet another factor that aided Erwin’s easy transition from college to MLS coaching.
“It’s honestly my lucky break,” Erwin stated in reference to his new opportunity.
With their season-opener at home on March 2, FC Dallas had crammed their pre-season schedule in preparation. After a long week of games in Cancun, Mexico, FC Dallas players headed to Portland, Ore. for a few final pre-season games where they played the San Jose Earthquakes Sunday, Feb. 24.
The length of the MLS season was another major factor in Erwin’s dream to coach for the MLS. With a 10-month season, MLS coaches get a much longer span of time to work with their players and learn from them.
Although Erwin expresses excitement about starting his MLS coaching career, he believes that he has learned a lot from the coaching staff at SMU. He continuously credited the SMU coaches for helping him get to this monumental point in his coaching career.
“Those coaches [at SMU] are fantastic coaches. What you have at SMU is a group of very good coaches and very good colleagues and I think working with those people is going to help anyone,” Erwin said.
Erwin hopes to remain an MLS coach for a long time, and to continue to pursue his dream.