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Jan, 2021

Mark Platts Shares Passion and Love for the Beautiful Game

Mark Platts is one of the most experienced and educated coaches in all of northern Ohio. 

He is the former head coach at Smith College (MA) and Point Park University (PA).  He also served as an assistant coach at Eastern Oregon University (OR) and Walsh University (OH).  His vast experience includes time as a Director of Coaching at several major youth programs including Northampton Soccer Club, Union County United, and Canyon Optimist Crossfire.  He holds a number of major coaching certificates and licenses, including the USC Master Coach Diploma, University of Delaware Coaching Certificate, NSCAA Premier Diploma, Director of Coaching Diploma, Regional GK License, and the USSF “C” License.  Platts even has an All But Dissertation (ABD) on a PhD in Sports Leadership and Administration. 

Yet his passion and love for the beautiful game is even more impressive. 

“Not sure if energy and enthusiasm falls under skills but I am passionate about soccer and the kids’ excitement for the game,” Platts said. “I am a big believer in challenging the players in a fun and competitive training environment and think playing the game in various formats allows them to learn the game while competing with each other.  I try to communicate with the players at their level while helping to educate them on the game and how we would like to see the game played.”  

Internationals SC provides the perfect environment for Platts to be successful as a coach.

“We work together,” Platts said. “We know what the club does from U9 to U19 and we offer players different challenges that match where they are in their own development.  We do this by using our club-based model, being flexible in the way that we roster players and also having coaches who know all of our players, not just who the coaches are directly responsible for.  We also have a coach-developed curriculum and ensure that our players are learning all four pillars of the game.  Our strong foundation is based on a youth program that helps players confidence and technical skills and we build on that foundation at the older ages.”

As the club’s U13/U14 Director, Platts helps develop players at such a crucial age.

“The players are transitioning to the 11v11 game and tactically learning the game on a bigger field with more space,” Platts said. “Players are very curious and open to new things at the U13/14 ages and it is wonderful to see their passion and excitement for the game.  These ages are also important in the girls’ physical and emotional development as there are many transitions that the players are going through that impact their soccer development and understanding these changes while helping the players learn through them is a great reward.”

Players of this age take a massive step forward in their understanding of the game.  It’s so important to have quality coaches at this stage of development as players are so impressionable and ready to learn.    

“Technically there is still a lot of room for growth at the U13/14 ages and technical development is still a major part of this age,” Platts said. “However, I like to teach more about learning good habits in their game and help them become stronger decision makers within the game.  Using the correct foot, becoming stronger with both feet, strength of pass, and accuracy of pass are things that are constantly talked about.  Tactical habits are also important and now with more players on the field learning our formation, how to play in multiple positions, and being students of the game away from training is important.” 

The Internationals participate in a number of leagues and competitions to help foster the development of their players.

“We are part of several different leagues that often change each year based on the number of players we have at a certain age and what level of challenge we need for our players,” Platts said. “The league that we play in each year is the ECNL national league, which has offered our players the highest level of competition in the region.  Through the ECNL we are able to enter nationally attended tournaments in Greer, SC. This year the ECNL has expanded to a second-tier league and I think this will offer our pool of players at the U13/14 ages a more consistent level of competition and games each season.  We have also participated in the Great Lakes Conference where our players compete against other strong clubs from outside of northeast Ohio and we are constantly looking for tournaments and other competition to match and challenge all of our players.”

Platts’ record of success can be tied back to a strong coaching philosophy as well as his dedication to the game and his players.

“My philosophy is that results are secondary to performance,” Platts said. “I preach that our players and teams need to perform to their potential and the results will take care of themselves after that.  The scoresheet is not an accurate representation of how we play and for both the individuals within the team and the team as a whole should be confident to try and play the right way while making mistakes.  Learning from those mistakes and fixing them is then the next part of their learning and I try to create a training environment where players are free to try new things, are able to fail without fear, and then are educated on ways to correct mistakes.  I am also a strong believer of the accountability and character that Zdravko (Popovic) has ingrained in the club.  Players dress a certain way, pick up after themselves, are respectful, listen while coaches talk, help each other learn, and truly appreciate the opportunity that they have within the game of soccer to be healthy and strong females.”

And Platts continues to create goals that will push his players and the club as a whole forward. 

“Help all players reach their individual potential and each team to experience the success of their hard work and dedication,” Platts said.

Club and ECNL Director Keri Sarver was quick to praise Platts’ accomplishments at the club.

“Mark Platts is the perfect fit for our U13-14 band of teams,” Sarver said. “His calm demeanor, combined with a positive and upbeat personality, helps players feel at ease in a very competitive environment.  You can see the joy in the players her works with!  Mark has a strong understanding of the game the ability to translate the game's demands for the players in ways they can understand and relate to.  He also cares deeply for each individual and helps mentor them on their individual pathway by reinforcing and interpreting the lessons that sports teach us on and off the field.  As the U13-14 director, his ability to manage, relate to, and educate parents is also a strength a great asset for the club as this group sits right in the middle of our pyramid and is the foundation of our future and success.”

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Internationals Girls Soccer Club

313 Medina Rd. 
Medina, Ohio 44256

Email Us: [email protected]
Phone : 330-284-2711
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