Craig McDonald


Around 21 years ago I started my coaching journey, My first experience of coaching was coaching cricket to younger players in my hometown club of Arbroath Scotland, I worked alongside a fantastic coach who showed me how rewarding it was to provide the right pathway for players at an early age within the game, I had seen firsthand how players develop quickly with the right coaching.


I then went to college to follow my coaching pathway with taking part in Sports coaching and development course, This allowed me to coach various sports throughout the course and I started to take a real interest in Soccer coaching at that time, I started going through my soccer licenses and the part of the course I had to have a placement in the sport of my choice, I was lucky enough to have a placement at a local school to run their soccer program as well as a placement at the local soccer club, I had worked in these programs for over two years and it was so rewarding to see how quickly and how far all the players can develop.


During my course at college I had a Summer break where I was looking to take part in as much coaching as I could and I was lucky enough to get a job in Loire, France, This was to run the Soccer program at a vacation location, This was a great experience for me to learn as it was coaching different nationalities and levels of Soccer.


I was coming to the end of my course and was thinking what I should do next in my pathway when I had seen opportunities to work in America, I had attended an interview in Scotland then travelled to Ireland for a coaching assessment and passed, I was soon on the plane to Dallas,Texas, I worked in Texas for the Spring season with various AYSOs in the area then travelled around Maine and Vermont for the Summer season and then finished off the Fall season in Texas, This first step was a real eye opener and put me to the test with working with players from 5 years old all the way up to 18 years old, A real challenge throughout and it helped me become the coach I am today,


The next year I was offered to come to America again and work in Chicago, I had the opportunity to work at Schaumburg which was fantastic. This was a level above what I had been coaching in Texas and was a real joy to train players in a travel program who were so dedicated, During this Summer I had worked with Nick our current director during a camp, I saw he was very like minded in the ideas of how youth soccer should be and implemented and it was share ideas. This chance meeting in the Summer would help me make my decision in Joining CCSC in the future.


The year after I was offered a job in Hoffman United Soccer Club where I would have more input in coaching and game day management, This was much needed as it helped me develop more as a coach and having more responsibilities and understanding the Illinois soccer scene more helped me grow as a coach,


During my time at Schaumburg and Hoffman I had worked with Chicago fire in the community with Summer camps and events, I had met some great coaches through this program and with the work I was putting in at Hoffman the following year I was asked to join the Chicago Fire Juniors program,


I worked for the Chicago Fire Juniors program for 3 years and it was a great experience, The players I had been working with daily were of such high standard and competed at the highest levels of Illinois and nationally, I had worked in their regional talent schools program all over Illinois, I was part of open tryouts for the first team at Bridgeview. Being part of the juniors and all of these events and programs had improved me as a coach so much, Learning from great mentors and coaches within the program had raised my own level of coaching,


During my 3rd year in Chicago Fire Juniors I had learnt that Nick our director now had just started a new club in the City of Chicago, Chicago City Soccer Club, This was at the very beginning of the clubs journey in Illinois, I really wanted to work with like minded people and work for a club that had the right beliefs and structure for every level of player whether recreational or nationally


I had then moved to CCSC, This was in the 2nd year of the club running and we have not looked back since, We have grown so much over the years, Not just number of teams but the opportunities we offer for all players in Chicago, We have a pathway for players who are just starting out in Soccer to players who have been to Munich Germany to be assessed by the coaches at FC Bayern, We now have a pathway for every level of player in Illinois, We have implemented many programs in my time at CCSC to give players opportunities such as Super Y national league, Regional and national opportunities for FC Bayern.


I have been with CCSC now for 6 years in various roles and were always looking to improve the landscape of Soccer in Illinois, This is down to the beliefs and like minded coaches within our organization, I could not find a better club to be with that cares so much about the players we have in our program


Lets go City!!

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