Carney’s Relaxed Style Reason for Winning Ways

Kate Ginley, Staff Writer

From Campolindo athlete, to USC graduate, to documentary film maker, to soccer coach; what’s next for Shane Carney?  The veteran varsity boys’ soccer coach has guided his teams to multiple league and section titles during his tenure, but it’s the development of his individual players that Carney points to as his passion.

“Coaching is something where you have the ability to make a huge impact not only on the way your players and team play on the field, but also on the people who are playing for you. I like to think that the way I coach has a positive impact on the players who have played and are playing for me,” said Carney.

However, Carney does admit he values the team concept. “I’m a big believer in the concept of being able to make the team stronger than the sum of the parts. For the team to succeed, everyone has to play a role. I tend to try and find the right balance of high expectations and having fun as well,” he said.
Carney always hoped to he would have an opportunity to work with a youth soccer program. “When I was younger, my plans were to be the director of a youth soccer club and coach the Campo varsity team at some point in my life. The fact that I was doing both at the age of 24 came as quite a surprise. I’ve been offered a few college coaching jobs, which would be the natural next step, but I’m pretty happy doing what I’m doing now,” he said.
Carney believes in a relaxed approach to coaching. “The atmosphere is much lighter with me than almost every other coach I know. The best example I can give is before the 2011 NCS Final when we beat Acalanes. They came in their matching all-black warm-ups suits with matching backpacks, in two straight lines, dead silent. Players set their backpacks down in a straight line one by one. While they were doing this, my Campo team was already at the field. Most of us were laying on the turf talking about whatever. We literally had a group of guys shirtless playing hacky sack. I don’t think anyone was even wearing shoes. When it was time to warm-up, the focus came, and we played a great game to win NCS. My Campo teams also have a history of randomly singing before games, chanting in the shed after wins, et cetera,” added Carney.
Carney’s rise to the helm of the Campolindo program was swift. “[I was] just putting myself out there. I called Mr. Wilson the day I moved back into the area after college and told him I’d like to coach. He gave me the JV job on that phone call. By the following year, I was the varsity coach,” Carney said.
For all the success that Carney has with his soccer exploits, its just one facet of his life. Carney said, “I’ve actually been coaching soccer since I was 14, so it’s something I have always done. During my college years and for a while after, I worked in journalism and documentary producing. I was actually a finalist for a College Emmy for a documentary I did my senior year at USC [University of Southern California].” Carney was also a production assistant on a documentary for the Discovery Channel about the plane that went down in the Hudson River and the pilot who safely landed it, Miracle on the Hudson River.
This soccer season poses a unique challenge for Carney. “The biggest challenge this year was losing 20 players from last year’s team. That’s pretty much unheard of in high school soccer. Getting the young and/or inexperienced players to step into new roles and then finding the correct balance is the key to competing. So far, we’re doing really well based on external expectations and doing okay based on my higher expectations,” he explained.
Carney takes his role in his players’ lives seriously.  He strives to provide an opportunity for students to create lasting memories. “As far as coaching at Campo goes, my goal is to ensure that when seniors graduate, they leave feeling like their experience with Campo soccer was one of the greatest experiences of their life.”
Though he hopes that being a part of today’s program will be as memorable for his athletes as it was for him a decade ago, he understands there are significant differences in the way current society, and in particular, current student operate.
According to Carney, the biggest difference between now and when he played is the use of technology. “Honestly, the biggest difference is we didn’t have iPhones, so when you wanted to get to know someone, you’d actually talk to them. We had text messaging, but most of us back then preferred to just call each other, meet up and hang out. It seems like now it’s more important that someone viewed your SnapChat story or favorited your tweet than it is to have spent some time with them. I also think current students are under a lot more pressure academically, athletically, et cetera. Our parents were crazy, but it just seems like expectations have snowballed to some pretty insane levels.”
Carney worries about the pressure his athletes are under from parents, and laments to lack of interest in the team on the part of the general student body. “Parent expectations have grown tremendously. When I was playing at Campo, a lot of the parents didn’t even watch the games. When I played, we’d actually get a lot of students to come out, even when we were bad. It’s flipped now where students rarely support us, but parents are constantly wanting to win titles and are much more involved,” he said.
Though Carney is happy with his current commitment to athletics, he said that the movie industry would be hard to turn down. “I’m the director of a local youth soccer club, East Bay Eclipse, so that’s what I do as my full-time job. If I wasn’t coaching soccer though, I’d probably still be in the documentary filmmaking industry, since I really enjoyed doing that,” said Carney.