Coach Profile: Chris Shields
Stayton High School Coach Chris Shields has created a dynasty in boys' soccer. Does that sound like a bold statement? Seem subjective? Let's examine what constitutes a dynasty. How about making the play-offs ten years in a row? Check. Winning eight league titles in ten years including six in a row from 2010-2015 in arguably the toughest conference in the state? Check. Playing in the state championship game four times in the past six years and appearing in five since 2010? Winning a state title? Check. Check. Any way you slice it, Stayton boys' soccer is a power. Starting in 2002, Coach Shields was just a young man when he took over the program; now he is a grizzled veteran with a coaching resume very few can even approach, much less surpass. His career record of 184-95-21 has him ranked 15th for all time total wins in the state of Oregon.
So, how has he done it? Just a string of good fortune with tons of talent walking the halls of Stayton High School? For ten straight years? Not likely. He does it by developing players, starting with the Stayton youth and continuing into high school. He does it by spending hours and hours of time in the off season working with and playing with soccer players. He does it by caring for his players and helping them understand their role on the team to get maximum productivity out of their God-given ability.
In talking with Eagle soccer players, they say things like, "He cares about his players. He wants the best for them. Coach takes care of you. He wants to make sure you succeed in life, not just soccer. He knows what he is doing as a coach. He tries to put players in the right spot to make them successful. He talks to his players. He knows if they are having a bad day, and he talks to them to make them feel comfortable so their day gets better." Caring for players is what coaching is all about, and getting the most out of players is how someone ends up winning so many games.
In 2016, Chris married his wife Jessica and they have a little boy named Titus. You might have seen him walking around the halls of SHS after school or at a soccer game soaking up the action. Watching from the outside, having a family has been very good for Coach Shields. It appears to have given him some balance that is hard to find in a driven coach. What it hasn't done is make him any less competitive or make him care any less for his soccer "kids." Year after year Stayton boys' soccer is listed as one of the "teams to beat" around the state. No one will be surprised if next year Stayton finds itself, again, making a deep post season run, perhaps winning it all. With Coach Chris Shields leading the charge, Stayton boys' soccer is in the midst of an unbelievable dynasty. Because dynasties are so rare, it is best to just enjoy them while they last and appreciate the hard work it takes to make them happen. Coach Chris Shields, dynasty builder!