Q&A: Catching Up With Dave Ellis
Dave Ellis is a CHS graduate who has contributed to soccer in Corvallis as a player, official, organizer and coach. An interesting opportunity for him and young Corvallis players will bring him back to the Mid-Valley after a couple of years in Washington (at least is wasn't California). Dave graciously allowed me to interrogate him.
Q. You are a product of Corvallis soccer. Tell us about your experiences playing soccer in Corvallis when you were younger.
Ellis: I started playing in 1st grade in the AYSO program at the Adams Elementary fields. In Middle School I was asked to play on a traveling team called the Corvallis Strikers coached by Harry Otley and Ed Luebbert.
After that I played for a younger team the Corvallis Comets coached by Shaul Levi. Both teams played in Traveling leagues from Portland to Eugene as well as attending tournaments in Oregon and Washington. I even played one winter season for Blake Leamy in the early years of CUSC. It's a time that brings back good memories and always makes me smile.
Question: Spartans or Raiders?
Ellis: Spartan of course! I Played for Tony Vandemeer, John Vandemeer, Tim Fuller, and current CHS Head Coach John Callahan was the goalkeeper coach way back then. My wife Andrea was a Raider though; we argue the merits of both schools on a regular basis.
Q. Who were your biggest soccer influences in Corvallis?
Ellis: As a player my biggest influence was probably Harry Otley. He taught me to love competition and helped me begin to understand the game. I think I started to really love the game while he was my coach.
Q. Tell us how you got started coaching soccer? What attracted you to coaching?
Ellis: I had gone away from the game after high school for several years and then rediscovered my love of the game through CSP; I was playing on 4 or 5 teams and reffing at the time. At this time Mark O'Briant and Blake Leamy called me up and asked me to coach U-15 boys with my old coach Shaul Levi. The combination of the kids and the competition and I was hooked, I've been coaching ever since.
Q. You founded the Corvallis Futbol Academy. Tell us about that experience.
Ellis: Much harder than I expected. Extremely rewarding and very frustrating at the same time. I look back at that period of my life and marvel at how naive I was. I am very happy that it continues today under the excellent leadership of Andrew Donaldson.
Q. What led you to Washington? What has your soccer experience been like up there?
Ellis: Well, 2 years ago while coaching ODP ‘94 boys I happened to have 6 players from the Vancouver based club CPSC Timbers on my team, all from the ‘93 Reds. It was an extremely enjoyable season for everyone after which I was put in touch with the DOC of CPSC Timbers after several meetings I was offered the position of Assistant Director of Coaching, I felt it was too big an opportunity to pass up.
After discussing it with my wife we decided to make the move to Vancouver. The soccer side was fantastic, while being a big club, ~20 teams, Timbers feels like a family. Teams support each other in tournaments by watching each others games and the club travels in mass to several tournaments including US Club Regionals, Nomads, Chinook, it's amazing to go to a tournament with 10 teams from one club. It was an opportunity to learn in a community of coaches and allowed me to grow tremendously as a coach.
Q. How does Corvallis and Oregon compare with soccer in Washington?
Ellis: Wow this could turn into a novel. First the most substantial difference is scale, Vancouver and its surrounding areas approach a population of 350,000. There are ~8000 youth players in Vancouver, and they have a very different structure. There are 3 levels of soccer; Rec, Select, and Premier all with separate leagues, tournaments, and State Cups. It provides a pyramid
structure allowing players to pass back and forth based on playing level and commitment.
Thus, if a Premier player is cut there are several teams around to provide a place to play. Reversely, if a player develops later they can progress up the system to an appropriate team. Tactically it is extremely varied with many more competitive teams and widely different
In general Washington is far more direct than Oregon in my opinion. You see a lot of athletic teams that play 4-3-3 on both the boys and girls sides. There are fantastic clubs in Seattle; Crossfire, Washington Premier and others that have players on the regional and national levels. The competition is fantastic and much deeper than Oregon.
Currently my ‘93 boys are competing in State Cup a tournament that began with 32 teams. While Washington Premier are the clear favorites on any given Sunday there are a handful of teams that could beat them. It makes for an exciting tournament.
Q. You recently helped coach at Clackamas Community College. What was that like?
Ellis: It was an extremely fun experience. Being able to work with a team every day allows you to make a much more significant impact on the team. Coaching college age women has its own challenges, I learned a lot about team and player management. It was definitely a unique challenge. I really enjoyed the college game, it has a different passion from club ball; the players really put everything on the pitch. It was really rewarding in that we won the NWAACC Southern Region and reached the Semi-finals of the Championship. We were able to help all four of our sophomores onto 4 year programs where they are going to continue their playing careers.
Q. So you are moving back home to the Valley. What brings you back?
Ellis: Well primarily I have been hired as the Head Women's Soccer Coach at Lane Community College in Eugene. We also wanted to return to our friends and family in Corvallis. We still own a home here and both of our families are in town.
Q. What do you think young players should know about junior college soccer?
Ellis: First of all the level is higher than most people think. During our pre-season at Clackamas we scrimmaged 2 NAIA schools beating one and drawing with the other.
There are a lot of reasons to go to a JC:
- Your much more likely to play a major role your freshman year.
- We have tuition money available.
- It's generally much more affordable than 4 year schools.
- It is a great opportunity for players with academic concerns to get a positive start to their college careers.
Remember that Brian Farber started at Northern Idaho College before moving on to OSU. He just signed for the Portland Timbers; anyone who has seen him play would never deny his quality.
Q. Will you be targeting Corvallis, Philomath and Albany to recruit players?
Ellis: Definitely the programs in this area are strong. From what I've seen the Albany programs are becoming stronger each year, CV and CHS have been powerhouses for years and Philomath just won state!
Q. How should a young woman interested in playing at Lane Community College proceed?
Ellis: The best way it to get a hold of me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 541-760-5620. I will definitely want to talk to former coaches and hopefully find a way to watch them play if at all possible.