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Blue Fire 3v3 Soccer

Coach Kevin Bio

Kevin McBride
Founder - Blue Fire Soccer Club
2008 Illinois Youth Soccer Girls Coach Of The Year


Kevin McBride’s life was greatly affected by coaches he had as he developed into a college-level football player. In 2005, he began the Blue Fire Soccer Club with the hope of having the same effect on a group of girls as they developed as both players and young  women. “I started Blue Fire three years ago to pay back what had been given to me as a kid by my coaches,” McBride said. “I was very fortunate to have several coaches that made a huge difference in my life. I designed Blue Fire to be different from the start. We are focused on only one age group, which is currently U11.”

The Blue Fire Soccer Club consists of 44 girls that have played together since they were U8. They currently have 4 teams that have performed well in the Illinois Women’s Soccer League and two of the teams won championships at the 2008 Illinois Cup.

He started the club after an experience one of his daughters had on team that focused on winning more than player development. That experience left him with an indelible mark that shaped his coaching philosophy of helping children fall in love with the sport and then focus on developing their individual skills, which would lead to wins.

“Kevin’s objective was to create an elite soccer program whose sole focus would be on one age group, and develop them into not only talented soccer players, but into successful, well-rounded human beings,” said Jonathan Pagano, a Blue Fire coach. “His philosophy is woven into every practice and game, and every girl who leaves one of our practices feels better about themselves. Every girl is encouraged to be creative and discover what makes her a special soccer player. He wants to create a future of leaders. Of successful, confident women who will pass on the same values and life lessons that Blue Fire instilled in them.”

“I find it to be very interesting that Kevin has decided to go a different route than most clubs in that he has dedicated his developmental approach to a group of 40 youth female soccer players,” Mulliner said. “I can see where this would become a trend with other clubs, to select a larger base of players at the introductory level in the hopes of creating 1 if not 2 very competitive teams as the girls approach the full 11 v 11 game. I will certainly monitor the progress of Kevin’s approach to player development as we go down the road.”

In addition to the focus on player development, Coach Kevin has strict rules for sportsmanship that must be followed by both players and parents alike. Before selecting a player, Kevin talks to each parent and sets forth the club’s policy for parent’s behavior that includes strict rules for treatment of players and referees. If parents do not agree to the sportsmanship policy, they are told to look into other clubs. Before each game, McBride tells the referee that if he has any problems with parents to stop the game, get his attention and point out the parent’s to him.

This example of good sportsmanship has had an impact on his players. “Kevin McBride’s teams play the game the right way and exhibit solid sportsmanship by having respect for their opponent, coaches and referees.” said Rick Lockridge, parent of one of the Blue Fire players. “Win or lose, his players shake the hands of their opponents after each game realizing that there is a greater good being served.”

With his focus on the 40 girls with varied skill level, McBride has implemented various ways for players to improve their skills. Practices never have more than a 9 to 1 player to coach ratio and McBride also offers a menu of soccer opportunities for his players that includes:

• Small sided games (no more that 9v9)

• Foot skill and shooting clinics

• 3v3 program

• Back Yard Soccer, where McBride sets up the fields and picks team and just lets the kids play. Adults are not allowed to get involved, coach or utter a word.

Blue Fire players are required to attend two practices and one game a week, but most of his players take advantage of these other opportunities offered by McBride because, as he believes, they enjoy themselves, not because they are required to.

“Often I think about the incredible variety of soccer formats and leagues that my daughter has been exposed to at such a young age,” Lockridge said. “The variety challenges the girls, creates opportunities for many to play different positions and keep soccer fun and interesting. No player gets left behind or escapes his words of encouragement and correction when appropriate. Therefore, real development occurs. “His priorities have been and continue to be enjoyment of the game, ongoing development and being competitive. When one watches his teams play games or practice, it is easy to recognize these priorities are served.”

All of McBride’s time is free and he gets no profit from the Blue Fire. That dedication to his players and the game, which he knew nothing about when he started but has now grown to love, is seen by his players and parents.

“Our daughter joined Kevin’s team as a discouraged grade schooler, on the verge of giving up the game she loved,” said Marissa Happ, in a letter of recommendation for McBride. “A significant (but temporary) physical challenge had sidelined her and the appalling response she received from leadership had been demoralizing. At an out of town tournament she had the chance to observe the Blue Fire and that’s all it took: she saw the passion, the drive and respect of an entire team of girls who knew who they were because Coach Kevin possessed the extraordinary interpersonal skill of treating each kid like a champion. In a heartbeat my daughter was back in the game.

“This essay isn’t about score and statistics, it’s about little girls who become strong, competent young women because they have been given the opportunities to set goals and aim higher than they have ever aimed, encouraged every step of the way by adults who believe in them. Coach Kevin is a gem of a coach, fair, approachable and inspiring. He coaches soccer but imparts life skills like teamwork, loyalty and perseverance.”