TC270: Anson Dorrance, North Carolina Women’s Soccer

Can a soccer coach hit a home run? You bet! We’ve got the legendary Anson Dorrance for this episode and he hits it out of the park! Coach Dorrance is now in his 39th season as a coach at the University of North Carolina. And that’s in addition to the four years he spent in Chapel Hill as a student. The soccer record book is covered in Carolina Blue ink, as his records and those of his teams and players fill the pages. Coach Dorrance shares his collected wisdom with us and, regardless of what sport you coach or what business you’re in, he provides some great insight into many topics.

In this episode, Coach Dorrance talks about growing up all over the world (with a home base of North Carolina), playing (and being very competitive in) many sports, his soccer career at North Carolina, his infamous intramural career in Chapel Hill (“If you want to win any of these sports, you need to put me on every team.”), starting his coaching career with the North Carolina men’s soccer team, coaching the men’s and women’s team at the same time, learning to coach women, how his competitive nature helped him coach women, how men and women are different, player development, the “competitive cauldron”, coaching the US National team, his decision to leave the national team, and the books he’s authored or been featured in.

Notable quotes:

  • “It’s not the genes or DNA you’re born with. These are choices you get to make.”
  • “It’s the capacity to lose and pull yourself back that makes the greatest players.”
  • “At North Carolina, we lose every day.”
  • “I wanted to make it okay to compete.”
  • “It’s important to develop competitiveness without it impacting team chemistry.”
  • “I was one of those fathers that believed he shouldn’t allow any of his children beat him in anything.”
  • “I was convinced I could whip anyone on campus.”
  • “Being correct is not important. Being effective is important.”
  • “If you truly want someone to become extraordinary, one of the first things you’ve got to do is hold them accountable.”
  • “If you want to develop an elite athlete, they have to fail.”
  • “What’s staggering to me is what an athlete’s dreams are and the choices they make every day.”

Anson Dorrance books:

Follow North Carolina Women’s Soccer on Twitter.

photo credit: photo courtesy Jeffrey A. Camarati
Intro Music: Matt’s Blues, Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

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