Mike Washington: Men's Soccer Coach

Mike Washington

Men's Soccer Coach

Sherwood Athletic Center, #213

Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash. 99362


Office Phone: (509) 527-5286

Office FAX: (509) 527-5960

  E-Mail: washinmj@whitman.edu


Coaching profile updated June 2010

Washington Brings Lifetime of Experience

to Men's Soccer Coaching Role at Whitman

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Englishman Mike Washington brings a lifetime of soccer experience to his role as the men's soccer coach at Whitman College.

Washington, now in his 13th season at Whitman, moved to the Seattle area in 1981 after having played and coached in England's highly competitive club ranks.

Before coming Whitman, Washington was active in the Puget Sound area with the Olympic Development Program and Washington State Youth Soccer Washington. He also coached at a handful of high schools as well as Bellevue Community College.

Scott Shields, who has coached women's soccer, track & field and cross country at Whitman, helped recruit Washington to campus and still marvels at his soccer expertise.

Scott Shields, who has coached women's soccer, track & field and cross country at Whitman, helped recruit Washington to campus and still marvels at his soccer expertise.

"Mike has lived around soccer his entire life," Shields says. "He knows the game as well as anyone can. When you grow up in a country where soccer is the national sport, you learn 1,000 times as much about the game as you would growing up in the U.S.

"Plus, Mike accumulated a tremendous amount of coaching experience with different programs, age groups and situations after he came to the U.S. and before he came to Whitman. I have a lot of respect for Mike as a coach and person."

Good natured and quick to laugh off the field, Washington casts a more serious shadow once he steps onto the pitch. It takes little imagination to look back in time and see the veteran coach as a young player, as tenacious as the proverbial English bulldog. 

"I try to instill mental toughness, discipline, pride and a strong work ethic in every team I coach," he says. "Our teams have a very strong fitness base, which helps keep our mental breakdowns to a minimum. We put an emphasis on not beating ourselves.

"We are organized, disciplined and committed to team unity. We respect our opponents and each other."

Washington's most succesful season at Whitman came in the fall of 2008, when his squad tied school records for most victories (both conference and overall) in a single season. Losing just twice that fall, both times in overtime, Whitman posted records of 9-2-3 in the Northwest Conference and 11-2-7 on the season.

Senior goalkeeper Brett Axelrod, who was named NWC Defensive Player of the Year at season's end, posted 10 shutouts that fall. Seven of those shutouts came against NWC opponents.

After losing Axelrod and six other starters to graduation, the men's team struggled through a much tougher season in the fall of 2009. A large Class of 2010 recruiting class promises to swing the pendulum back in Whitman's favor in the months and years ahead.

Before coming to Whitman, Washington worked for the Washington State Youth Soccer Association for more than a decade, conducting numerous camps, clinics and coach licensing programs. He also spent two years as director of coaching for the Northshore Youth Soccer Association (based in Woodinville, Wash.), which had responsibility at the time for 1,000 coaches and 6,000 players ranging in age from six to 18 years.

Washington also was active for several years with the Olympic Development Program, serving as a coach at the district and state level for players between the ages of 14 and 19. He helped select and coach regional teams as well.

From 1985 through 1995, Washington coached boys and girls teams at Bellevue, Hazen, Redmond and Lakeside high schools in the Seattle area. His teams qualified for the state playoffs on five occasions and he earned "coach of the year" honors one season with the Hazen High boys team.

Washington's adult daughter, Sarah, played for her father when he was coaching the girls team at Hazen. He also coached the men's soccer team in 1991 at Bellevue Community College.

Washington's own playing career began in earnest at age 14 when his family was living in southwest England, near the city of Bristol. He and his friends formed the Ellenboro Football Club and his late father, Roy Washington, was the first coach.

Most English football clubs are financed by business interests, and the larger clubs support several teams ranging from youth to adult. Older players, who are paid, help coach the younger teams.

When he was 24, Washington transferred to the Worlebury Southside Football Club, where he played for nine more years, his last two as a player-coach. He was a midfielder and forward for most of his playing career, and he earned individual awards that ranged from leading scorer to most valuable player. "As a team, we enjoyed many successes, winning our league cup on more than occasion," he said.

Before moving to Seattle in 1981, Washington had the chance to work as a player scout for Coventry City, which plays in the English Premier Division and whose history as a football club dates back to 1883.

Washington earned his English Football Association Coaching Badge before moving to the U.S. Since then, he has added the U.S. Soccer Federation's "A", "B" and "C" licenses to his coaching credentials. The "A" license entitles him to coach at the collegiate, professional and Olympic Development levels.

While Washignton has devoted most of his time to Whitman over the past decade, he continues to give coaching clinics through the area's youth and club organizations.

He also coached a boys club team (U14-U16) for two years and has coached the Walla Walla High School (Wa-Hi) boys team through the past two spring seasons. Wa-Hi made the district playoffs in his first season and then captured its first-ever league championship in his second year at the helm.

The men's team at Whitman will get an early start to its 2010 fall season when it travels to England in August for two weeks of training and scrimmages against a number of British club teams. The trip marks the third time Washington has arranged such trips for his Whitman teams.

Washington and wife Susan, who has a degree in interior design from Filton Art College near Bristol, England, live in Walla Walla.

In addition to his coaching duties at Whitman, Washington is a lecturer in the Department of Sport Studies, Recreation and Athletics.