FAMILY AFFAIR: After long careers of playing and coaching soccer the McLendon family comes together for state title
Published 3:30 am Thursday, November 26, 2015
The game of soccer for the McLendon’s truly is a family affair. On Sunday afternoon the Troy FC Arsenal soccer team wrapped up another state title and head coach Doug McLendon, assistant coach Scott McLendon and Alexandria McLendon all shared the excitement of winning a championship together as a family.
Doug started coaching his two kids not because of winning or even because of soccer; it was something he could do with his kids together.
“This was the thing that I do with my kids,” Doug McLendon said. “The only reason why I got into coaching was because my kids were interested in soccer. I was one of those parents that came to every practice and watched what the coach did.”
The McLendons have soccer in their blood and for the longest time Doug has been on the sideline mentoring and tutoring soccer to his son Scott.
Scott won four state championships in the recreation league, three of them with Doug on the sideline as head coach.
This season Scott joined his dad on the sideline and the two of them picked up right where they led off.
“Soccer has always been a family thing,” Scott said. “Now that I am going into a coaching role with my father, the same base is there now.
Scott loved playing for his dad, and when he changed into the coaching mode not much changed for father and son.
“It was kind of the same,” Scott said. “I try to tell him what I see from what I know. When I played I was always captain on those teams, so I always had a vocal role. The only change is I don’t have to put in any physical role.”
Scott not only had success on the recreation league level, he was also a captain on the Charles Henderson High School team and was an assistant coach on the bronze medal winning Arsenal team at the Alabama State games.
Ever since Alexandria started playing soccer at the 15U level, Doug has been her head coach and has molded her into a fine player that her older brothers would be proud of. This year in her final season of playing recreation league soccer, she was able to play once again for her dad and win a championship.
“It’s been so much fun playing for my dad,” Alexandria said. “I have had the chance to play with him for a few years now, but this was the first time I won a state championship so it’s been even more fun this year.”
Alexandria fell in love watching her brothers on the field, and when she turned 11 years old she started playing soccer with her dad as a head coach.
“That was so cool to me,” Alexandria said. “I liked my other coaches, but my dad has always been my favorite coach. He just knows so much about the game, and he is so encouraging about everything that I do. It’s always fun to get to play with your family.”
During Alexandria’s senior year at Charles Henderson, she was a team captain during the inaugural season of Lady Trojans soccer. Although Doug was unable to coach Alexandria during the season, he was always there with a camera to document every minute of the match.
This season all three members joined in together for one special season of Arsenal soccer. The three were able to bond and challenge each other all at the same time.
“The soccer in the family had always been with me and my older brother, but we got her into playing,” Scott said. “Having her on the field has been great. She watches the soccer game. I get to pick on her when she messes up as a brother, but I also get to coach her.”
After all the memories forged while participating in the game of soccer as a family, what will be remembered is how Doug made the game interesting for both Scott and Alexandria.
“Its extremely special,” Doug said. “You search for ways to be in your kids lives. I think it’s very unusual and special for them to be interested and want me to be involved in their activities.”
Doug also mentioned the only reason why he was able to do any of this with his family was because of all the help and support his team received from David Dickey and Dan Smith at the Troy Recreation Department.