Coach Q&A: Fort Payne boys soccer coach Michael Farmer

FORT PAYNE — Editor’s note: This is the 14th installment in a question-and-answer series with DeKalb County coaches, taking a look at their playing journeys and their coaching experiences. In Part 14, The Times-Journal interviewed Fort Payne boys soccer coach Michael Farmer.

Q: How long have you worked both as an assistant coach and a head coach?

A: I’ve coached club and high school soccer for more than 20 years. I started coaching rec league soccer when I was around 22 or 23. With high school, I coached at Southside and Gadsden for two years before I came to Fort Payne.

Q: Where did you play in high school?

A:I went to school at Fort Payne. My senior year was the first year when we had a high school soccer team. We just played rec and club soccer up until that time, so it was really cool getting to play for the school.

Q: How far did your playing career take you?

A: I played the one year at high school and then went to Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, Tennessee. I played one year there then went to Auburn University. Auburn doesn’t have an NCAA men’s team but they have a club team you have to try out for. I played on that club team for a year and multiple men’s leagues.

Q: What led you to coaching?

A: I started helping with youth soccer and enjoyed it. I started coaching some younger club teams, 10U, 12U, and then I coached some older ones. I thought it would be really cool to coach at my high school. We have a lot of soccer talent that comes through Fort Payne. We’ve been blessed.

Q: Who are among the coaches who most impacted the way you instruct your players?

A: Phil Elton ran the rec soccer program for several years. I took his philosophy on how to teach the kids and learned a lot of tactical things from him. Also, Tom Shanklin. He was a junior when I was a senior and we’ve been friends since ninth grade. It was cool to be able to coach high school soccer with him. I learned a lot of stuff from him, hopefully he learned a lot from me. 

Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time? 

A: I like to play golf. I’m not very good but I like to play. I used to duck hunt a little bit, but I have a 2-year-old now so I haven’t been duck hunting much in the last couple of years.  

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