MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, SC -- Sergeant Matthew Scott is the operations chief for Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 224 and spends his days ensuring the Bengals have everything they need to function properly.
However, when the 27-year-old Columbia, S.C., native, is not looking over flight plans for upcoming F/A-18 Hornet missions or checking a pre-deployment equipment list, he can be found planning strategies for his son’s weekly soccer game.
“I am one of the volunteer coaches for my son, Kalil’s, soccer team,” Scott said.
Every week, Scott and his son spend a couple hours with fellow teammates from the Rough Riders soccer team trying out new positions on the field in an attempt to triumph over their future opponents.
“I think it’s pretty cool my dad coaches our soccer team,” Kalil said. “It’s great because I know he’ll be there at all my games.”
Even though Scott volunteered as a soccer coach earlier this year, he had never actually played the sport before.
“I’m what you would call a late bloomer in the community of sports,” Scott said. “I never thought I would be coaching soccer, but since the league didn’t have enough volunteer coaches and my son really wanted to play I decided to give it a shot. The only sports I really like are football and basketball.”
At their first game Scott was still trying to learn the game of soccer and spent most of his time watching coach Edward Adams, a master sergeant and administrative chief for the Headquarters and Service Battalion aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, position the players on the field.
“My first game I was shocked at how serious the children were about the game,” Scott said. “They really played their hearts out. When the whistle blew they weren’t playing anymore, they knew it was game time and I knew I had a lot more to learn about the game. ”
After the first game, Scott knew he had to prepare himself a little better for the next time he and the Rough Riders would take the field.
“I had to purchase a few soccer books from the store and study everything I could,” Scott said. “But I learned most of the rules and regulations from Kalil.”
When the Rough Riders took the field again the following week, Scott was willing and ready to offer all the advice he could as a newly informed soccer coach, according to his wife Milicent. With his help as a volunteer coach Scott helped the Rough Riders obtain their first victory at the league tournament.
“Matthew was really great with the kids,” Milicent said. “I think he actually enjoyed the games more than Kalil. It was definitely a new experience for Matthew. At one point he actually wanted to hand the job over to some one else, but he held on and stayed with it. I am so very proud of him.”
Being a coach was something he never thought he would be good at, according to Scott. He attributes his success to the discipline he learned in the Marine Corps and the knowledge he has gained from being a leader of Marines. Although Scott will be at Camp Lejeune, N.C. during the Rough Riders next season, he still plans to be a volunteer coach for his son’s next soccer team.
“I thought (being a coach) was going to be a big challenge, but it turned out to be quite a rewarding experience,” Scott said. “The feeling you have when you win your first game is indescribable. I’m so proud of the kids and really appreciate the help I got from Ed and Milicent. It was one of my most memorable experiences.”