This article was written by PrepSoccer staff writer, Matt Smith. Matt Smith is a special news and communications correspondent with SF Elite Academy and will providing viewers with an inside look into SF Elite and what makes our club so special.
To say that Jim Millinder has had an excellent soccer career would be an understatement. To say he's been an excellent coach would be ever moreso. And to say that San Francisco Elite is lucky to have him on staff does not even do it justice. Millinder has left his mark everywhere he's been and has a list of accolades a mile long. As a player, he was an All-American at El Camino Community College. He was inducted into the North Torrance High School Hall of Fame in 1992. He was drafted into the National American Soccer League by the New York Cosmos in 1978. If you don't know anything about that team, a quick Google search is recommended.
He played professionally for seven years, playing in the NASL with the Los Angeles Aztecs, the Tulsa Roughnecks and Fort Lauderdale Strikers after being drafted by the Cosmos. He played in the Major Indoor Soccer League in LA, and the American Soccer League with Tulsa and Oklahoma City where he was a two-time All-Star. After those seven years, Millinder decided it was time to stop moving around so much and he returned home to El Camino CC to coach full-time in 1990, coaching both the men's and women's programs. He won a California state title with the women in 1990 and one with the men in 1991. From that point on he was synonymous with winning soccer. He moved on to Loyola-Marymount for two years as the head women's coach before getting what would be a dream job at the University of Southern California. For 11 years he led the USC program, and was a constant presence in the NCAA Tournament. "I've always been a good teacher of the game," Millinder said. "There is no better feeling than to play the game, but a close second to that feeling is being able to coach." After his time at USC, he spent two years as the Girls Director of Coaching for the LA Galaxy before ending up at the University of San Francisco in 2011 where he has been the head women's coach ever since. Despite 25 years of coaching at the NCAA Division I level, with over 30 years of coaching experience and seven years as a professional player, his love for the game and his craft has not waned. "I love the competitiveness of the game," Millinder said. "When you jump a level you gain these confidences, and that's what happened for me. I worked hard and had plenty of good coaching and it got me to where I am today."