George Allen's "losing is like death" philosophy is inoperative in the North American Soccer League.
"You can't live or die on wins and losses in our league," said Dallas Tornado Coach Al Miller. "You have to be more diversified. It's to your advantage. We have to promote the game.
"If I have to be a diplomat, promoter and sell tickets in addition to coaching, I'll do it for the sake of the game," said Miller. "If I concentrate only on winning championships every year and the league of folds, where'll I coach next year? We have to help each other."
Miller is not a rare breed in the NASL. Any coach who does not believe in being a jack-of-all trades won't be around long.
"It's important that you be able to do a lot of things. Any coach who agrees to come here and work has to be aware of that," said Washington Coach Gordon Bardley. "It's not easy for everyone to coach in the NASL. You have restrictions - such as the number of Americans you have to play and you have to realize the game is slowly being Americanized."
Miller, Bradley, Freddie Goodwin, the team president and coach of Minnesota, Ron Newman of Ford Lauderdale, Hubert Vogelsinger, of San Diego, Jim Gabriel of Seattle, Eddie Firmani of the Cosmos and Gordon Jago of Tampa Bay are considered among the better coach-promoters in the NASL.
The soccer coach is often confronted with communication problems among his players, forced to pacify owers who understand only the filled stadiums while being chastised by American fans learning the game.
Most coaches are directly responsible for the signing of players, so they attempt to get players who according to Bradley, "are cut from the same mold as yourself."
"It's easier to form a pattern of play and build a unit that flows smoothly if you know the players' style," said Bradley. "It can be tough taking a bunch of the world's greatest players and forming a good unit. It can be done but it might not be easy. Everyone is different and plays according to the style of his country."
Probably the biggest single problem soccer coaches face is the language barrier. Most coaches prefer only English-speaking players but several, including Bradley, wouldn't hesitate taking a non-English speaking player as long as a blackboard was nearby.
"Soccer is an international language. Everybody understands it on the blackboard," said Bradley. "I'm not opposed to having players on the team who don't speak English. Some coaches are. I've always had someone on the team who could act as an interpreter. If problems occur on the field, they can grunt. His teammates will understand."
Miller and Goodwin are opposed to signing players who don't speak English.
"I wouldn't take the best player in Yugoslavia if he couldn't speak English. I want to be able to communicate with my player at all times," said Miller, who led the Tornado to the Southern Division title last year.
"I had problems with that in 1967 in New York. When we came to Minnesota (1976), we decided to stay primarily with English speaking players," said Goodwin. "You want players who can talk to the fans and help promote the game, too. Pele was the only foreign star American people recognized.
"But we're still in the infancy stage and we have to go all over the world and sign foreign players. In football, basketball etc, the players come out of college. In soccer, that's just beginning."
For teaching and strategy Goodwin and Bradley were the most frequently recognized by other coaches in the league.
Goodwin, a former player and coach in England, is a fundamentalist and an excellent strategist. He is credited with the rapid development of several American players and has been responsible for the growth of soccer (average 25,000 per game) in Minnesota.
"Eighty percent of coaching is the selection of the players. The other 20 percent is assuring the players they are working for a professional organization, organizing good, sound practice sessions and showing them you know what you're talking about," said Bradley. "Then you win games."
Washington faces Minnesota Sunday at RFK Stadium at 2:30 p.m.
"It helps to have played the game. Your use of logic comes directly from experience," said Gabriel, whose Sounders lost to the Cosmos in the Soccer Bowl last year.
As a professional, Bradley, Goodwin and their cohorts must keep players happy. An unhappy football or basketball player merely asks to be traded. If a soccer player becomes dissatisfied, he flys home.
"The last thing we want is for one of my players to go back to England and say how badly he was treated," said Bradley. "You can't have that. The one job a coach has to do is show concern for his players, all of them. We're 3-0 and the starters are happy. But I've got to keep my reserves happy, too. I have to work mostly on their attitudes."
As for gripers, Bradley merely reminds them they are salaried and professional players.
"All players gripe sometime," said Bradley. "If they didn't coaches would wonder what was wrong with them."