Steve Biles talks soccer, team Barcelona and ice cream
Steve Biles is the owner of the new indoor soccer facility Off the Wall Soccer on Airport Business Court in Jasper. He is married to Sharon and has three sons - Ian, 6; Dash, 4; and one-year-old Thomas.
When and why did you come up with the idea to build an indoor soccer facility?
I've coached in Pickens County for 10 years now and believe it or not, one of the biggest challenges that I've faced in teaching soccer is the ground! It may sound simple, but unlike other sports such as football, basketball, and baseball, in soccer the ball is in contact with the ground most of the time. This means that the field condition and environment plays a major part in player development. The indoor facility afforded me the ability to control the environment and maximize player development.
Where did the name "Off the Wall" come from?
Actually my wife Sharon, who's never played soccer, came up with the name after thinking about the concept.
Who is your favorite soccer player? Soccer team? Why?
I actually have a 3-way tie: Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, and Lionel Messi, who all play for Barcelona. All are extremely gifted individually, but what I like about them most is their unselfish sense of team. When you watch them celebrate, the first thing they do is look for their teammates not the television camera. When questioned about their successes, their answers always direct credit first and foremost to their teammates.
Other than soccer what do enjoy doing?
Spending time with my family, which has been a rare commodity lately with starting up a new business venture. My other major hobbies are ice cream making and meat smoking.
Do you watch American soccer teams?
Yes, I watch occasionally. Unfortunately, our domestic league is not yet on par with others globally. Financially we are still unable to keep our best talents from departing for higher salaries internationally. Also, the money is not yet there domestically to lure the best athletes and coaches away from the higher paying American sports of football, baseball, and basketball. However, I do believe this is changing dramatically as evidenced by the success of MLS and the growing ranks of youth players nationwide.
What was the best match you've ever played in? Why?
I would have to say high school state playoffs. We lost against a very good team, but it was the first time our school had made it that far so I was proud of the accomplishment.
What's your favorite splurge food?
Definitely ice cream.
Which do you prefer, the World Cup or the Olympics?
World Cup - it is the largest single-event sporting competition in the world and brings together the best athletes in the sport.
Do you get passionate and animated when you watch sports on television?
Occasionally but for the most part I've learned to govern my emotions. By staying more even keel emotionally, you can avoid the ups and downs that are inevitable both when watching your favorite team, coaching, and playing.
What's on your playlist? Bookshelf?
I listen to just about everything under the sun. I'm playing whatever fits the mood I'm in. Inside our facility we also vary the music for the players from pop hits to electronica to classic rock. Unfortunately, I haven't had time lately to read but when I do, I enjoy science fiction. One of my favorite collections is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!