By: Hannah Sweiderk
Many students know you as a coach, and others as a history teacher. How did these two roles come together?
I attended Glenelg High School and graduated in 2005. Afterward, I attended Gettysburg College where I studied history. I looked for teaching jobs after graduation, along with coaching opportunities. I played sports growing up, and have always had a passion for coaching.
Tell me more about your passion for soccer.
I have always been passionate about soccer, in particular. I played at Glenelg and I had such a positive experience. I wanted to give that positive experience to other people as well. I want to make sure that Glenelg soccer is something people still want to come and participate in. It all goes back to teaching goals to help kids have a positive experience.
How did you get your start in coaching?
I’ve coached at Glenelg for 14 years. Coincidentally, Mr. Reigel was the boys soccer varsity coach at the time. I reached out to ask if I could help and whether there was an opportunity for a coaching job. I have also coached JV boys basketball. I became varsity soccer coach after I had stopped coaching JV basketball. There are different aspects to coaching JV and varsity. With JV there is a lot more room for teaching and player growth. While with varsity, there is more room for myself, as a coach, to experiment with my team.
Your team just won a state championship. What does the future hold for the group?
When you work your way up this far there is no way to go but down. With that being said, the focus is now on maintaining this progress and success created. The unique thing with high school soccer is that every year is a new year. With a new season coming up this fall, we will have to factor in the impact of new players. Helping new players come in and step into new roles will be extremely pivotal for our varsity team.
What do you hope resonated the most with your players?
Something I reiterated throughout the season, especially for seniors: Enjoy it, it goes quick, the season goes by fast, enjoy the time you have on the field.
Obviously you have enjoyed a lot of success this year. What is one experience as a coach where you faced hardship?
There was one season where we didn't win a single game. Trying to keep team morale high was a big struggle. Keeping players motivated was an important job and something that needed to happen. It may have been a hardship but it was pivotal for the seasons ahead. The team created and set new goals moving forward. Still, after that season I had to look at things in relation to my coaching style. It was critical to try and find new ways of motivation and make sure the focus was not just on winning and losing, but also on player growth.
Let’s switch gears. How did you feel about being named All-Metro boys soccer Co-Coach of the Year and how did your team react?
Of course, like anyone else would, I felt happy. It is a big award to receive. It was also an unexpected surprise. The team found out at different times. I did not want the attention on me. The only reason I received this award was because of the path my players have created this season.
What has been your favorite moment from this season?
It would have to be the team spirit. Seeing the team together on and off the field is something special. Everything from the on the field adrenaline to the excitement of the bus rides, especially after a win would have to be a season highlight.