By Tyler Urke in Sports
Sean Janson, who moved over to coach the women’s soccer team this year after serving as the No. 2 coach for the men, said he is turning to a few of his sophomore players to help develop his new squad.
Three sophomore captains serve as unofficial coaches on the field: defenders Krista Campbell and Jordan Hollamon and forward Tammy Hilgendorf.
“They act as a liaison between me and the rest of the team,” Janson said. “If something needs to be said, they’re more than willing to step up and say it. If the coach is the only guy saying stuff, it just kind of gets old after a while.”
Having veterans who serve as his voice on the pitch has been key according to Janson.
After winning three games in a row the first week of October, the team has a reasonable goal to win their division, he said.
“They’ve actually been quite helpful in implementing the things that I want with the entire team as far as the culture and stuff like that, so I’ve been really pleased with how they’ve kinda jumped on board and helped me,” Janson said.
Clark defeated the leader of the South Region, the Lane Titans, 3-2 on Sept. 27. Janson said the win felt great and that it was big for them because it let them know that if they play to their capabilities they can beat anyone in their division.
“We play hard in every game but if you don’t play hard in practice you can’t perform in a game like you want to because you’re not used to that speed,” Janson said.
“We have to do it consistently is the key,” he said.
Janson said the biggest surprise so far this year has been midfielder Brenna Bogle. The freshman from Skyview leads the team in goals with nine according to nwaacc.org.
“We’d be in real trouble without her,” Janson said.
“There’s a transition of the entire team learning how I like to do things and then me learning [the players] so that’s been a learning process,” Janson said. “But I think we are all on the same page now.”
“It could have been a lot worse, fortunately we have some really great sophomores,” he said. “Good players and good kids.”
Janson said they’ve also been great examples for how to handle oneself off the pitch and how to represent Clark.
His captains give a lot of the credit right back.
“Sean’s so great,” Campbell said. “He’s so calm, he knows how to handle his athletes, he knows how to motivate us and it’s always constructive criticism with him.”
“He’s very invested in us,” said Hilgendorf, the forward.
Janson said it really elevates their potential level of play when they’re playing for each other not against each other.
“They want to fight for each other,” he said.
As for the shift from teams, Janson said: “On the field I really think that people exaggerate the difference between coaching girls and guys. Soccer is soccer and you just coach them pretty much the same.”