For high school football coaches in their 20s, being relatable goes a long way

Greg Weisbecker is in his 2d 12 months as head trainer at Justice Top College. (Jeff Jones)

When Greg Weisbecker interviewed to be the top soccer trainer at Justice Top College, he used to be 25 years previous and had one giant factor going for him: this college knew him. Two seasons previous, he had joined the team of workers at Justice, then referred to as J.E.B. Stuart, proper out of school. That familiarity used to be the largest software Weisbecker needed to make amends for his age and inexperience.

“If I used to be going to a random faculty, up in opposition to the percentages, then I wouldn’t have got it,” he mentioned.

In his debut season, Weisbecker led this system to its 2d successful season since 1995. Now 26, he’s nonetheless the youngest head trainer in Northern Virginia.

Weisbecker isn’t the one head trainer within the house nonetheless in his 20s. And even though they feared adolescence may have bruised their resumes all through process interviews, those coaches are actually looking for tactics to make use of it as an asset.

“I attempt to do previous issues in a brand new, trendy approach,” Dominion trainer Drake Woodard, 29, mentioned. “Children are other now. They concentrate to other tune, they’ve other pursuits. So it’s a must to relate and display your avid gamers that you just care about them and be sure that courting is there. After which it’s a must to improve them up.”

Woodard is in his first season with the Titans, some other native program looking to construct a legacy. Dominion has had simply 4 successful seasons because the faculty opened in 2003. Woodard, who coached on the school degree for 5 years earlier than becoming a member of Rock Ridge because the defensive coordinator remaining season, used to be employed to exchange longtime trainer Karl Buckwalter.

He spent a large number of time round highschool techniques as a school recruiter and mentioned the extent of “concern” round soccer in Loudoun County stunned him. It may well be one reason for the college’s low participation degree. The Titans program these days has simply 41 varsity avid gamers, no junior varsity squad and a freshman group of 18.

The stereotypical, often-glamorized thought of a highschool soccer trainer — stoic, smart, inaccessible, feared — not jibes with the qualities and duties required. These days, it is helping if coaches can navigate social media — the place their avid gamers are prolific — they usually will have to be delicate to the converting nature of a game by which there’s a rising focal point on participant protection and psychological well being.

Weisbecker tries to guide Justice with what landed him the process: familiarity. He mentioned his function is to hook up with his avid gamers to the purpose that soccer turns into greater than an after-school task for them.

“Our children may want any person to mention ‘Hi there, that is what you wish to have to do to achieve success, to be a person, to visit school,’ ” Weisbecker mentioned. “And soccer is the direction that we will get them to shop for in and accept as true with us. However the place I grew up, and somewhere else I’ve been, coaches may simply have the ability to roll it out and concentrate on soccer.”

Each Weisbecker and Woodard mentioned social media and different generation makes it more uncomplicated to hook up with avid gamers however more difficult for everybody to concentrate on soccer. Whilst programs similar to GroupMe, Remind, Google Doctors, Huddle, Twitter and Fb are actually an integral a part of getting phrase out or selling the group on-line, they are able to supply distractions.

“You notice guys worrying a lot more in regards to the Instagram put up in entrance of the reflect with the uniform on as a substitute of the stats you had that recreation,” Woodard mentioned. “However that’s existence these days.”

For younger coaches similar to Woodard and Weisbecker, youngsters’ pursuits are rather acquainted. What’s new to those coaches is laying down the regulation. As assistants, a extra private, hands-on manner may do wonders with the avid gamers. However within the best process, they really feel the want to be extra authoritative.

“I’m extra of the dangerous cop now,” Woodard mentioned. “My assistants are the great law enforcement officials, and I’m the dangerous cop. It’s what it’s.”

Each techniques have got off to a rocky get started this season, going Zero-2. On Friday night time, Justice will trip to Annandale and Dominion will host Extensive Run. With every recreation, each younger coaches develop extra relaxed and assured of their manner.

“I didn’t have a doubt that I may do it,” Weisbecker mentioned. “However it used to be a question of being depended on.”

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