Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Goodbye Coach

Several months ago Doug talked to me about coaching soccer next fall.  With the added commitments to his work responsibilities since the company was bought by Rev Group, he was concerned about the amount of time he would have available to coach soccer.  As the weeks went by we realized that his work load had increased and it would no longer be feasible to continue as a high school varsity soccer coach.  It was a tough decision for him, but even with our family's support and help it just wouldn't work.  This week he told his team, turned in his keys and put in an official letter of resignation.  He was sad to say goodbye, but knew it was for the best.

It will be strange not to have Doug coaching a sport this coming school year, especially soccer.  He has been coaching soccer since we first started dating in the in early 90s.  From those weekly games at the YMCA to now, Doug has made youth soccer an important part of his life.  When we moved to Indiana he began coaching at the LYC and later became president of their board, all with the main objective to grow the soccer program in our community.  He loved playing the sport when he was younger and wanted to share that experience with others.  He brought years of experience to a program that needed guidance and was proud to watch the enthusiasm for soccer increase over the years.

As the Heinisch children entered high school Doug decided to turn his support to Wawasee's soccer program.  He started as an assistant on the boys' team and thoroughly enjoyed coaching Cal and his teammates.  When both the boys and girls head coaching position came open the following season, he was offered his choice of either position.  As Cal had decided to move on to tennis his sophomore year,  Doug made the switch to the girls team.

It was a rough first year.  He inherited a team with only 11 members which was just enough to make a varsity roster.  To help the program grow he became instrumental in the start of a middle schools girls and boys soccer team.  He also spent countless hours recruiting players at all levels in all grades at the high school level.  He added a summer soccer camp that both the boys and girls team shared responsibilities for.  He offered open fields in the offseason, signed his team up for a 7 on 7 league in the summer and encouraged them to play indoor soccer in the winter.  He knew that the only way the team would improve would be to increase the amount of soccer they played.  His hard work paid off as the program tripled in numbers and the girls this past fall scored more goals in one game than they did in all of his seasons before.

I asked him this week if he had a favorite memory from coaching soccer.  He could name many including the LYC championships that he coached the Heinisch children to, the time Cal got tired of defending against a Camargo's fancy moves, so he picked him up and threw him out of bounds, and the reaction of the high school bench when Cal took a shot to the face from close range and never flinched.  His favorite moment of all, however, occurred in the last regular season game this year.  Meg had control of the ball outside of the box with her back to the goal.  She faked one way, spun around and scored on a shot to the corner of the goal from 20 yards out that the goalie had no chance at.  It was a great way to end a fantastic run.

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