THS introduces new girls soccer coach
The Tonganoxie High School girls soccer team may be getting a familiar face as its new head coach, but that doesn’t mean the Chieftains should expect the same old status quo.
Justin Seever, an assistant with the THS girls since the program’s inception four years ago, was named as the team’s new head coach at a USD 464 school board meeting on June 14. He will replace Ken Lott, who was not retained by the school, and although Seever was a big part of the former regime, he wants to shake things up.
“Things are gonna be a lot different this year,” the new head coach predicted. “I felt like the competitive nature wasn’t there in the past couple years.”
As an assistant the previous four seasons at THS, Seever said one of the biggest problems he saw was a lack of competitive spirit at practices. He said some players who had a starting position locked up got too comfortable and felt as though they didn’t have to keep working. Additionally, he said players were at times tardy to practice without repercussions and sometimes the lack of overall effort made workouts feel more like a “social hour.” The new coach said that won’t fly with him because he wants to bring “the college practice mentality” to Tonganoxie.
Seever certainly has experience in that department. After playing two years at Neosho County Community College, he played at nearby University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, where he currently serves as an assistant coach for the USM women’s soccer team. The USM head coach, Derek Mazeitis, is also the new head coach at Basehor-Linwood High School.
Seever plans to bring a new level of work ethic to everything the Chieftains do.
“If you’re out here, you’re working your butt off every day,” Seever said of his expectations for the Tonganoxie players.
His desire to bring more intensity and organization to the program, as well as his familiarity with the players, THS athletics director Brandon Parker said, made Seever the best candidate for the job.
“He’s been involved since day one with the program,” Parker said. “He kind of sees where he would want to take it now.”
As far as goals for the 2011 season, Seever said he wants Tonganoxie to be over the .500 mark, win eight or more games, get out of the first round of regionals and have a “good, competitive spirit” throughout the program.
“We’re looking to get results and with this team that we have coming back right now, this is the best chance that we’ve had in a few years to win some games,” Seever opined.
The coach said the team has a good core group of players returning in Alex Bartels, Carson Simmons, Ashley Kotowske, Carlea Richert, Shyanne Gergick and Sarah Williams — all of whom have been a major part of the program since they were freshmen. Plus, Seever added, the Chieftains played some freshmen and sophomores this past season due to some injuries, so everyone who returns has some experience.
Seever said he is excited about this new step in his coaching career, which also includes assisting at USM in the fall and coaching the Leavenworth United club team.
“I feel like I’m in the best career choice I could possibly be in,” he said, noting his love for soccer. “My friends are all workin’ nine to five behind a desk and I get to deal with soccer day in, day out.”