Star soccer player begins coaching
Austin Knipp lies in bed at night and thinks about soccer.
In a way, not much has changed.
Knipp, 21, is one of the best players in Basehor-Linwood High School history. He scored 100 career high school goals and has the state record for career goals. He played on some successful Basehor-Linwood soccer teams and then collegiately for two years.
Now, though, he has turned his attention to coaching the game. He is a student at the University of Kansas and studying elementary education with an emphasis in business. He was named the Basehor-Linwood boys soccer coach after serving as an assistant last season.
Now, he thinks about soccer and contemplates what lineups to run, what offense the team will run and what the practice schedules will be. He thinks about how successful this team can be.
“If we can get everything going in the right direction, we should be pretty good,” he said. “We have a lot of talent coming back, and the older players are getting better. I think we will make a strong run this fall.”
Players on the team participate in summer weights programs and gather for practices on Sunday nights. Knipp is working on fostering an environment where players hang out after practices and become good friends. He wants to build chemistry on the team.
Soccer wise, he wants to work with the players on their passing and touch with the soccer ball. Knipp is stressing the importance of passing the ball. He doesn’t want the team to just kick it and run.
He hopes to guide the Bobcats back to success, though he acknowledges there are a lot of differences between coaching and playing.
“For me, being a player, I had a ton of focus,” he said. “I could somehow find a zone. I would be in zone the entire game. Coaching is definitely different. Instead of being a player and just focusing on your job, you have to worry about everything, parents, the kids, running formation, a bunch of adjustments.”
Knipp said he always wanted to be a coach, but never dreamed that it would happen this fast and certainly didn’t expect to coach the Bobcats. He also said it has been a little strange to walk into the Basehor-Linwood office and be addressed as coach rather than Austin.
“Oh yeah, it is still a little bit surreal,” he said. “I walk in and I have a key now. I never thought that I would have a key.”
He still plays a lot of soccer. He is on a fall league team in Leavenworth and plays at the recreation center at Kansas.
While he misses playing competitive soccer, he is excited about the opportunity to coach the Bobcats.
“I definitely miss it. Watching the World Cup this summer, I miss it more,” he said. “Being around the game brings it a sense of joy.”
Basehor-Linwood will have a high school camp in July and practice begins on Aug. 23. Athletes are participating in the school’s summer weights program and having voluntary practices on Sunday evenings.
In addition to Knipp, Basehor-Linwood has hired Jeff Stromme to serve as an assistant coach for the team.