In late November, Memorial’s long standing boys and girls soccer coach, coach Voss, announced his plan to resign after the 2017-18 season. The announcement came as a shock to most players, as he had kept the plan under wraps throughout the entire boys season.
We had the incredible opportunity to have Coach Voss sit down with us and explain the details surrounding his retirement for the school community.
- First, how long have you been coaching soccer for Memorial?
I’ve coached for girls soccer team for 10 years, and the boys soccer team for 16 years.
The Memorial soccer program started in the late 70s, with only 3 head coaches for both the boys and girls teams. I believe consistency is key. It essentially lays out the foundation for the type of people we are as the Memorial soccer team.
- How would you describe your many years of experience in coaching the girls’ and boys’ teams?
Definitely fun, definitely meaningful. I had the chance to meet so many cool people–including kids, families, and coaches–and teach kids lessons about things both on and off the field. Some of the lessons I try to teach are topics like how to be a better person, handle stress, and manage tough situations.
-fitting to learning styles/manage players-
I also learned a lot about how to manage players and student athletes. Being a soccer coach took a lot of structure and organization, especially when your goal was to teach kids about more than just purely soccer. I liked the challenge of reaching kids not just in game, but also with life lessons. Being a part of the soccer team actually forces kids to learn a lot of life skills, like responsible time management (showing up to practice by 4:00pm daily takes a lot of planning), commitment, and how to treat other people. I always strove to hammer in the idea that wearing the name Memorial on your jersey means you were representing yourself, your family, your program, your team, and your school.
- What were your reasons for resigning?
I chose to resign from my position as the Memorial Head Soccer Coach because it was important for me to be a better parent. I want to be able to spend more time with my three kids and their events, extracurriculars, and basically, be a more active dad. To even break the news, it was a decision that was heavily thought out. When the day came for my announcement, it was a really hard day, but I did need to provide closure to some close relationships. Furthermore, to be fair to both teams, I had to resign from both.
While the thought far at the back of my mind during the boys soccer season this August, I did not want the season or banquet to be about me. It was for my players. A week before the season began, the Waunakee soccer coach position was available, so I had a solid 2 ½ months to think over my choice.
This choice is not completely personal; rather, it is a compromise. While I keep soccer in my life, I will also keep it with an aspect of community. This is my way of giving back to the soccer community that has taught me so many incredible life lessons. Currently, I’m doing what I can do to make sure the Memorial soccer teams are in good hands.
- How long have you played soccer yourself?
A long time. I actually started playing with elementary school soccer, then continued it throughout high school. Personally, I liked soccer because my parents didn’t know a lot about it so it was really my own thing that I did.
I think I may be speaking for a lot of soccer players here when I say I love soccer because it’s a true player’s sport. There’s no play calling, no running plays, no time outs, and no breaks except for a ten minute halftime. It’s really rewarding to see the team stay in a game against a team that should beat us or to see the team upset someone else.
Also, from my many years of playing soccer, I’ve come to understand that players are really the ones who execute it on the field, not the coaches.
- How did you first become the soccer coach here at Memorial?
I was recruited to be the third head soccer coach ever in the history of Memorial soccer by Tim Patton. Tim, who is the husband of current teacher Mrs. Patton, was the head soccer coach during the season that I had been the JV girls and boys coach, so when he moved on to become a police officer, I stepped in to coach both the boys and girls soccer teams. I was excited to get involved with a sport I loved, and I had a lot of free time back then, being single with no kids and a first year teacher at Memorial.
Also, I’m excited about the new coach because they’re someone who’s been in the program before.
- What’s your favorite memory with the teams?
Well, winning is always great. We actually won the boys state championships in 2006, got runner-up in 2009, and have gone to state 3 times for the boys and 2 times for the girls. I personally liked the times that the team made it to the championships, because those were times where the entire school united around a single theme and got involved. Memorial is a great community, but the best moments are when Memorial is connected by school pride and everyone gets to take a day off, buy t-shirts, and really come together to support their school’s team.
Outside of winning, I really appreciate the relationships I’ve built over the years. I’ve attended weddings for former players, and met their kids. It’s great to stay in touch with all of these amazing Spartans over the years. In fact, on the day that I announced my decision to resign, I was touched by the number of emails, phone calls and text messages I received from former players telling me about the meaningful experiences they had through Memorial Soccer.
- Any lasting words or thoughts for the soccer teams?
To returning players and future players, make sure that you are playing soccer for the right reasons. It should be something that you want to do and it should not depend on who the next coach will be. Your commitment and interest is what I’ve helped guide, and having a new coach can’t change your dedication to the Memorial soccer team. A new coach will mean that everybody will start with a clean slate and prove to themselves that they want to play the game, work hard, and give their best effort.
—Coaches provide structure, Student provide commitment—
Four rules I run by: Listen, Learn, Compete, and Have Fun. Remember, these apply not only on the field, but also in life. So, at the end of the day, it’s important that you do the best you can and compete to improve yourself.
From all of us at Sword & Shield and JMM, we wish Coach Voss the best of luck on his future endeavors, and can’t wait to cheer Memorial’s amazing soccer teams on to future victories.