The Wauseon boys soccer program is looking to turn a corner this fall when new coach Casey Elson takes over.
Elson, a 2007 graduate of Wauseon, served last season as assistant coach to previous coach Shawn Kaufmann.
“Casey has been involved with the boys soccer program both as a player and as an assistant coach. Having served as the assistant coach last season, Casey is familiar with the players in the program and has a strong passion for Wauseon High School,” said Wauseon Athletic Director Matt Hutchinson of the hire.
The new coach played four years of varsity soccer while at Wauseon, serving as Team Captain for three of those years. He is excited for the opportunity to lead the Indians.
“I was lucky enough to get a year experience as assistant coach last season,” said Elson. “I learned a lot from the previous coach and became more aware of the type of coach I want to be, and the type of team I want to lead. It was exciting to be getting a lot of the same players back, since we only lost two seniors last year, because they had a feel for me and my style of coaching. It was an easy transition, and everyone seems to be adjusting well.”
Elson credits being a parent to helping prepare him for his new role.
“Growing up my dad coached a lot of my teams, and it has always been a dream of mine to coach like him,” he explained. “I have four kids now, and they have given me the experience to teach and lead. I love kids and mine have definitely taught me patience. I think all this and my love for the game makes me ready.”
A common notion is that high school sports prepares one for various life situations. Elson subscribes to that line of thinking. The most important thing he wants his players to buy into is to persevere through the hard times.
“I’d like my players to not only learn to play the game of soccer well, but also look at these experiences as life lessons,” said the first-year coach. “Soccer is hard, it takes a lot of stamina to play at this level. I don’t want to see my players giving up because they aren’t playing how they expected to, or because they are tired. I want them to persevere and overcome obstacles. As long as they believe in themselves and don’t give up, like many obstacles that are going to come their way in the future, I will be proud. Also, sportsmanship is so important and I’d like my team to learn to respect each other, the opponents, and officials.”
Turning around the program is not likely to be an easy task for Elson. The Indians have struggled recently, including going 1-14-2 last season. However, the coach thinks he has a plan for getting them back on the right track.
“I think structure is what the program has been missing,” said Elson. “I plan to build not only the player’s relationship with each other, but also my relationship with them. We all have a common goal, so we need to work together to achieve it. I also want to see my team having fun, a good laugh helps bond the team and anyone who knows me will tell you, I like a good laugh.”
Hutchinson has confidence in the ability of his new coach as well.
“The past couple of seasons, the majority of our letter winners have been sophomores and freshmen,” he said. “The team has put forth great effort in every game but it’s difficult to be successful at the varsity level with so many young players. I have no doubt Casey will continue to emphasize the effort on the field and hopefully as our younger players transition into upperclassmen, they will use those past experiences to put themselves in a position to have a more successful year.”
Elson will not rush the process. He hopes to gradually build a successful program.
“My goal for this year is to see the team hold more confidence,” said the coach. “We are young, but we have a lot of talent. I’d like for them to have fun, work hard, and enjoy the game.”
Wauseon will begin the season Friday, Aug. 17 at Rossford at 5 p.m. as part of a boys and girls doubleheader.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010