Pittsburg High introduced Sean Lauderdale as the new head soccer coach Monday afternoon.
“I’ve been coaching competitive soccer for about 10 years,” Lauderdale said. “Some of you may know that I’ve been the coach of one of the largest clubs in the Joplin region, currently with Midwest Soccer. . . . We have a history of success with Midwest Soccer. We take our players and travel throughout the country playing soccer.
“Although I bring knowledge to the table about how to train players, how to teach players formation and how to be successful in the pitch, players have to execute. Soccer is unlike any other sport. Like American football, where a coach is calling in a play constantly. Players in soccer have to be smart enough to know what’s expected of them and have the skills to execute that on the pitch without a coach on the bench screaming out at them what to do.
“If you can’t do the fundamentals of soccer, which is to receive the ball out of the air, on your chest, on your thigh, on your foot, on multiple surfaces of your foot, you cannot play. You may be the fastest player out there but if you can’t control the ball, you’re no good to a soccer team.”
Lauderdale is an assistant professor of psychology and counseling at Pittsburg State. He teaches everything from General Psychology and Developmental Psychology to Abnormal Psychology and Child Personality Assessment, mindsets which might come in handy coaching young people.
“Knowing and being able to appreciate what a player’s thinking and feeling is critically important to be able to help them perform at their best,” Lauderdale said. “It begins with the basics, talking with a player, seeing where they’re at, helping them to appreciate what their role is on the team.”
Lauderdale had a chance to watch Pittsburg — a young team featuring several freshmen and sophomores who started or played key roles on a 9-7 finisher — a lot this past season, with his son Sullivan one of those contributing younger players.
“We’ve been very fortunate that soccer’s growing in this area,” Lauderdale said. “There’s a number of competitive clubs such as SEK Soccer Academy, Midwest Select Soccer in Joplin. They’ve been doing a lot of ground work in developing players and that’s going to enhance the high school program in the long run. We’re very excited to be able to work with them and excited that they’re developing players so when they get to the high school level, we can build on that strong foundation.”
Pittsburg, a co-ed co-op between Pittsburg and St. Mary’s Colgan, graduated five seniors on a 22-player roster.