by Eric Oslund
On June 13, the Spectrum Sting introduced their new girls soccer coach Dana Gibson during a meet and greet. It was a new situation for him to be in because, even though he has been coaching soccer for years, this will be his first time taking over a high school program.
As an individual, Gibson played soccer in high school, college, and, until recently, in a men’s league. He has also been coaching club teams for a number of years, which includes a currently undefeated U-19 boys team in Coon Rapids.
He has found a lot of success working as a coach at the club level, so he felt it was time to make the natural transition into the high school level, and Spectrum just felt like a perfect place to start.
“I guess the thing is, trying to establish myself as a high school coach, was not really interested, or kind of intimidated I should say more so, of getting into a larger AA high school. Not knowing what challenges I might face, or even if I’d be able to step into something like that,” Gibson explained. “I think a smaller-school atmosphere was really what kind of drew me to Spectrum.”
One of the biggest hurdles new coaches face at the start of their first season is trying to figure out what they have in terms of talent. What skills each of their players possess, how many players are planning to go out for the team, where the team’s strengths and weaknesses lie, etc.
Gibson is trying to get a head start on learning all these things, and also hoping to get the girls back in soccer shape, by hosting weekly Tuesday practices starting July 11 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. at the Spectrum athletic fields.
“It’s just more of, as I put it when I had a meet and greet a few weeks back, kind of re-acquainting yourself with a soccer ball,” the new coach explained. “Re-acquainting yourself with the movements on the soccer field, and the biggest thing is conditioning. I did suggest to the gals who had shown up at that meet and greet, ‘The more you can do now instead of waiting until August when we start practices, the more in shape and ready to go you’re going to be. And you’re going to have a lot more gas in the tanks later in the season as well.’”
He wants to make sure all of his players know that these practices are not mandatory, and no one will be shunned for not taking part in them. They are just just going to be a nice way for him to get to know everyone, and for the girls to get back into playing shape so they can hit the ground running once the season starts.
Gibson also made it a point to say that anyone is welcome to these practices. You did not have to be a part of the team last season to participate.
“Anyone who is interested in playing – if you had the interest to play soccer, but didn’t think you could – just come out. Give it a try,” he said. “There is absolutely no obligation. Come out, kick it around for a couple days. If it works for you, great, we’d like to, as I said, development. If we could get a ninth grade team all the way up, three or four teams all the way up through varsity, that would be fantastic.”
As far as expectations for his first season, apart from trying to have multiple teams to work with, Gibson is just hoping he can help his players on and off the field. Help them improve their game and grow as individuals.
He isn’t so much worried about the wins and losses, but developing his players into the best they can be.