After 17 of some of the most successful seasons that the men’s soccer team has ever had, new head coach Morgan Cathey and the players on the men’s soccer team set out to find a winning formula in order to continue the success they had in previous years. Though former head coach Sean Bushéy’s coaching experience was key to the men’s 13th place standing in the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) last season, Cathey also has a passion for his job, assistant coach Bryan Olson said.
“I thought it was gonna be difficult at first, having Sean [Bushéy] as the original coach, and I was kind of scared that bringing someone new was gonna change everything,” senior midfielder Sam Selisch said. “But after going along with it, it wasn’t bad at all. He’s been a good listener and open to our ideas, about things that aren’t working so well and things that are working well. It’s been easy to communicate with him and to share ideas about soccer.”
Cathey has carried on many of the same philosophies as Bushéy, which made practice similar to last year, sophomore forward Samuel Jarrett said.
“Style of play, hard work, work ethic and the emphasis on the entire team being part of the program is still there, which is definitely very similar to how coach Bushéy did it last year,” Jarrett said.
Though the coaching styles of both Cathey and Bushéy are quite similar, Cathey brought some new ideas and new techniques with him, Olson said.
“Cathey’s experience as a player and a coach overseas also provide him with a great viewpoint on the game,” Olson said. “He also has one of the best half volley techniques I have ever seen which is probably one of his greatest strengths.”
To ensure that the players would be comfortable being coached by him, Cathey aimed to have a good relationship with the team and got to know the players on a personal level.
“At the very start of the season, he emphasized communication a lot, so he had a one-on-one interview with every player and got to know each of us personally,” Jarrett said. “He talked about how to motivate us and how to get the most out of us during practice.”
During practices, Cathey wants to motivate and get the most out of the players, he also wants them to have fun at the same time.
“One time when he played with us, he tried maybe four or five volleys. You could tell that it brought him energy,” junior midfielder Matt Bray said. “It took him back to his playing days when he was still a player, and it was fun to see him playing out there and trying to mix it up while playing with us.”
Cathey has the soccer philosophy of keeping the ball and scoring as early and often as possible, Bray said.
Cathey not only wants the men to have fun during practice, but also during games. He emphasizes how the men need to play good soccer, and play the Whitworth way: a position-based style of play with more of an attacking mindset, the way the Pirate players already know how, Jarrett said.
“Coach Cathey always reminds the players that it is not about results. Success is about giving everything of yourself for a greater purpose than just the result of a game,” Olson said.
Though soccer is important, Cathey wants the players to understand that it is not just about soccer but also about being part of and serving the community, Larson said. During training camp, before classes start, the team divided up and volunteered at the Boys and Girls club and at “Peak 7,” a nonprofit organization targeted at taking young people outdoors for activities such as whitewater rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, and backpacking trips.
“One of the pillars of the program is being about others, being selfless. But we can’t just say that, we have to go out and actually do that,” Cathey said. “The guys can realize that soccer is a great game we are very privileged to play, but in life, soccer is not always gonna be there, and we have a great opportunity right now and throughout our whole lives to serve those who are in need. It’s also a great tool for getting our guys together. It brings unity.”
The passion that Cathey displays encourages players to set goals and strive to achieve them through effort and determination.
“Cathey brings a lot of energy to the program. He is very enthusiastic and is driven. He is motivated and sets a really high goal for our team, such as going to the national championship,” senior defender Andrew Flint said. “He says it and he believes it, and he coaches you in a way to get you there.”
Jessica Razanadrakoto Staff Writer
Contact Jessica Razanadrakoto at firstname.lastname@example.org