Zach Wilson received what he referred to as the call of a lifetime earlier this week.
The longtime Van Horn High School boys assistant soccer coach received a call from activities director Chris Corrie that he had been named the Falcons’ new girls soccer head coach.
“It’s so exciting,” Wilson said, “one of those calls you wait your entire life to receive. I was an assistant coach for the boys four years and I was an assistant for the girls three years – although I took the past two years off from coaching the girls team.
“I’ve been teaching at Van Horn and know all the girls on the team, so it will be a seamless transition. I just wish I could meet face to face with the girls, but we’ll have to do all that – for now – over the internet.”
Vanessa Brockmire was going to be entering her final season as the girls coach this spring, but with the coronavirus quarantine ending all spring sports programs, the search began for a new coach.
“Vanessa decided to step away from coaching for a while,” Wilson said, “and she’s going to be teaching out in Grain Valley. She did a great job while she was here, and I hope to continue the success of the program, which I think we can do with some generational-type players who only come along once in a while. And you really get excited when you see that type of talent on the field.”
This is Wilson’s second head coaching opportunity. He was a head coach of the girls soccer program at Schlagle in Kansas City, Kansas, before teaching and coaching at Van Horn the past five years.
He has already developed a coaching philosophy that is precise and to the point.
“There are four components to my plan, with the biggest being commitment,” Wilson said. “The girls soccer season is in the spring, and so many players are thinking about everything but soccer. Some may be thinking about graduating, others about the end of school, but while they are at practice and playing, I expect total commitment.
“The second – and it goes right along with commitment – is hard work. If you are on the field practicing or playing, I want them to work hard. And I don’t think it should be an issue for any of our players. They have always had a great work ethic.
“I want them to understand the importance of commitment, working hard and realizing that while we are together as a team, we need everyone to understand that we are together to learn about and play soccer.
“And the fourth component I want, is for our players to have a positive outlook and to consider the soccer team a family. I want them to know how much I care for them, and I want them to know that each of their teammates care for them. When you’re playing for someone you really care about, like a family member, you’re going to want to do well for yourself and your teammates.”
While it will be nearly a year before he can stand on the sidelines with his new team, he can’t wait for that moment to take place next spring.
“My heart is here at Van Horn,” Wilson said. “There is no place else I want to teach or coach and I can’t wait to start working with our girls, whenever that happens to be.”