Q/A with Rider girls head soccer coach Carl Wiersema

Sheridan Allen, Reporter/ Photographer

The Rider girls soccer team had a good start to the 2020 season winning their first seven games. The Rider Chronicle sat down with head coach Carl Wiersema to talk about keys to the strong start, standout players and soon reaching an impressive coaching milestone as he enters the week with 497 victories.  

Q: What have been the keys behind the good start of the season this year?

A: I think it has been our girls playing together as a team. We have a lot of girls that can play a lot of different positions and they will do whatever it takes to have the team win, so it’s a good team we have at this school. 

Q: How much better do you feel about your team after your first few games? 

A: A lot better. We had to replace seven starters from last year, and we’re pretty young. We only have five seniors, so going into this year there were a lot of questions and I think we were able to answer a lot of questions this weekend.

Q: Who are your key returning players? 

A: Emily Jackson, we call her Salty, Haley Bragg, both seniors, Mia Bowman, senior captain. In fact Haley and Salty are both captains as well. Mindy Shoffit another captain, senior. Those four are really kind of the backbone and then we had some other good additions Makenzi Renfro has stepped up and done real well. Aubrey Glidewell is a freshman playing on varsity and she’s doing well. Consistently top to bottom we have a pretty solid team.  

Q: Who are some new players you expect to make an impact on the team? 

A: Jadyn Lopez is a sophomore up on varsity and Ashlynn Knight is another freshman that we’re sharing with basketball right now, so whenever we have her, she makes an impact and does well. Kristen Toliver has really stepped up and acquire a starting role and is doing very well.

Q: Have your expectations changed for the team this year?

A: Yes. With the success of this weekend we’re raising the bar as we go, so with each accomplishment we just wanna be a little better than next time.

Q: How has your coaching in girls soccer changed within the last 25 years? 

A: When I first started I’d just come out of college, coaching men so the first five to ten years I was really just coaching soccer and I’d tell the girls ‘doesn’t matter whether you’re a girl or a boy I’m gonna coach soccer and I’m gonna hold you to the standards.’ We really push hard. I think  in the last 15 years society has changed a little bit so I’m a little less stern, more understanding and try and get the relationship side of the coach athlete a little more intact.

Q: How do you feel about coming up to your 500th win? What does it mean to you? 

A: It’s exciting. It just shows how many great players we had coming through Rider High School because without them we don’t get those victories. It’s a pretty high standard in the state of Texas. There’s not many people that are higher than that, so it’s kind of exciting. It means that I’ve been around a long time, a long time and had good athletes. When I first started coaching I took a lot of coaching courses, and licenses so I think the education in coaching is very important and it means that we’ve had some great athletes come through our school.