Soccer

Mitchell High School boys soccer is implementing new culture with first-time head coach

Mitchell High School boys soccer is implementing new culture with first-time head coach

The Mitchell boys soccer team has a new first-time head coach coming into this season with varied experience, hoping to establish a competitive culture as the cornerstone of this team’s success.

In the recent past, the program has been struggling. They’ve won a combined five games over the previous three seasons and the last time the team won more than two games in an individual season was 2014.

MHS coach Sean McQuillan said rather than building a team, they are building a program and even though this process will be tough, it will be more rewarding in the end.

“I know that the program is not necessarily one that’s known for winning games, but what I’m trying to install is not winning or losing, it’s being competitive,” McQuillan said. “Being competitive will be keeping the games closer and if we can keep the games closer, then we can get one of two results and the wins and losses will be byproducts of how we portray ourselves.”

McQuillan, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, played at Division III Greenville University (Ill.) from 2009 to 2013 and helped the Panthers to the NCAA Tournament in the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Before being hired as Mitchell’s boys soccer coach, McQuillan was assisting the Dakota Wesleyan University women’s program. He intended on helping Ken Novak, the Kernels previous coach for the last six seasons, during the 2020 season but due to COVID-19 restrictions, he wasn’t able to.

McQuillan’s first practice with the team was on Aug. 2 and while he has implemented different passing and possession drills, he still is learning what team he is working with.

“Obviously some boys haven’t done this before so what’s easy for me or for one or two other players, may not be easy for them,” McQuillan said. “I’m just trying to gage who I’ve got and how I can do things.”

Mitchell is entering this season with Wyatt Haibeck returning as the lone senior, along with juniors Kaileb Hubbard and Brenen Rose. These three players will be captains of a young team that include six sophomores, two freshmen, five eighth graders and four seventh graders.

Despite the team being so young, McQuillan finds it to be a positive because the situation is “moldable.”

McQuillan still hasn’t seen his team play against any competition thus far and said the team will have to take the season game-by-game as far as the game plan.

“I don’t know the teams that we’re up against necessarily, I know previous scores,” McQuillan said. “One of the things I’ve been talking to the boys about is we’re going to earn respect against everybody we play against. I don’t care what happened last year.”

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