Roaring Fork soccer hires coach; season is a go
It’s been a hectic week for everyone involved in Roaring Fork High School soccer.
As recently as Monday the program didn’t have a coach, and, more important, the soccer program was in danger of forfeiting its season due to a lack of interest.
The players, however, practiced throughout the week, preparing for what they hoped was a season in a Rams jersey.
On Friday, Roaring Fork athletic director Larry Williams announced Missouri Heights resident Mike Baumli would coach the squad and it would compete in its full 2002 varsity schedule.
“I really wanted to play, and it was kind of shaky there for a couple of days,” returning senior Jon Holton said. “It would have been a bummer to have to play for somebody else.”
At a meeting Tuesday to assess the state of the Rams soccer team, 12 players showed up. It was decided that Baumli would run practices throughout the week in hopes that more players would join the program. By Friday, 15 players were committed to the team with more expected.
“Usually when school starts we end up getting a couple more kids,” Williams said. “We actually have more kids right now than we had at this time last year.”
And the Rams have a leader in Baumli.
The Roaring Fork job will be Baumli’s first as a head coach, though he has a wealth of experience as a player and other intangibles, according to Williams.
“The big thing that impressed me with Mike was, even though he doesn’t have a lot of coaching experience, he is consistent with the values we’re trying to teach our athletes – fundamentals and the importance of character and family,” Williams said.
“That’s not to downplay his knowledge of soccer, which also impressed me. But he’s not only going to be coaching the skills of soccer, he’s going to be coaching the skills of life.”
What Baumli lacks in direct coaching experience he makes up for in general soccer experience.
Baumli – who turns 40 in October, the same month he and wife Darla expect their first child – played soccer for 27 years. Until he was 36 he played in the Colorado Amateur Soccer League under coaches like Dave Clemens and Dave MacKenzie. Clemens is a former member of the Irish International team and played with Pele on the New York Cosmos of the now defunct North American Soccer League. MacKenzie played for the Celtic United team in Glasgow of the Scottish Premiere Division.
“Both of those guys had huge influences on me,” Baumli said.
One of those influences being the importance of conditioning. In the first three days of practices, Baumli incorporated ball-handling into a number of conditioning drills with the players, then got into the dirty work of having the players reacquaint themselves with the muscles that may have been neglected over the summer.
“We’ve been playing until dark, then doing some running after that,” he said.
“The seniors on the team are really passionate about the game and really accepted the challenge and stepped up to the plate,” he added. “They push the younger players and I think there’s a lot of potential for the program.”
Roaring Fork opens its season Aug. 30 at the Demon Invitational at Gates Soccer Complex.
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