By Jack Ankony, executive sports editor
A new, eager face has been named the head coach of the varsity boys’ soccer team. Previously the Freshman A coach for 15 years, Michael Andrews will take over duties from former head coach Paul Elkins.
“When coach Elkins told us he was stepping down, it was a no-brainer. It was an immediate decision for me,” Andrews said. “I kind of already had it in my head that if the position ever opened up, now is the time to step up.”
Andrews comes into his new job hoping to immediately cultivate strong work ethic and intensity throughout the program. He thinks that being at Prospect gives him a great opportunity to do this.
“Prospect is such an amazing place,” Andrews said. “It is such an amazing community as a whole, whether that is as a student, a teacher, to play a sport. We really just want to build off that positive energy here.”
Andrews had a meeting with the players a few months ago before he was named the head coach to go over offseason expectations. However, now that the head coaching job is his, he has sat down with some players to go over goals for the upcoming season.
“I think the bottom line is if we really want to have a successful season, we can’t wait till August to actually start,” Andrews said. “The season starts immediately after a few days after tryouts so if we want to be physically dominant, that has to start now.”
So far, the team has begun workouts in the weight room, and Andrews has encouraged them to get outside to practice since the team can’t have organized practices during the offseason. Andrews explains that his motto so far has been to train with the same intensity as you play with in the game.
When it comes to tactical decisions, Andrews will decide that closer to the season, but he knows already that he wants the team to generate an attack on offense that will be more creative and less predictable.
“The best teams can maintain position and move the ball with speed and accuracy and just wear teams down,” Andrews said. “I want to play soccer the right way and again that takes skill and practice and discipline.”
As far as defense, Andrews holds high expectations.
“Those guys need to be absolute beasts in the back and win every ball,” Andrews said. “So it is a combination of physical readiness and ethical knowledge.”
Andrews believes that being the freshman coach and watching last year’s varsity team play, he has a good grasp of the players who will be on varsity next year. He expects the core of varsity returnees to step up and be leaders and for the younger players to bring positive energy to the program.
Andrews wants to emphasize that intensity will be important in order to be successful in his first season.
“I think the philosophy is going to be two-fold and to really emphasize the intensity in every single training opportunity,” Andrews said. “The intensity and discipline and focus. You train you like you play. There is the need to be physically ready, but there is also a lot of thought that goes into it.”
The biggest difference from last year, according to Andrews, will be the team’s energy.
“The big priority is that we want to step up the energy and intensity big time and just celebrate the entire experience start to finish,” Andrews said.
One thing Andrews has learned in his 15 years as coach is that time flies.
“It’s a short season and it goes by quickly,” Andrews said. “You see these guys come in as freshmen, you blink and all of a sudden they are graduating. Being in the program 15 years I see that and I try to emphasize that to them that you need to make the most of this while you have the opportunity.”
Overall, Andrews is excited to finally have the opportunity to be the head coach.
“I am proud to represent Prospect; the players are too,” Andrews said.