The Mendota boys soccer team has already started summer practices as it prepares for the fall season.
With most of the team returning, there is only one glaring difference — the coach.
Nick Myers, a 2004 MHS graduate and former Trojans soccer coach, is replacing Jason Artman — who resigned after the girls team played in a regional final — as the boys and girls soccer coach this school year.
“They have had a lot of success lately,” Myers said. “My last year coaching at (MHS) in 2012, we kind of started to get a solid program going. They’ve maintained it and they have been really solid the last few years, including going to a sectional championship last season.
“Who knows how far the boys could have went the year before (two seasons ago) if they didn’t have the disqualification incident. It’s a good group. The foundation has been set. They have a nice core coming back. We’ve lost a few key contributors but there is still a nice nucleus there and a good incoming freshman class.
“There is a lot of excitement. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Myers was the 2003 NewsTribune Boys Soccer Player of the Year before coaching the MHS boys (2010-12) and the girls (2010) and becoming the Earlville athletic director (2016-18).
With a job change — he is now a sales representative for Euclid Beverage — Myers’ schedule allows him the hours he needs to efficiently coach the soccer program.
“It’s really great. I knew when I left before — I had to leave because of different job opportunities — I wanted to come back,” Myers said. “I definitely wanted to be a head coach again. Being able to come back to my hometown and being able to coach is a really special feeling.”
Myers added some of the players on the boys team have brothers and sisters who were on the teams he coached when he was on the sideline before.
With the players knowing of him and his style of play, the transition period has been seamless.
“A big component of mine has always been you have to have team chemistry,” Myers said. “You have to have a team that gets along. That is something I built the last time I was here. We had a group of kids who didn’t get along and we built team chemistry. I’ve already noticed that this team gets along really well. There is great team chemistry.
“One of the things I do want to install is that I want to play an uptempo style of soccer. A lot of the building blocks for a solid team and a solid program have already been put in place. I will change a few things around my style of play, but the great thing is I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. They already know how to play and they play well.”
With Artman’s resignation, MHS athletic director Steve Hanson was on the lookout for a new coach.
It didn’t take long to find Myers as he applied when he was told about the opening. After the interview process, Hanson knew he found his guy.
“Clearly Nick loves the game of soccer and he’s been involved in soccer,” Hanson said. “He has the knowledge and passion for the game. Our programs are in great shape right now. Mr. Artman did a great job of keeping the program up and we’ve had some success recently.
“I think Nick is the right guy to take it to the next level. Hopefully, he can build off of what we have here and continue to grow the program. Soccer is our strongest program at Mendota. Our numbers are really strong for both the boys and the girls and for the next few years we should still be very strong.We needed somebody with the knowledge and the skills to lead the program.”
Brandon LaChance can be reached at 220-6995, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_LaChance.