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MAKE WAY FOR MCNELEY

Evan McNeley to become new boys soccer head coach

Jezza Hutto, Sports Editor

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Evan McNeley steps into the position of the boy’s varsity soccer head coach, after the resignation of coach Adam Tajan.

McNeley played soccer at Oregon State University and then in 2005 went on to play professional indoor soccer. He has rostered on 7 professional indoor teams during his career, and currently plays for the Tacoma Stars.

His coaching career took off in Sandpoint at a local camp and since then, he has coached for multiple colleges and club teams. After coaching a very successful club team in California, he realized that he wanted to coach the high school age group.

McNeley was especially excited to be able to have the opportunity to coach at Sandpoint High School because he loves the community, and believes he can make an impact on the program and the players.

“I’ve found that there’s no other  place [for me] than with the people of Sandpoint, and with the history and how soccer is very rich within the community of Sandpoint,” McNeley said, “It’s just privilege to be able to coach in the place where I want to spend the rest of my life.”

When it comes to the team’s style of play, McNeley likes to stay organized, maintain possession and intends to make sure everyone knows their defensive responsibilities, while leading exciting counter attacks by using the width of the field.

“Tajan was more about scoring goals and making sure we always got the W, but Evan’s more about making sure we look good, which has definitely still brought the W,” Senior Noah Hastings said.

Despite the differences from coach Tajan, the  passion  that McNeley has for the game and his desire to help guide players on and off the field make for  a coaching  style that is easy to adapt to for most of the team. “The boys are dedicated, hungry and adapting very nicely to my coaching style,” he said.

So far, the players are enjoying Evan’s coaching and his personality on and off the field. “He’s a good guy, and fun to be around,” Hastings said.

After a disappointing outcome at the state tournament in 2016, the boys are looking to take the state title this season, and they may have a good chance, with the changes in tactics, players and coaching. For McNeley, however, that is not the number one goal.

“My goal is to play each and every game to the best of our ability and to produce quality students and athletes. My primary focus is getting these kids ready  for  the real world,” McNeley said.

He  is looking forward to what is to come during his coaching career at Sandpoint High School and hopes to create an organized and successful group of quality young athletes and people.

 

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