Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Sports

Springstead coaches, players learn from each other on soccer field

SPRING HILL — At the beginning of each season, Haleigh McDuff dumps handfuls of glitter into the bottom of her bag, enough to last an entire season.

Before each game she scoops out enough to sprinkle over her teammates' heads.

It's a tradition that started during her freshman year. The girls were making posters and had leftover glitter that "somehow just ended up in everyone's hair," McDuff said.

The Eagles were district champions that year, but they were about to experience a series of changes.

Several key players graduated that spring, and Scott Wern took the reins from coach Polo Furlong. Wern, who never played soccer and hadn't coached before, knew he would have to rebuild the team.

With the Eagles off to a 6-1-1 start this season, Wern believes the team is back.

"This will be a breakout year for us," he said. "I think we've got all the keys to be successful."

Wern doesn't take all of the credit for Springstead's success. Much of it, he said, belongs to David Hayes, who returns this year for his second season as an assistant coach.

"On paper I may be head coach, but I learn from him," Wern said. "I'm evolving, just like this program is."

Hayes' professional soccer career began in 1999, when he was selected in the third round of the MLS supplemental draft by D.C. United. He won several awards during his 12-year career, including USL Defender of the Year in 2007. He most recently played for FC Tampa Bay.

But Hayes has always been a teacher. He taught young athletes before he played professionally and continued coaching after being drafted. He said he prefers teaching the game to young women.

"If you're respectful, they'll run through a wall for you," Hayes said.

Wern said he knew he needed to surround himself with talented coaches if he was going to build a successful team. That's why he called Hayes, who worked at Hernando when Wern became head coach.

Hayes works with each of the girls to improve their technique. Though learning from a former professional could be intimidating, Hayes doesn't make it that way.

"He knows everything about soccer," junior Mackenzie Reiss said. "He's easy to talk to."

Wern's strength as head coach comes from a unique background. He worked as a respiratory therapist for 18 years before he became involved with the soccer team. His daughter, Renee, played at Springstead.

His time in health care helped him connect with the community, and now he uses those connections to raise money for the Eagles. Last year he raised $15,000 from local businesses and alumni.

The players say their goal for this year is to make it to state. Last year, Springstead was district runnerup. This year Wern would like to make it to the semifinals, and next year, he said they'll be ready for the final four.

"Each year you raise the bar a little bit higher," Wern said.



Comments

Girls soccer: Land O’Lakes 5, River Ridge 1

LAND O'LAKES – They might not have been ready to play at the very start, but Land O'Lakes came around. Sydney Nasello scored two goals as the Gators (8-2) took over first place in Class 3A, District 8 with a 5-1 defeat of visiting Riv...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Explosives? On 40-yard plays, Bucs among NFL’s worst

Explosives? On 40-yard plays, Bucs among NFL’s worst

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has key statistics that he puts great value in, finding a close correlation between success in those areas and success on the scoreboard. Winning the takeaway battle is always first among those priorities, but he and his staff...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Eagles confirm QB Wentz is done for season

Eagles confirm QB Wentz is done for season

PHILADELPHIA — Carson Wentz got the Eagles this far. Now, it’s up to Nick Foles to deliver Philadelphia its first Super Bowl title. Wentz has a torn left ACL and will miss the rest of the season and playoffs, forcing the NFC East champions to turn to...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Lions-Buccaneers Turning Point, Week 14: A coach's future hangs in the balance

Lions-Buccaneers Turning Point, Week 14: A coach's future hangs in the balance

TAMPA — The season started in August with “Hard Knocks,” packed bleachers at training camp and cheers for coach Dirk Koetter.It ended Sunday with a 24-21 loss to the Lions, a lot of empty seats and chants of “We want Gruden ba...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Tampa Bay Rays make a small deal, acquire INF Joey Wendle

While continuing discussions on bigger topics, the Rays made a small deal Monday, acquiring INF Joey Wendle from the A's for a player to be named later or cash.Wendle, 27, spent part of the last two seasons in the majors, hitting .266 over 36 games. ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 1

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 1

UPDATE, 6:14: The Rays continued talks with no major moves seemingly close, but did make a small deal, acquiring INF Joey Wendle from the A's. Wendle, 27, has spent parts of the last two seasons in the majors, hitting .266 in 36 games. He is a lefty ...
Updated: 8 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Dec. 11

Monday’s scoreboardGirls soccerDixie Hollins 4, Boca Ciega 0Palm Harbor U. 2, Countryside 2Osceola 7, Northeast 0Largo 1, Seminole 0Boys soccerIndian Rocks Chr. 3, Northside Chr. 1Palm Harbor U. 4, Countryside 1...
Updated: 9 hours ago
NBA-worst Bulls romp past shorthanded Celtics

NBA-worst Bulls romp past shorthanded Celtics

CHICAGO — Nikola Mirotic scored 24, Bobby Portis added a career-high 23 and the Bulls blew out Boston 108-85 on Monday night with Celtics star Kyrie Irving sidelined by a bruised left quadriceps.Owners of the NBA’s worst record, the Bulls built an 18...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Tuesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballMississippi State vs. Cincinnati7 p.m.ESPN2Fordham at Rutgers7 p.m.ESPNUSt. Peter’s at Seton Hall7 p.m.FS1Michigan at Texas9 p.m.ESPN2Albany at Memphis9 p.m.ESPNUNBALakers at Knicks7 p.m.ESPN76ers at Timberwolves9:30 p.m.ESPNNH...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Updated: 9 hours ago