New BHS soccer coach excited for upcoming season
Mark Joslyn has been trying his hardest to prepare the Baldwin High School soccer team for the upcoming season during the summer.
He is the Bulldogs’ third coach in four years. Gus Wegner started the program and coached for three years. Then Matt McCune took over the reins for two years. Now, it’s Joslyn’s turn with the newest BHS program.
“It’s a good job,” Joslyn said. “It’s an enjoyable job. I work at KU and that allows me more time than maybe most people to do something like this. There was a vacancy and I’ve watched and coached some of these kids in junior high. It’s something that I thought would be fun and challenging and we needed a coach.”
Joslyn was officially hired in July. BHS Activities Director Gary Stevanus was excited about his new soccer coach.
“I’m very pleased to have Mark on our coaching staff,” Stevanus said. “I think he will continue to build on the strong foundation that has been laid during the past several years.”
Joslyn is not only the Bulldogs’ coach, but he is also the father of a two-year starter. Junior Louis Joslyn is his son. The elder Joslyn is excited about coaching his son this fall.
“It is nice that Louis is on the team,” Joslyn said of his son. “I don’t know that he feels the same way. He’s very easy to coach.”
Joslyn’s interest in the game of soccer came from his two sons, Louis and Nick. His sons began playing the game at a young age and that’s where he first began learning the game.
“I’ve really had an interest since my kids first started playing it,” Joslyn said. “I played various sports in high school and I ran track in college. I’ve been around soccer, but interest really came through my children.”
Being one of the upperclassmen on the team, Louis has helped his father transition into the Bulldogs’ coach. He’s helped his father at the team’s voluntary summer workouts, while still being a member of the squad.
The Bulldogs have been playing soccer four days a week at the Baldwin City Recreation Commission fields, located at Third and Orange streets. They’ve had between 10 and 25 players at the summer workouts.
“I would say, since they’re voluntary workouts and where the team has been the last couple of years, I think it’s been a good turnout,” Joslyn said. “I think we’ll have a few more show up once the mandatory workouts start on Aug. 16, but overall I’ve been pleased with the turnout.”
The BHS soccer squad has been meeting on Monday and Tuesday mornings and Wednesday and Thursday evenings at the BCRC fields. The Bulldogs are primarily working on fundamentals, especially keeping possession of the ball.
“Things are going really well,” Joslyn said of the summer workouts. “We’re trying to work on first touch. We want them to be comfortable on the ball and when that happens, the game opens up. They won’t have to think about where their feet are at and they can make wiser choices.
“We are also working on team defense,” he said. “Another thing is team cohesion and getting used to each other. Of course, we’re working on fitness, too. Some of them aren’t in the best shape. Just basic fundamentals this summer.”
Despite all of his work, Joslyn still faces some challenges this fall. The new BHS soccer field should be ready for games, but the Bulldogs haven’t been able to practice on it this summer.
Also, once the first day of practice hits, the Bulldogs have 11 days to prepare for their first contest. They host Tonganoxie on Aug. 27 to open the fall sports season.
“They can’t walk on the field and be ready without a lot of movement and work,” Joslyn said. “A lot of them have put that in this summer. Hopefully, it will pay off this fall.”
Along with all other fall sports, the Bulldogs will begin official practice on Aug. 16. They will have a scrimmage on Aug. 21, just six days before their first contest. Their new coach is ready for the season to begin.
“I’m always anxious,” Joslyn said. “I’m anxious about everything. It will be exciting and fun to watch. I expect the team to be competitive. With a few breaks, we will do better than last year and hopefully that success will carry over to the future.”