Evergreen Park boys soccer coach Jim Smith has a challenge ahead of him this season.
With 10 seniors graduating last year and arguably his best sophomore and junior players from last season moving away as recently as two weeks ago, he has a lot of new faces to teach.
However, Smith is excited for the opportunity.
“It’s going to be a whole bunch of fun and there will be a lot of new faces,” Smith said. “We’re going to be young.”
Smith said the most rewarding thing about coaching is when his players understand what he’s teaching.
“It’s so rewarding to see that ‘ah-ha’ moment when the kid finally puts the connection together with what you’re trying to teach them,” he said. “It’s not about the wins and losses. It’s just about the growth you see in the kids.”
Last year, the Mustangs finished 6-18.
“We are looking to improve upon that and win about 10-12 games this year and really finish well in the Peotone tournament,” Smith said.
Smith said the South Suburban Conference is full of outstanding teams. “We play in such a great conference," he said. "A lot of the teams in our conference are either regional or sectional champions."
This is Smith’s fifth year as the Mustangs' head boys soccer coach and assistant on the girls team. He teaches math at Evergreen Park High School.