There will be a new man in charge when the School of the Osage boys’ soccer program takes the pitch this fall. Jason Long was announced as the new head coach for the Indians as the program celebrates its 10-year anniversary.

There will be a new man in charge when the School of the Osage boys’ soccer program takes the pitch this fall. Jason Long was announced as the new head coach for the Indians as the program celebrates its 10-year anniversary and the new head man recently took some time to share some thoughts on his new role leading the Indians:

Q: Are there any specific reasons why you were compelled to chose School of the Osage and do you have any past ties with the school?

A: My journey to become the head coach for the Indians soccer program started December 5 of last year after applying for the position online. Before then, I always stated that I would rather coach club soccer because I felt like I had better opportunities to develop soccer players. I came to realize that with my background in education and connections through club soccer that not only can I develop soccer players in the high school format, but there are opportunities to help student-athletes promote soccer in their community and pursue careers beyond graduation. I guess the biggest reason I was compelled to coach at School of the Osage is to help create a culture for soccer and build a winning tradition the players can be proud of.

Q: Can you briefly summarize your background and what made you want to be a coach in the first place?

A: I am a non-traditional soccer coach, but probably very familiar to many in rural Missouri. I did not play soccer in high school because it wasn’t offered at the time. My first experience with soccer began as a father of a five-year-old soccer player in the summer of 2001. Since then, I have coached and refereed recreational and competitive soccer teams for the past 14 years, as well as helped train the 2010 Iberia High School boys’ team. I am the owner of the Pitch Soccer Academy in Waynesville where we train players at the club, high school and collegiate levels.

Q: Taking over a new program, do you have a philosophy or certain set of expectations for all your players? Essentially, what does it take to be a good coach and leader of a program?

A: High school soccer, just like all MSHSAA sports, offers student-athletes the opportunity to build character and learn life skills through school activities. I expect every player to represent themselves in a way that earns them pride and respect from their peers and our community. As for what it takes to be a good leader of a high school program, I will say Coach (Willy) Ramirez and I pride ourselves in being prepared and disciplined. We will promote teamwork and recognize positive attitude and effort.

Q: Do you have any overall impressions of your new group so far and are there any definite strengths or weaknesses at this point in time?

A: As I evaluate the high school players we have been in contact with so far this summer, my initial impression is that the Indian soccer program is young. Presently, there are only three seniors with limited competitive experience. That being said, I am impressed by the work ethic I have seen out of our seniors. I believe that being a young team will be an advantage to building a strong program the next few years because we will have several underclassmen who will gain tremendous experience playing at the varsity level. On the flip side, I can confidently say that the same inexperience is our biggest weakness as a team and the season will be a good indicator of how well the boys prepared individually in the offseason.

Q: With a new season just around the corner, are there any specific goals or keys to success?

A: This is the 10th anniversary for soccer at School of the Osage. In our spring team meeting, the players expressed a deep desire to build a winning tradition for the soccer program, their high school and the Lake area community. This type of motivation is thrilling for a new coach and I am excited to be a part of their quest. Ultimately, we want to be contenders at the district level and beyond, but our focus will be on one game at a time. With a small roster, our key to success will be to start the season in condition, play smart and keep players healthy.