The Goshen Men’s soccer program underwent a significant transformation this past spring when a new coaching staff, led by Arron Patrick, was brought in to lead the program.
Patrick, a native of Grimsby, England, grew up playing soccer at various levels before moving to the United States in 2006. He attended Bethel College, where he played soccer all four years. While this is his first time being associated with Goshen, he isn’t new to Goshen athletics.
“I played and ran track against them while I was in college. I actually scored my first collegiate goal here at Goshen and also won the MCC championship at Goshen in track. So I have some good memories here,” he said.
He currently lives in Dunlap with his wife, Callie.
Not only is this his first season being associated with Goshen, it’s his first season being a collegiate head coach as well.
When reflecting on his inaugural season with the Maple Leafs, Patrick said, “This season has been good, not great. We have met a lot of our goals, but we still feel like we let a couple conference matches and non-conference games slip so we are far from content with our record or conference position. We set our ultimate goal in conference at a top four finish and we fell a couple points short, which was disappointing. However, making the semifinals was our other big goal and we have achieved that.”
Patrick made his presence felt the moment he walked in the door at Goshen.
“I made it clear to everyone that I wasn’t stepping in to replace the old coaching staff. I was here to put my spin on things, to enhance and uphold the strong traditions already here and to improve performances on the field. There are no comparisons between myself and the previous coaching staff. My style is very different,” he said. “I’ve been very open and transparent with the guys about their strengths and their weaknesses. Not only on the field but also off of it. I told them I wasn’t going to try to fix everything in one year, but this year was about building solid foundations to build upon in the future. To the guys’ credit they have embraced the changes and really worked hard on implementing the things we talk about on a daily basis.”
The new staff implemented a more defense-oriented system than the Maple Leafs were used to, but it didn’t take the team long to get on board.
“I believe the number one thing that excited me about this year was how quickly the guys bought into our defensive system. Every single coach said how organized we are and how hard we are to break down. We conceded around 10 goals less than last year so that was big for us,” Patrick said.
And the players have received this message. Dean Nafziger, a junior goalkeeper and all-conference first team member, shared his thoughts about Patrick and his coaching staff.
“The transition was very easy in the sense that we knew exactly what to expect from him and what was expected from us. He made that very clear right away. However, those things were very different from what we were used to. The team responded to this really well and very quickly we began to see why these things were implemented. I really like how everything we do has a purpose and how hard he pushes us. We’ve responded to his techniques well and seen a difference on the field,” Nafziger said.
Going forward, Patrick and his fellow coaches are ready to take another step forward next season.
“We aim to have a 10 win season, even with the schedule upgrade. We aim to become more of a threat going forward and score more goals and eliminate some of the simple individual errors we have made this year through immaturity,” Patrick said.