By: Matt Merkel
Head soccer coach Ward Rogers is one of the most veteran coaches at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Nearly all of his adult life has been revolved around soccer.
“I’ve been coaching for over 30 years … I graduated from Penn State in 1975,” he said “That’s long before any of the students here were born.”
After he and his wife moved to Wintersville following his retirement, Rogers took his love for coaching soccer to Franciscan as an assistant coach from the men’s and women’s teams. This year marks his inaugural year as head coach for the Barons soccer team.
Rogers couldn’t be more excited to lead his soccer team to a bright future and views this as his opportunity to propel the Barons into an elite team, making use of his lifelong experience.
“I wanted to take this chance to take what I knew about soccer and bring it to another level. I really enjoy the atmosphere here. The brotherhood of my players makes it really easy to coach.”
Rogers does recognize his team’s slow start but believes that with a team this young, it is hard to start strong. He did, however, comment on their bright future.
“We haven’t had the season we want so far,” he said. “This team can be something special by the end of the season. We have some really good freshman that will be very effective over the next four years.”
Roger’s favorite attribute of his players is their teamwork.
“This is the main focus of any winning team,” he said. “You can’t coach chemistry. It’s something that your team just has or doesn’t have. Our team has a lot of great chemistry. They are totally focused.”
As it seems to affect most of its staff and students, Franciscan has brought out the best in Rogers; professionally and spiritually.
“After working for Franciscan, I have become so much more devoted to my Catholic faith,” he said. “I was always a conscious Catholic, but Franciscan has given me such a better perspective.”
With the fall soccer season well underway, Rogers hopes to continue to help the team grow and earn its way to the top of the conference.
Come see the men’s soccer team play at home on September 29 against Medaille College. Let’s Go Barons!