The Ottumwa Courier

Sports

May 26, 2012

Rose looks back on first season

OTTUMWA — So what does Aaron Rose love about soccer?

Well, a lot of things, actually.

 “Winning games, tackling a forward, being in a team atmosphere, playing with your buddies,” said Rose, Ottumwa boys soccer coach.

A better question might have been what doesn’t he love about soccer — although Rose probably would have had trouble coming up with an answer.

So it makes sense that Rose would choose to tackle a career in coaching. The coach, however, has had a steep learning curve to grasp all the intricacies and minutiae involved with the occupation of coaching. He made the move from assistant to head coach of the boy’s soccer program in only two years.

Like most new jobs, Rose has dealt with the inveitable surprises that pop up along the way.

“The biggest thing is the communication with the boys and learning what drills serve the best purpose for the kids,” he said.

To know what drills will be productive for his players, Rose said he has to first figure out what skills they need to work on.

He said the role of a head coach differs greatly from that of an assistant.

“The mindset for the assistant coach is you’re there to help out the head coach,” Rose said. “As a head coach you do more organizational skills, you do more of the preparing.

“You’re the one. You’re the one in charge. You’re the one getting the players ready.”

Though Rose said he tries to treat all his players the same, sometimes he has to adjust the various personalities that make up any team.

“You kind of tailor to everyone’s personality,” he said.

Rose said you have to feel out every personality to understand what coaching methods they will react well to. He said some players react well to constructive criticism, while others must be praised before they are pushed.

Rose has run into his share of challenges in his first year coaching.

“The most challenging aspect in coaching is preparing your players for a game,” he said. “Bringing your players together was to me the hardest part.”

For someone who has played soccer as much as Rose, sometimes it can be hard to reconcile with the fact that he must trust his players to implement the strategies and techniques they have been taught in practice in games.

“It’s frustrating to be a player and then see a certain kid do something right in practice and then in a game, they start getting back into a bad habit again,” the coach said. “But for the most part the kids this year carried things out excellently.”

Rose praised the coaches associated with the Ottumwa soccer club for equipping his players with the skills early on that are necessary to compete at the high school level.

“By the time they get to me they should be finely-tuned and all I do from there is I take a player and just focus on the little stuff they don’t have 100 percent, or stuff they need to work on to get them to the next level,” he said.

The Bulldogs ended their season with a 10-11 record, which was a significant improvement from the previous year’s 4-11 record. Still, Ottumwa struggled late in the season after getting off to a hot 8-4 start.

Rose indicated there were some games when the other teams just wanted it worse than his Bulldogs did. Another factor the coach cited was a schedule that got more difficult towards the end of the season.

“You’re playing teams that are not only from a rec. background, but also from a larger club-based background,” he said.

It’s been about 18 years — he lived in Ottumwa for about nine of these years — since Rose first took up soccer. His love of the game, however, was anything but a slow-developing process.

“As soon as I got into it I loved it more than anything else,” he said.

In fact, Rose was so taken with soccer that he decided drop the other sports he had previously played to concentrate solely on soccer during his senior year at Ottumwa. His decision paid off as Rose played a big part in the Bulldogs 11-3 season — the best record in the program’s history.

Since he graduated from Ottumwa, Rose has played soccer at Indian Hills Community College and he will be playing his second year with William Penn University. He played center back on defense for two years at Indian Hills and this will be his third year — he red-shirted one year — playing outside back at William Penn.

When Rose isn’t coaching or playing soccer, he opts to hunt, fish and hang out with his friends.

“I love to fish,” he said.

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