SPRINGFIELD – Much has been made about the departure of Springfield College men’s soccer coach Steffen Siebert and the arrival of first-time head coach Tommy Crabill this fall. Crabill came in with a bevy of experience as an assistant, and through six games as the Pride’s head man, the team has had solid returns with 4-2 record.
Still, Crabill is laying his roots as a head coach and trying to implicate his ideals into the long history of success from the soccer program. “Probably every coach, whether they’re a first time head coach or not, is shaping their philosophy and adjusting a little bit to the players they’re working with, while also sticking to their main values and principles that they’ve been living their lives with,” he said.
“I feel like some of those values haven’t changed, but we’re definitely building a culture together this season and that comes with coordination from the coaching staff and the players.”
According to his players, the philosophy Crabill carries with him has some similarities to Siebert and also some new methods that are being injected into the team.
“Crabill wants to keep in place what made this team so successful in the past, so a lot of the values the team has in regards to team culture has been the same,” said senior Christian Schneider.
He added, “Both coaches, Siebert and Crabill, put an emphasis on accountability and playing for the person next to you. What that means is simply giving 100 percent on the field, not for the coach, not for yourself, but for your teammates and if you see a teammate not giving it his all then you need to correct that.”
The differences for the team appear more in practice and on the pitch during games.
“The different aspect in Crabill’s coaching philosophy can mainly be seen in practices. We now have a stronger emphasis on doing passing and technical drills that correlate to the way we want to attack opponents when game time comes,” Schneider said.
Brad Deckel, who spent three years as a starter for Siebert, agreed. “The philosophy is different in the sense that we have a different style of play,” he said. “We play defense differently which leads to our offense being more from build ups than counters. With Siebert, we played defense high up the field and used that for our offense.”
Despite the adjustments, the Pride are still off to a hot start on the year and they have continued to win games.
“The adjustment period for us had to be quick, but I think that it has been a successful one,” said senior goalkeeper Stewart Frank.
“Since we found out so late last year, who are new coach was going to be, there was a lot of work and variables that needed to be worked on, but I feel that has all come together since we got back to school for preseason. It has been nice to have teammates to help make the transition go as smooth as it has gone, it’s been very promising,” Frank said.
Growing pains are expected for Springfield this year, but the team has still been successful, and Crabill understands there will be bumps in the road.
“You can’t just pile in as much as you want into one season, this is a process of growth and it’s going to take time and unfortunately for us as competitors who are not always patient, it’s going to take patience,” he said.
While growing and building for the future, Crabill still has an ace in his pocket with a talented senior class that is going to help his team to stay competitive.
“The programs been through a lot in the past 18 months, every coaching transition exposes some challenges for those involved in it,” he said. “I think the best part about this transition has been the senior leadership and the consistency from those guys, their passion and desire to continue the success of the program and the way it’s been.
Photo courtesy of Springfield Athletics