Soccer team.jpg

Back row, from left: Jacob Taylor, Joshua Politte, Gage Trempler, Greg Penrod, Brett Piotrowicz, Kaden Kaimann, John Dwinell. Front row, from left: Manager LeiAnn Ford, Gabe Williams, Matthew Hornbeck, Xavier Baldwin, Stevie Witt, Jimmy Schultz, Gabe Trempler, Noah Thomas, Manager Grace Williams. Not pictured: Owen Stroud and Camden Upton. Photo by Adam Presswood

Winfield’s boys soccer team will be in somewhat of a transition phase this season.

Not only did the team lose a substantial number of seniors in the spring, but they will also begin the 2019 season with a new head coach: Erin Hesselbach.

Hesselbach said that her estimates for this fall are that 10 or 11 students will return, and that she will gain another five, for a total of 16 players.

Other than that, Hesselbach said she knows very little about the hand she has been dealt.

“That’s not a bad thing,” Hesselbach said. “I think it’s a good thing for the boys and I to have a clean-slate and to start fresh, to not have to worry about past successes or failures.”

She comes to Winfield from the St. Louis Public School District, where she taught physical education for four years.

Hesselbach gleaned additional high school coaching experience at Incarnate Word Academy in St. Louis, her alma matter, where she was an assistant coach for a year and head varsity coach for two years. She also earned stripes as a volunteer coach, as well as a trainer for the Missouri Rush Soccer Club in O’Fallon. 

Her resume, however, does not end there.

She also worked as head coach for St. Louis Community College, taught at Indiana University (also her alma mater), and worked as an assistant coach for IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis), a Division I program.

“I was very excited to come to the Winfield School District,” Hesselbach said. “I had heard great things about the district and how it is growing, as well as the wonderful things they are doing in education. I was really excited when the job opened up, and it’s been great so far. I’m enjoying the district.”

Hesselbach said she wasn’t sure what type of reception she would receive as the program’s first female coach, but that she could not have asked for a better welcome.

“The boys have really embraced me as their new coach,” Hesselbach said. “I see some excitement in them. They have really been enthusiastic. I think they’re ready to make a change.”

The boys will have their first scrimmage on Aug. 23, and will play their first regular-season game on the road against Canton on August 30.

Hesselbach said the team’s toughest competition, as always, will come from conference teams like St. Charles West and Orchard Farm.

“They’re bigger schools, they’re tougher competition, and they have more boys that play select soccer,” Hesselbach said.

Regardless, Hesselbach said she expects to see her new team grow stronger by the day, and looks forward to seeing the boys functioning as a cohesive unit and playing their best soccer by the end of the season.

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