If a player makes a mistake on the field I am not going to yell at him. I let him deal with the mistake initially. But I will pull him and talk with him to help him refocus. I put him right back in the game.
Truckee High School
Head Boys Soccer Coach 2011
Assistant Coach 2008-2010
Nevada 3A High School Boys Soccer State Champions 2008
Nevada 3A High School Boys Soccer State Semi-finals 2010
Nevada 3A High School Boys Soccer State Semi-finals 2011
WillofaChampion: Do you have a mission, vision, or purpose statement?
Coach Eberhardt: Not formally. We strive for consistency. That is what we discuss the most. I want consistency in our level of play regardless of the competition. I want us to practice with a high level of intensity consistent with games. I want consistency in attending practice. If a player misses a practice he won’t start. If he misses two practices he won’t play. We’re consistent in our discipline and expectations.
WillofaChampion: How do you maintain a culture of winning?
Coach Eberhardt: Out of eighteen athletes sixteen play soccer all year. We don’t spend time redeveloping skills lost in the off-season. We just keep building upon what they did during club season.
WillofaChampion: Did the players choose to play all year or have you encouraged that, or maybe a little bit of both?
Coach Eberhardt: A little bit of both. For our 5th or 6th graders club is a good way to make sure they’re competing at a high level at a young age. I encourage our varsity players to play club for the exposure to college coaches.
WillofaChampion: How do you develop a team first attitude amongst your soccer players?
Coach Eberhardt: Team first attitude starts with our expectations; high expectations combined with kids playing together all year result in a team concept because the kid’s are use to working together. I also have a very consistent and fair approach to playing time. If a player misses a practice without telling me why, no matter what their role, they may not play. If a player doesn’t come to practice before a game they won’t start – even if it is the state semi-final. There is no reason they can’t text or call me. There is no excuse for not communicating.
WillofaChampion: Have you had to do that with a leader or a captain?
Coach Eberhardt: Not a captain, but with a starter. I work to keep it consistent so we don’t have any unfair treatment of players. But I will make moves to increase competition. For example, I’ve brought JV players to the varsity level to push varsity players.
WillofaChampion: How do you instill physical and mental discipline in your athletes?
Coach Eberhardt: At the end of a school year we have a meeting with the players where we set expectations for the coming season. We want them to come to camp able to run two miles in under fourteen minutes. We only have ten practices before our first game. That is why they have to come to camp physically ready.
Mental discipline is developed through our style of play. We are a pass and possession type of team. All our practices start with a possession type drill. We want to work with minimal touches to keep guys a little on edge.
Coach Eberhardt: I expect them to be players, especially in the big games. Our team votes for the captains. That does not include me or the other coaches. The players vote for the captains so they naturally buy-in to them as our leaders. I challenge our captains to show their leadership in the big games. If the ball is in his area he has to get to it first. If he has a shot he has to make it. We’ve been blessed with good captains. They tend to demand more from themselves than I do. There are times I have to calm them down when they’ve made a mistake. If someone is having problems, I expect them to pull that player aside and help him. I expect the leaders to be the loudest on the field. Basically, I expect them to lead us to a victory.
WillofaChampion: Sometimes an athlete’s biggest concern when he has made a mistake is his coach yelling at him. But you have to pick-up your leaders if they make a mistake. How have you cultivated your leaders so that they’re more concerned about their mistake than you yelling at them?
Coach Eberhardt: I started as the assistant coach. When you’re the assistant you’re more of a friend and the head coach tends to be the tough guy. But I have carried some of that more laid back attitude into my role as head coach. If a player makes a mistake on the field I am not going to yell at him. I let him deal with the mistake initially. But I will pull him and talk with him to help him refocus. I put him right back in the game.
Coach Eberhardt: I will pull him and talk with him. Give him a second chance. If he doesn’t get it together we switch him out.
WillofaChampion: How do you develop leadership skills in your players?
Coach Eberhardt: I can identify the captains early. I work with them as juniors to prepare them. I have them talk with the team about the uniform or jerseys for next year. They manage summer pick-up games. So they start taking on that leadership role before the season starts. I am blessed with them already being good leaders because of their families and club teams. But some of it is our program.
WillofaChampion: Do you do anything to invest in the children that will join your team?
Coach Eberhardt: Not yet. We mainly wait until high school. I do have JV and varsity try-outs together. So if I see a sophomore that is good I can have him play against juniors and seniors to see how he may perform in that pressure situation. Thanks to the help of my assistant coach, we were able to develop a spring training program for JV and Varsity.
WillofaChampion: Is there anything else we haven’t discussed that is critical to a boy’s state championship soccer program?
Coach Eberhardt: Don’t take things for granted. Don’t take a game for granted. But really, that comes back to consistency and playing every team at a high level. If we’re consistently playing at a high level, we don’t have to worry about taking a team for granted. If we consistently start with high intensity we will be successful. As soon as the whistle blows we’re all over that team and hopefully score that first goal or two in the first five or ten minutes.
Coach Eberhardt played soccer for Truckee High School. He became the assistant coach in 2008 and was named the head coach in 2011. Coach Eberhardt is continuing the championship caliber program that started prior to his arrival. Coach Eberhardt’s brother works with him as an assistant.
Interview: March 2012