George Kohan is the third head coach in the 4-year history of the Brainerd Warriors girls' soccer team.
But Kohan is a familiar face to many Warrior players. He has been coaching in the Lakes Area Youth Soccer Association the past few years and is a 13-year coaching veteran.
He began coaching girls' soccer in the Burnsville/Eagan system and spent four years coaching in the Seattle area. After moving to Brainerd he helped form and direct LAYSA. He coached LAYSA's under-16 girls' traveling team this summer.
BRAINERD WARRIORS Girls' soccer
Head coach -- George Kohan, first season
1999 finish -- 1-13-0
Returning letterwinners -- Megan Lorenz, Regan Kummet, Katie Swanson, Kate Bjornson, Sarah Brown, Beth Cairns, Laura Clemens, Allie Franke, Dana Kohan, Kelly Kratochwill, Erin MacDonald
Assistant coaches -- Lisa Roberts, Allison Ohe.
(Games at 5 p.m. unless noted)
7-at Little Falls
9-FERGUS FALLS, 1 p.m.
11-ST. CLOUD APOLLO
14-at St. Cloud Tech
23-at Alexandria, 11 a.m.
28-at St. Cloud Apollo
30-DETROIT LAKES, 11 a.m.
3-ST. CLOUD TECH
"With the exception of about a half-dozen high school kids I have coached virtually all of them," Kohan said. "That should make for a nice transition. The kids know me and they know my system. I coach more at a tactical, technique level than maybe they're used to. That might bring a new dimension to the program.
"We have a pool of strong players. They have been successful in the traveling programs. They have only lost four times, not counting tournaments, since they started. I have a luxury none of the other (varsity) coaches had previously. I don't have seniors that were never players. I have returning seniors who I actually helped start playing the game four years ago."
Kohan conceded that changing coaches three times has been a disruption.
"If I bring anything to the table, other than 13 years of experience, it's that most of the players know me and their parents know me, from how I coach to what I do," he said. "Because of that I'm optimistic and I think it will be a good transition."
The Warriors have won only one game in their 3-year existence and have scored only 15 goals in that span. Kohan expects the offense to be more potent this season.
"The kids are learning how to tactically move the ball around the field," he said. "It's a game of possession and tactical passing. I tell the kids the key to a good defense is a good offense. We have the horses to do something. We have kids who know how to shoot. They know how to score. And, now we have some depth.
"When you score more goals you play more offense. There are two kinds of teams -- one that plays desperately not to lose and one that plays desperately to win. I coach the second team. Teams that get beat 16-0 start trying not to lose. The more goals they have scored against them the more they forget the key is to score goals. If we're out there shooting they're not shooting on us."
The Warriors will build around 11 returning letterwinners, including senior tri-captains Megan Lorenz, Regan Kummet and Katie Swanson. Juniors back are Sarah Brown, Allie Franke and Kelly Kratochwill. Sophomores returning are all-conference player Marie Lange, Kate Bjornson, Beth Cairns, Dana Kohan and Erin MacDonald.
"This year's team brings a much more experienced group of girls to our program," Kohan said. "Many of the girls have played together for as long as four years, both in varsity and summer travel leagues. We also have some new players, from outside our area, with lots of experience. These kids will add a new dimension. We now have good depth and experience at all positions."
Little Falls and Willmar will play varsity soccer this season, raising the number of Central Lakes Conference programs to seven.
"This year we should be competitive," Kohan said. "We should win a few games we never got to win before. And, we might surprise a few teams.
"Many people have asked me why we haven't been more competitive at the varsity level. My response is we had kids who started the thing and now we've got kids coming up who will be there. They know how we play.
"I know these kids are capable of being competitive, even with the Bemidjis, Detroit Lakes and Alexandrias of the world that historically have spanked us. We have kids at the eighth and ninth-grade levels that could play at the same level our varsity kids play at. Our future I'm pretty excited about that."
Other varsity candidates:
Seniors -- Heidi Grindahl, Katie Majka.
Juniors -- Melissa Bordwell, Morgan Klang, Amie Magnusson, Kristin Nesse, Krista Parrish, Sally Stricker.
Sophomores -- Beth Cairns, Krista Cosert, Emily Entrikin, Lizzie Hendricks, Hanna Impola, Megan Kath, Danielle Nacey, Jill Trinkley.
Freshmen -- Annie Campbell, Sarah Heinrich, Breanna Olson, Kate Olson, Anna Phelps, Jessie Rosenthal, Lauren Seipp, Maggie Sweeney, Liz Tadych.
Eighth-graders -- Jennifer Beilke, Ally Hartje, Taylor Hartje, Joyce Hendricks, Adrianne McAlpin.
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