Head Coach of the SCSU Men’s Soccer program Sean Holmes shares words at his opening press conference. Photo Courtesy of SCSU Athletic
The expected Jan. 1 start date for the NSIC is still a good distance away and with the purposed start to most SCSU athletics not likely to move up, fall athletics will more than likely not take place at St. Cloud State. This includes the first season of the newly acquired Men’s Soccer program at SCSU.
The team’s inception was announced following the cuts of Husky Football and Golf this past spring.
In February, the hiring process for a head coach of the team concluded and Sean Holmes was deemed the newest head coach at St. Cloud State University. Holmes, a native of Ottawa Ontario, served as head soccer coach of Division I Drake from 1998-2015. In those 17 seasons at Drake University in Iowa, Holmes saw much success accumulating 141 wins in his time with the Bulldogs.
Since the announcement of the hiring of a new head coach for a new soccer program, Holmes has settled in nicely to the St. Cloud area.
“Our family moved here, my wife works on campus, [one of] my son is a grad student, my other son is a part time student and our team manager, and I have another one in high school at Tech,” said Holmes in a recent interview. “We are now in week four of training and things have been fantastic.”
Building a new athletic program at a university is never easy, and with that comes some hardships especially in the time of COVID-19.
“Well most of the guys I had never seen play live, so that poses a challenge,” said Holmes. “Usually you have an established team with seniors who have been in the program and know what your expectations and standards are and then you fold in the new guys. This year, everything is new. My assistants are new, when we first started training a couple of weeks ago, I had never seen them run a session. Every guy is new, the training gear is new, the balls are brand new, everything is new, so it has been fun, and I miss games, but games sometimes get in the way of real teaching. We are not preparing for stuff tomorrow; we are doing stuff to make players better which is really gratifying.”
Equipment, coaches, and players are not the only new things to St. Cloud and the soccer program because the rise of SCSU soccer creates the first NCAA division II program in Minnesota. This creates some advantages in recruiting for SCSU.
“When your first to something like we are in the state of Minnesota, it’s tremendous recruiting advantage for us because we provide something not many other places do,” said Holmes. “We had a tremendous amount of interest from Minnesota guys who wanted to come back home. We got guys from Brainerd, Marshall, Moorhead, Willmar, St. Cloud, [and throughout] the state as well. That is really what our team is going to look like. We want to be as Minnesota based as possible. Seventy-five percent Minnesota [players] is our goal. There are good players all over this state”.
In some ways the postponement of the season has acted as a blessing in disguise for the SCSU Men’s Soccer program as this allows them time to build chemistry and structure throughout the team. Even if COVID-19 did not stall all sporting events, the regular season schedule for the Huskies on the pitch would have looked rather interesting.
“This year we would have been playing a Division I, II, III, NAIA, JUCO, University Club Schedule. It would have been the most bearing schedule in history,” Holmes said laughing. “We are in ongoing meetings and will join a conference, I believe, for next year.”
Coach Holmes states there is a lot of work left to do leading up to their first day of competition, but they are having plenty of fun in the process.