|Coach Ben Schulz|
Ben Schulz has been coaching soccer, at various levels, for the past 10-12 years. He started coaching with Windham Youth Soccer and has moved from that to the Windham travel teams, then to the boys’ junior varsity soccer team. Now, Schulz will take over as the varsity head coach for Windham High School for the 2019 soccer season.
“The first thing that initially got me interested in coaching soccer was spending time with my son having interaction without technology. You can get on a field and it’s a beautiful fall day...you get an hour, hour and a half of enjoyment and joy with him – that’s kind of what drew me in,” recalled Schulz.
Schulz was an athlete growing up and said the older you get, you feel those competitive juices start flowing again. He wanted to be a role model. He understands coaches play an important part in children’s lives.
When he was coaching the U13 and 14 teams in Windham, he got to know the varsity coach at the time, Wally Leblanc, a legendary high school coach in the state who had been coaching successfully for a long time. Leblanc and Schulz formed a relationship. Leblanc would help out with Schulz’s practices. Once Schulz was done with his U14 coaching year, there just happened to be an opening at Windham High for the junior varsity team and Schulz considered himself lucky enough to get the position and continue learning from Coach Leblanc.
Schulz wanted to become varsity coach to continue his Windham connection. “Running a program and having input in all areas of the program was something that excited me,” he explained. “I live in Windham, I have kids in the Windham schools, I have a business in Windham, I have a connection to the community, so rather than try to a get a varsity job somewhere in the greater Portland area, to be able to get a varsity job in my town, in my community, with kids and parents that I’ve known for a long time, is really special.”
He knows it’s always a transition, when a new coach comes in, even with a strong team like Windham. At the moment, Schulz is evaluating the entire program, not just players.
His goal as a JV coach was for his players to have a good time, as well as prepare them for varsity. Schulz knows the importance of getting them ready as players on the field and teaching them how to carry themselves off the field to be successful student athletes.
Schulz has three kids and is a managing broker at a real estate agency in Windham. He loves family time, like spending time outdoors. He considers himself lucky to have such an amazing wife and supportive family, because coaching soccer, when you do it right, it’s a lot and it’s really involved.
“The good thing for me is, Coach Leblanc left this program in amazing shape. They were a playoff team last year and have a strong foundation, so I’m coming into a good situation, with really good kids and a strong youth program that can continue to feed us good players.”