Mike Sanchez takes on role of head boys soccer coach


Photo Curtesy of Mike Sanchez

The new boys soccer head coach, Mike Sanchez, advises the girls soccer team — as girls soccer head coach — on one of their games in the 2019 girls soccer season.

Kris Long, Opinions Editor

Head Varsity girls soccer coach Mike Sanchez will take on the position of boys head coach in the wake of Frank Alonso’s death from pancreatic cancer.

Sanchez, who has been coaching soccer for 16 years, played collegiate-level soccer at McPherson College — a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics school — and first began coaching at the club level before coming to Manhattan High nine years ago. He started alongside Alonso as an assistant for the boys soccer team, then coached the girls starting in 2011. 

Though Sanchez has experience as head coach he’s not certain about how the Varsity boys soccer team will look this year, as tryouts for MHS soccer aren’t until Aug.19. However, Sanchez is optimistic about the upcoming season based on summer practices. 

“I think [we’ll do well this season],” Sanchez said. “The expectation in any team that I coach is … to do well, and come out and set a certain standard, [and] I believe that we will [this season].” This is despite the large level of player turnover as the team graduated 14 players last season, including two starting strikers and the entire starting defensive line. With so many graduates there are a lot of opportunities for last year’s Junior Varsity team to start and for upperclassmen to take on leadership roles. 

“Summer is about getting better and I’ve seen a lot of guys [make] progress … [and] that’s something to be excited about,” Sanchez said. “[Success has] a lot to do with leadership … [and I’m] seeing some of these guys [whose] time [it is] to take on leadership roles and fill the shoes of previous upperclassmen.”

There were only four juniors on 2018’s Varsity team, and just two of them started. Now seniors Hunter French, Carter Wiens, Roberto Maysonet-Perez and Brendan Mummert will, therefore, be taking on leadership positions within the team. 

Along with new leadership roles for this year’s seniors, the boys will have to further adapt to new playing styles. Alonso typically employed a consistent deep-cross attacking style when coaching games, but according to Sanchez, this will change.

“From a style standpoint, I think [Alonso and I are] different,” Sanchez said. “I want to play through the line and to be a little bit more dynamic … in different aspects of the game.”

According to Sanchez, the team will continue to play a 4-3-3 as they did last year. However, will focus more on building out of the back using their goalkeeper and moving their outside backs out wider and further up the pitch.

As well as bringing success to the team this season and further into the future, Sanchez hopes to continue the legacy of Alonso’s coaching with the players he left behind last season and the program he influenced so heavily.

“Frank was a good friend of mine,” Sanchez said. “[So] what’s important to me is that we keep the integrity of the program and maintain the level of success that they’ve had [in previous seasons].”