The soccer program is perhaps the most storied athletic program at Jordan High School. Throughout the years, iconic Barringer Field has seen three state championship trophies lifted. In the fall for the boys, and in the spring for the girls, the stands are consistently packed full to cheer on the soccer teams.
With the women’s soccer season finishing just weeks ago, and the men’s tryouts commencing in less than three months, massive changes to both teams’ coaching staff have recently occurred.
Justin Finger has officially been named head coach for both the boys’ and girls’ varsity soccer teams for the 2019-2020 season. Samuel Bernhard has been named his assistant. Elisa Marchione will fill Finger’s former role as JV boy’s head this fall.
Finger will be replacing DJ Ferguson as the varsity men’s head coach and Mary Bailey as the varsity women’s coach. Former JV men’s coach and fitness coach, Leland Hyer, famous for his unique workouts, Georgian accent, and PB&J’s, will not be returning to Falcons Soccer. He will be coaching at Neal Middle School this fall.
While Finger has been an assistant and a JV coach for the past three years, he has never been the skipper of a varsity program. Finger feels confident about his new job, saying, “I have observed the varsity level quite a bit, but there’s still room for me to grow.”
The spring of 2020 will be Finger’s first experience coaching women’s soccer at any level. While he does predict that next spring will be a “learning curve for [him] as a coach”, he does feel prepared to take on this new role leading the Lady Falcons this spring. Finger also stated that he has “observed high-level women’s soccer on multiple occasions through refereeing and have talked to women’s soccer coaches in the area on this transition.”
As Finger and his staff prepare for both the men’s and women’s season, Finger is especially thrilled about the uniformity of expectations that will come with coaching both the varsity men’s and women’s teams. “I’m excited to coach both teams. This means that practices will be structured the same way [and] expectations will be the same for fitness, academics, and behavior. I think that will be a good thing.” He believes that if each team is on the same page, successful results will come easily.
Finger does face some pressure to continue the success of the Jordan soccer program. With the boys reaching the second round of playoffs and ranking in the top 10 nationally last season, a similar finish is expected for this year’s incoming team.
When asked specifically about the incoming men’s varsity team, he feels like many tactical adjustments will need to be made. “Last year, we lost a lot of strong seniors, so this incoming team will have to play a different game than last year’s team,” said Finger. “If each guy is willing to work hard, it will be another rewarding season.”
Despite the coaching changes and loss of talented seniors, with hard work and a packed Barringer Field, Jordan is due for another successful year of high school soccer.