WHS BOYS' SOCCER: Mess with Smitty, get the hornWORTHINGTON — Worthington’s boys’ soccer coach Smitty Ektnitphong was tired of losing his voice trying to yell across the pitch at his players. This season, in his first year coaching the WHS boys’ soccer squad since 2006, Ektnitphong has found the best coaching tool. The bullhorn.
WORTHINGTON — Worthington’s boys’ soccer coach Smitty Ektnitphong was tired of losing his voice trying to yell across the pitch at his players.
This season, in his first year coaching the WHS boys’ soccer squad since 2006, Ektnitphong has found the best coaching tool.
“I don’t know why other coaches don’t use it,” Ektnitphong said. “I’m an enthusiastic person. No matter how good or bad, I want to make sure the team sees how enthusiastic I am.
“I was tired of losing my voice, so I decided to get the bullhorn and it’s working really well.”
The boys’ soccer program began with Ektnitphong in 2003. The Trojans were 0-15 in 2003, 7-7 in 2004, 10-3 in 2005 and 11-3-1 in 2006. Ektnitphong decided to move solely to the girls’ soccer program after 2006.
“When we started at the beginning it was kind of rough,” Ektnitphong said. “The kids weren’t organized and we were trying to get to know each other. There was some discipline issues, but we cleaned up the program and we made strides.
“That’s when I left the boys, because at that time I felt we were where we needed, so I felt good leaving the team.”
Ektnitphong coached the girls’ squad for six seasons, but he never lost track of the boys’ team.
“I’ve followed the boys and we’ve been really proud with the way they’ve progressed the last few seasons,” Ektnitphong said. “We went to the section championship three years ago, but finished second.
“This is my second tour of duty, so I feel like I have some unfinished business.”
The business is to get a section championship and compete for a state title. The Trojans fell 2-1 in the section quarterfinals last season, 2-1 in the section semifinals two seasons ago and 4-2 in the section championship three seasons ago.
Ektnitphong is looking beyond the section title, even though the Trojans return only three seniors.
“Every team, no matter what sport, should want to win the title,” Ektnitphong said. “You like to look beyond the section title.
“We like to say it’s one game at a time and we are going to approach it that way. On the first day of practice we said the things we needed to do and that was compete for the section title and go to state with momentum. When school started I said we would not talk about state anymore. We have to focus on the next game and the next opponent.”
Nothing like a coach and a bullhorn to gain focus.
“We are more conditioned and more disciplined now,” senior defender Larry Leovan said. “It gets our attention. I think he’s trying to make his point with the horn.
“He never used it on the girls though.”
Ektnitphong had a reason behind going bullhornless with the girls’ squad.
“With the boys, I have to really try to get their attention,” Ektnitphong said. “It’s been working really well.”
The Trojans begin their season today versus Central Christian.
“As of now, we pretty much have a brand new team,” Leovan said. “We need to work on our team chemistry. We need to work together.”
Daily Globe Sports Editor Chris Murphy may be reached at 376-7328.