Zahn named Boys Soccer Coach

NCCS teacher replaces Neil Baasten


NCCS Athletic Department

The 2019-2020 boys varsity soccer team; Coach Zahn replaces Coach Baasten as head coach after Baasten’s retirement.

Niko Pitinii, News Editor

Mr. Jonathan Zahn was approved by the North Canton Board of Education April 15 to be the new boys varsity head soccer coach; he replaces Mr. Neil Baasten. Zahn, who is an NCCS physical education teacher, was the former assistant coach.

Zahn spoke about the unique situation because of the pandemic.

This process was very different with everything going on with COVID-19,” he said. “The process included two video interviews — which I had never had a video interview before. They are very different from being in person.”

Hoover Athletic Director Tim Walker spoke about the decision in Zahn taking over the boys soccer program.

 “As we went through the interview process, it was clear that Coach Zahn had a vision for our program moving forward,” Walker said. “Coach Zahn was also part of our staff the last two years, so he is familiar with our program and has been part of the success of the last two years.”

Someone who knows Zahn’s coaching style better than anyone is junior Carter Wensel, who played with Zahn when he was assistant coach during the 2019 season. Wensel will be return for the 2020 season as a senior. In preparation, he hopes to play the same position.

“I played center forward last year and I would like to play the same spot but we all have to fight for our spots and play time so anything can happen,” Wensel said.

Head coaching is a very different position than assistant coaching, which is the position Zahn held during the 2019 season.

“The two biggest differences from being an assistant and the head coach is the administrative/paperwork that goes with running the program and being the person making the final decision rather than offering options and options,” Zahn said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic however, normal spring training and pre-season preparations have been put on hold as everyone is staying at home.

“As of right now we are just waiting for further instruction on how the summer and fall are going to look like,” Zahn said. “We are going to plan for the best case scenario and have back up plans set in place for any changes we may face.”

Even with the current global pandemic, the team plans to pick up right where they left off with their amazing 2019 season.

“I feel pretty good, I know we have a new team now with all 15 seniors leaving, but I think this new team can step it up,” Wensel said.

The game of soccer helps its players off the field as well as on the field.

“The aspect of soccer that has helped me is learning to lead,” Wensel said. “I had to step up as a captain last year. Also all the friendships I built with all my teammates as well as tight relationships with the underclassmen.”

Hoover Boys varsity soccer had an impressive 2019 season, going 13-4-2 in the regular season. They celebrated a win against Jackson Oct. 26, winning the boys soccer DI district final and making it all the way to the regional finals in the post-season.

“Our goal is going to pick up right where we left off,” Zahn said “I think as a program we have seen how good we can be the last two seasons and our goal is to carry on that success.”

Zahn has been a part of the soccer world since age three. He played on the men’s team at the University of Mount Union before taking a position at his Alma Mater, Brunswick High School, where he was an assistant coach. He joined Hoover soccer two years ago as an assistant coach.

Wensel would also like to thank Zahn for the past three years at Hoover soccer and hopes for an amazing final senior season in 2020, and first for Zahn’s brand new position.

I would like to congratulate [Coach] Zahn on the job,” Wensel said. “You have made a positive impact in my life and I thank you so much for that. I can’t wait for my final season with you as my coach again.” ♦