In their recent conquest for state, the soccer team looked to one man for help. That man is Mr. Chris Lawson, the longtime coach and mentor of the highly successful soccer program. Lawson takes a unique holistic approach towards soccer, and prides himself in seeing his student-athletes succeed to the best of their abilities.
“Helping each team achieve its best based upon team ability is special. [I enjoy] helping individuals and teams reach goals they sought to achieve,” Lawson said.
Some goals for this year’s team were to win all home games, win the region title, and, of course, compete at state. The team ended up winning all of its home games, and made it all the way to the state semifinals, finishing fourth in Missouri’s largest class this season.
Lawson’s players know that he was important to their success on the year and throughout their careers.
“After playing for Coach Lawson for three years, I’ve developed a great respect for the man,” Eric Smith, senior captain of the soccer team, said. “I love his ability to push players in every way yet still be compassionate off the field.”
To ensure his players are progressing to their maximum potential, Lawson makes sure that they encounter first-rate competition throughout the year. The challenging schedule that Lawson insists on is something that he considers a hallmark of the program. The teams he chooses to play are not only competitive, but they also play different styles of soccer. According to Lawson, being exposed to different styles of play helps reveal the team’s own style and identity.
Having coached soccer for 20 years, Lawson does not lack experience. During his three years at Park Hill High School combined with 17 more at Rockhurst, he has developed a specific set of assessments which he looks for in his players.
“[I like to see that] players players have quality character and are able to handle adversity,” Lawson said.
Technical and tactical ability, knowledge of the game, and mental and physical attributes are the pillars on which Lawson evaluates student-athletes. The success of the soccer program has shown that this approach is paying off.