|7/22/2020 11:57:00 AM|
'Mr. JC Soccer' himself to lead girls team
Jonathan KipperThe girls soccer team at the high school will have a new head coach for the upcoming season, but "new" is a word far from the truth when it comes to this man's soccer background here in Jennings.
Not only has Moore played the sport for some 40 years, but he has been associated with the sport ever since its arrival in Jennings back in the 1980s. Whether he was on the field, coaching children or helping with the high school teams, it's clear this man gets a real kick out of this sport.
Tom grew up in Tucson, Arizona, but attended Jennings County High School for his senior year, graduating in 1973.
After high school, he attended Indiana University to study early childhood education, where he first started to pick up the game of soccer.
"Honestly, I had never seen a soccer ball in Tucson, just basketball and football," Moore said. "I went to IU and started to play some soccer there."
Once his time in Bloomington was up, Moore became a teacher here in Jennings County, where he taught for over 40 years. It was during his first few years back that he became one of the people who helped bring soccer to the school.
"Dave Coquerille brought over some of the IU staff here in the early 80's and asked me and a few others to help out," said Moore. "That led us to having our first varsity season in 1985-1986."
Tom was the coach back then for the squad, even before soccer was an official IHSAA sport. He said it was different back then, having a mix of boys and girls on the same team and even sometimes having seventh graders play varsity.
Ever since the first year of varsity soccer at the high school, Moore has continued to help coach the soccer program, whether in a head coach or assistant coach role. He also kept playing soccer in rec leagues in Columbus and central Indiana, which helped lead to some coaches for the program as well.
"In the rec leagues, if someone would agree to play and they were better than me, I would bring them down here," said Moore. "They would be the coach and I would be their assistant."
With all of the soccer experience Tom has with this program, it will be his first season being the head coach on the girls team. When former coach Kate Gray stepping down, the Panthers were in search of a new coach. With few options to choose from, Tom agreed to become the head of the program.
"My fear was that they were just going to pick someone random to fill the spot, and I hated to see it come to that," he said.
Taking over the girls soccer team will be a new challenge for Moore as he steps in during an unusual time.
Just like all other sports, the team has not been able to practice together due to the pandemic. Along with this, the Panthers lost a majority of their production from last year's squad due to graduation.
This is a challenge, however, that Moore is willing to take with this team. He says that they will just have to take things slower at the beginning and build up from there. He also said that there will be a lot of focusing on the fundamentals as the season goes on.
"For a goal this season, we have the potentional to get x amount of better both as a player and as a whole," the coach said. "If we can get to 100 percent of that, it would be great, but even getting to 80 to 90 percent of that potentional is still good for where we want to be. We need to focus on getting better as players and as a team, then let the wins and the losses fall wherever they do."
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