By Brody Voge in Sports
Clark decided to stay in-house with its pick for the new women’s soccer coach.
Sean Janson started his coaching career at Clark as the men’s assistant coach. That was in 2007, the same year the men went on to win the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges title.
Langdon Roscoe, who captained the 2013-14 men’s team, describes Janson as passionate, fiery, loud and motivational. “I think every team needs a coach like Sean. I think Sean’s kind of the glue that brings teams together.”
Roscoe recalled one specific example of Janson’s intensity: “It was two weeks before [the] NWAACC playoffs. Sean was leading so we knew it’d be intense. We were running suicides and he was yelling so hard his face was turning red, just screaming ‘NWAACC Champions!”
The women made the playoffs for a second consecutive time last year. After winning in the first round, their season came to an end after losing in the next. “Last season we were pretty strong but had some weak points,” said midfielder Tammy Hilgendorf. “When it came to the playoffs we kinda just broke down.”
Director of Athletics Charles Guthrie invited returning players to participate in the interviewing process. Hilgendorf, who redshirted last season due to a major knee injury, was one of the players who interviewed Janson. “After Sean’s interview we were pretty confident that he was who we wanted,” she said.
It’s Janson’s energy that made Hilgendorf believe he’s the perfect fit for the team. “He brings a lot of energy and already has faith in us. It’s gonna be good for us to get that push.”
Janson described the interview process as “stressless.”
“I knew everybody so it was pretty easy,” Janson said. “I’ve been coaching in the NWAACC for seven years. I had nothing to lose.”
In his seven years as an assistant coach for the men, Janson has seen much success. He comes into his first season on the women’s side expecting nothing less. “The immediate goal is to win the South Region title,” he said. “We’re gonna win the South next year.”
While winning is important to Janson, he understands the athletes are college students as well. “They’re students first; academics are important to me,” Janson said. “I wanna make sure they know they’ve got a coach that cares.”
Janson admits leaving the men’s program wasn’t easy. “That was the hardest part,” he said. “The players coming back that I won’t be able to coach […]. That was the hardest part.”
Janson doesn’t forget who gave him his start. “I wanna thank [men’s coach] Biniam [Afenegus] for giving me the opportunity to be a part of his program,” He said. “I am truly grateful. I loved every minute of it. Working with [the men] and getting to know them. I’ll be their biggest fan.”