Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
WAVERLY — When a head coaching position opened in a program he used to play for, Luke McAllister couldn’t pass up the opportunity to apply.
The 2014 Waverly graduate jumped at the chance to apply for the school’s boys soccer post a few weeks back. This past week, he announced a goal of his had come to fruition.
“Waverly is home. So when I was informed that there was an opening, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to apply for the head coaching job,” McAllister said. “I have played soccer since I was six and when I graduated I always wanted to get back into coaching the game of soccer to future generations of players, as well as give back to the soccer community I grew up in. This opportunity is a great way to do both of those things.”
During his playing career, McAllister was a four-year varsity letter winner and a three-year starter for the Tigers. He played defense throughout his four-year stint and was a captain during his senior year.
Oh, and his graduating class won four consecutive Southern Ohio Conference championships.
“I have been on all-SOC teams and all-district teams. I was a part of a graduating class that won four straight SOC titles and made it to two district title games,” McAllister said. “I am most proud of the SOC titles. It’s really a hard thing to do and to do it four straight years is something that doesn’t happen often.”
One of his first goals for the program moving forward is getting it back to SOC prominence.
“My short-term goals are to compete in the SOC this year and for my players to continuously improve throughout the season,” McAllister said. “My long-term goals are to win the SOC and to compete in the district championship game.”
How will he do it? With what he knows best, of course … defense.
“I’m a defensive mind so my first goal is to work on defense, both individual and team defense,” McAllister said. “A team that plays great team defense is one that succeeds.”
Last fall, the Tigers suffered through a subpar year before eventually bowing out of the postseason in a 12-0 loss to Marietta — the eventual district champion — in a Division II sectional final.
McAllister is hoping he can change that trajectory of the recent past and do so with a refresher course on the program’s values.
“We want to continue on building the family-based culture. The team is like a family and when the family works together, we can do anything we set out to do,” McAllister said. That’s what Waverly soccer has always been about.”