By Nicole Bologna
Soccer is a sport that brings many different people to many different places of the world. Six years ago the University of Jamestown added Nick Becker as its head coach of the women’s soccer program to develop and redesign the program.
Once a player himself, he has a strong sense of the game in which he has instilled in his team. Becker had a background in soccer long before being named the head coach, and he grew up playing soccer as kid and continued as a collegiate athlete. Becker played one year at Briar Cliff University and finished his career at Presentation College.
His love for the game and his parents being influential coaches in his life growing up made him have a passion to pursue coaching.
“Having that background and running the club in our small town, I got introduced to coaching at the early age of 14,” Becker said. “We not only started the programs but also generated a lot of success, so I think being invested early helped me lean towards the coaching component.”
Becker has implemented and made a strong presence since he has taken over the program. With his guidance over the years, the women's soccer team has improved greatly. This past 2017 season the women's soccer team has gone down in school history by making the NAIA Top 25 for the very first time. Women’s soccer also went undefeated at home for the second consecutive year with a record of 14-5-1.
Teams face many obstacles in a season and they look to their coach for the answers and guidance. A team is composed of many talented players, but credit must be given to their mentor. This past season Becker received the Coach of the year Award. With his patience, knowledge, and passion for the game, he was the man with all the answers to create yet again another strong and successful team with an outstanding season.
“Hard work, discipline, and team work are the three biggest pillars for me,” Becker said. “Other components exists such as talent, but without the foundations of a healthy program the others will become irrelevant.”
Another component to any successful team is team chemistry. As a coach selecting players with talent is just the basics. As a team, diversity between players can be challenging. The connection of a team on and off a field is a vital to a team’s success.
“This year's group has a great team dynamic, but where we may differ from years in the past is in the facet of having a bigger upper class group,” Becker said. “This is the first time we have add an overwhelming group of players that have competed on the field for at least three or four years.”
Besides all the technicalities of soccer, there is no rule book on how to become the perfect coach. It is a tough job to lead a team of 30 women with skill, compassion and power. To be a coach does not just begin when they step on a field, but truly is a job that is a lifestyle.
“Coach Becker does not only stick up for his players on the field during practice and games, but off the field as well,” Connie Contreras, team captain. “That not only makes him a great coach, but someone we all look up to.”