There were plenty of solid candidates eager to jump into the Peak to Peak soccer programs once Peter Chandler decided it was time to focus a little bit more on his duties as the athletic director.
But when all the cards were dealt, Joe Swanson’s familiarity with the rigors of an unusual situation at the school proved him to be the best fit to take over the Pumas programs.
Swanson, who has filled a couple of roles with the soccer programs over the past six years with Chandler, was named the head coach for the boys and girls programs on Monday. He will begin his duties immediately with the intention of guiding the girls team to a third straight Class 3A state championship.
“When you’ve been there as long as I have, I’ve gotten to see the kids go from freshman year to their senior year with me, so I am familiar with them,” Swanson said. “Peak to Peak is basically a college prep school, and so there’s a lot of pressure on the kids for their grades. You have to be flexible as a coach with that, and I am all about education first. If they have to get things done, they need to do those things and make soccer second.
“There are a lot of those little issues that we have to work with, and when you know all that stuff and those pressures, I think it helps a coach to be able to work with the kids a lot better.”
“Joe knows our kids,” Chandler said. “He is a good coach as far as tactical stuff, but he know our kids and he knows the academic expectations of the school. He has also (coached) teams in my absence. He took the girls in the playoffs, quarterfinals, semifinals … he was steady that way.”
Prior to working at Peak to Peak, Swanson was part of an atmospheric rise with the Broomfield Blast club team, seeing them become a Division I participant. He coached his children up through the ranks, and now is eager to take on both the boys and girls programs — an idea that he brought to the interview table with him.
“That was a question that was brought up, if I would like to do both of them and yeah, initially I was all for it,” he said. “One of the the things I like about high school soccer is it’s three months on, three months off. You get in the club scene and it’s 365 days a year, 24 hours a day it feels like sometimes. That aspect of high school, you can step back and regroup a bit, take a look at what you have and see how you can improve as a coach.
“They asked, you know, what if we offered you one or the other and my answer to them was, I kind of had my sights set on both.”
What he’s getting is a couple of successful programs. The boys won a state title in 2005, and last year’s 6-9-1 mark is not typical of what the Pumas have seen even since then. The girls are 33-5-2 over the past two seasons.
On the field, there will be only minor changes.
“I would like to see us become maybe a little more attacking-oriented, but I am one of those people who do believe that if (opponents) aren’t scoring, then we aren’t losing yet,” Swanson said. “Defense first, but I do believe we need to work on attacking in situations. Overall, you’ll see in general the same style of play.”
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