Wallace State soccer is in the midst of its best season in years, and first-year head coach Barry Spitzer has everything to do with it except scoring the goals himself.

Spitzer took the job this past offseason and began his job with one thing in mind — recruiting the best players available. He is pulling double duty this season handling the Lions as well as coaching at the high school level.

“It is just a lot of phone calls, but I am a little blessed being a high school coach,” Spitzer said. “I get to see and talk to a lot of kids and their coaches. A lot of kids just don’t get seen, and it’s tough get seen by the NAIA and Division I coaches.”

The job of recruiting at the junior college level is not easy, and Spitzer said he just prepared himself to spend countless hours on the horn.

“What I did I did when I got this job is I made a lot of phone calls,” Spitzer said. “I calling club coaches and high school coaches asking who do you have that’s not being seen that deserves to play college soccer.”

Not only did Spitzer talk to high school athletes, he went after college players as well.

“I talked to Division I coaches , Division II coaches and NAIA coaches throughout the state,” he said. “I asked, ‘Who do you have that may not be a fit for your team that I might like?’”

On the outset, one would think a coach would be apprehensive in turning his players over to a JUCO program, but the payoff is usually a greater value than the sacrifice if the player is sent to a quality program with quality coaching.

“They may say he is good, but he played for a weaker high school or a weaker club team,” Spitzer said. “Maybe he has developed some bad habits, and we need give him to good habit. I hope that I can do that before the player goes to the next level.”

There are pipelines for every coach in every sport at every level, but for Spitzer, he said it has been hit-and-miss in calling coaches.

“There are certain places I call more, but I have the belief that there is at least one really good player on a team,” he said. “Alpha Richards is a perfect example. Erwin soccer in not well known, but within 15 minutes, I knew I would have him on my team.”

Spitzer’s philosophy is if he can pull one quality player from 15 to 20 high school teams, he feels he has a solid team.

Even though college coaches send players down to JUCO level, they understand the risk they are taking in that a player is not obligated to come back to that team.

“Coaches know that when a player is sent here there is a chance they may not get them back,” he said. “By sending me a few players, they are hoping a player is going to come out of that on the other end. Maybe it’s the same player, maybe it’s not. You just can’t tell how players will develop.”

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