Drew Marshall continues to climb the coaching ranks at Northwestern School Corporation.
Last month, the 2011 Kokomo High School graduate was promoted to Northwestern’s next head coach for the varsity girls’ soccer team. Previously, he served as the assistant junior varsity coach and then junior varsity coach. Marshall became interested in the position after former Head Coach Kevin Smith approached him. Having coached youth club soccer in Kokomo, Marshall already knew many of the girls on the current Lady Tigers team.
“(I became interested) mainly because we had a huge group of girls for years. I loved coaching them. They became probably a part of my life just as much as I became a part of theirs. Automatically going to the high school level, (I) probably knew half the team. I just couldn’t say no, a lot of the girls being seniors and then the younger group coming up. They’ve got a wonderful group of girls overall,” Marshall said.
Although he hopes to implement his own preferences to the girls’ soccer program, Marshall said his leadership will not bring about a complete change. When he came to Northwestern’s soccer program four years ago, Marshall said he brought his ideas to Smith, who welcomed ideas from all his coaching staff.
One change Marshall plans to make is to make the team more possessive during gameplay.
“We’ll be more possessive. I plan on trying to use the sweeper more as far as continuing our field presence when building up our attack. There are some things that need to develop there in order to do that. I really don’t think there will be a huge change as far as what the girls expect because I’ve known them all for so long,” Marshall said.
To start his first season as head coach, Marshall will not be able to practice with the team until July 6 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the team met over the winter months, even before Marshall was named head coach, and he provided the players with workouts and drills to practice before official practices began.
IHSAA’s summer guidelines encourage sports teams to be split up into pods in an effort to social distance before the season starts, and Marshall said that actually could be beneficial to the team.
“The groups have to be in sizes 10 to 15. What this could really actually help out with is on the days where we are separated in the first two weeks. I can have specified drills for the defensive groups, specified drills for the midfielder, attacking group, and the goalies, so on and so forth,” Marshall said.
During normal summer practices, having all the players together leads to more practicing on gameplay with the entire team, according to Marshall, rather than focusing on specific positions on the field.
Additionally, staying in small groups will allow for more stretching and muscle-building to prevent injuries and develop muscles, he said.
For the future of the Lady Tigers’ soccer program, Marshall said in a couple of years the team should have a chance to compete for the conference title, if not win it. For the upcoming fall season, Marshall foresees the team making it far into the postseason, potentially through semi-state.
“We’ve got a solid group of girls, and it’s just a matter of how much hard work have they put in in the off-season? I think over the next couple days, right as the season starts, we should really be able to see where we can just skyrocket from there,” Marshall said.