Coaching with heart and soul

Ben Mack heads to Woodland Park on Tuesday May 2 for the match-up with Manitou junior varsity and varsity teams.

Halli Frost

Ben Mack heads to Woodland Park on Tuesday May 2 for the match-up with Manitou junior varsity and varsity teams.

Halli Frost, Senior Reporter

What does Soccer mean to Manitou? To many, it means to have true sportsmanship, heart, and determination.

Ben Mack is a Biology and AP Biology teacher and well-known coach at Manitou Springs High School. “I just finished my 20th year coaching the boys, and this will be my eighth year of being head coach for girls soccer,” Mack said.

Mack loves to bring positivity to soccer to help student involvement increase.

“It’s just really cool to kind of bring the game of soccer to kids that I teach, and get them excited also about such an amazing sport,” Mack said. 

Since the age of five, Mack has been heavily involved with playing the sport and at the age of 16 he coached his first team. “I just thought it would be so fun to coach little kids, so I took that on and just really fell in love with coaching and talking about strategy,” Mack said.

Aside from Mack’s coaching career, he also took soccer very seriously out of high school.

“I played at Division II CSU Pueblo, and I was one of three Alaskans to get a scholarship to play soccer from outside of the state,” Mack said. 

The players on Mack’s girls varsity soccer team have not only achieved unity, but also a place where every player has each other’s backs.

Mariah Johnson (12) said, “My favorite thing about soccer is the team. I love having a group of girls that I really trust, that I know have my back and I know will help me out whenever I need it.” 

Though Johnson has played soccer for nine years and has had many different coaches, Mack is still her favorite. 

“Coach Mack specifically has taught me perseverance, truly perseverance and to hold myself accountable,”Johnson said. “He’s honestly the best coach I’ve ever had. I’ve gone through two different schools and multiple different club coaches, and yet he’s my favorite.”

Mack’s contribution as a coach to the team has allowed them to have fun, but also be serious when the season’s playoffs come around.

Kara Donegan (10) said, “We have a lot of easy games this season, so when we get into the playoffs, we have to kind of flip a switch to be intense.”

Mack believes that no matter what obstacle comes, the support of a team can help each member come out through the other side healthy.

Mack said, “I would say you trust the process, do the right thing, continue to make the right choices and everything’s gonna get to work out well.”