This week, Barrington Suburban Life contributor Tim Sieck sat down with Barrington High School girls soccer coach Ryan Stengren. The former University of Akron star lets us know who he thinks will win the World Cup and why he enjoys coaching the Fillies.
Sieck: What is your athletic background?
Stengren: I started playing soccer at the age of seven in Arlington Heights. After playing for Hersey High School, I got a scholarship to plays soccer for the Zips at the University of Akron.
Sieck: Why did you decide to coach soccer?
Stengren: When I think about it, soccer has provided me so many opportunities and lifelong memories. I am so thankful for those things, and I wanted to give back. The best way that I thought I could give back was by coaching and helping to build for others the same kind of positive experiences soccer provided me.
Sieck: What is the best thing about being a coach?
Stengren: The thing I love most about being a coach is building lasting relationships with my players and seeing them succeed in life.
Sieck: Who have been your coaching mentors?
Stengren: Ken Lolla, my coach at the University of Akron. Ken is now the head coach at the University of Louisville and has earned the title of Division 1 Coach of the Year. Ken taught me how to create a competitive environment and have a clear understanding of where you are and where you want to go.
Sieck: What advice would you give incoming freshman on what they need to do to succeed in your program?
Stengren: The majority of our kids have played for BASA or FCX Soccer Club now or at some point in their careers. They need to listen to those coaches and give 100 percent in their club season. This club has fantastic coaches and facilities that prepare players for varsity soccer and is a reason why our program has sustained success over the last seven years. Our program has good working relationships with these clubs, which is very unique to high school soccer these days.
Sieck: Who do you think will win the World Cup?
Stengren: My heart says U.S.A., but my brain says Germany or the Netherlands.
Sieck: What are you doing this summer?
Stengren: I went on vacation and have been spending time with my family and watching the World Cup. I have also been trying to figure out how to stay one step ahead of everyone else.
Sieck: Why is Barrington a great place to coach?
Stengren: There are a number of reasons why I enjoy coaching in Barrington. We have a very supportive administration that provides me the resources and tools necessary to be the kind of coach that I want to be. Also, our community is tremendous. We have great soccer programs and amazing families that instill strong character into their children.
Sieck: What has been the most memorable game of your coaching career?
Stengren: I don't have just one memorable game, I really believe that every year we have memorable games. For example, during this season when we played Loyola, we earned a red-card early in the game. We still had to play 90 minutes while down a player and still found a way to win.