THIS WEEK’S TOP STORIES
Sports: Soccer coach gets 300th win in 20th season at WHS
By Charles Swenson
The cooler dumped over the head of Waccamaw High soccer coach Ben Schoen after this week’s opening playoff win over Manning wasn’t the first splash of cold water he’s felt this season. But it was the sweetest.
The 4-0 decision was number 300 for the coach in his 20th season with the Warriors. “I don’t want to take attention away from the kids, but I’m proud of it,” he said.
Not so proud that he mentioned the number to anyone other than his wife Jill or his former assistant, Joel Sapp. If Sapp hadn’t told the game announcer, Matt Giltmier, the milestone might have passed quietly.
The Warriors are 9-9-1 going into today’s second round playoff match against Bluffton. “This year was good experience. Things didn’t go according to script,” Schoen said. “I’ve done a lot of soul searching as a coach. I’ve laid off some of the things I did when I was younger.”
He came to Waccamaw from Georgetown High in 1998. The ’97 season was the last time the Bulldogs beat the Warriors twice until this year, when they snatched the region title with a pair of wins decided by penalty kicks. The Warriors were 8-14 in Schoen’s first season and he wasn’t looking at milestones.
This season, he knew he was getting close. “A few weeks into the season we were struggling,” he said. “It thought it might have to wait until next year.”
The Warriors made a slow start against Manning, but a goal from Jack Moody outside the penalty area and a tap-in of a loose ball at the end of the first half secured their trip to the next round. Jackson Tiller scored on a breakaway and Jonah Stump redirected a corner kick in the second half to complete the scoring.
Schoen has taken a long view all season. He will have 17 players return next year. The 300 wins are a sign that he’s built a program that endures an ever-changing roster. “It’s a sign of consistency,” he said. “It’s a tribute to all those kids who played.” That includes Sapp and this year’s assistants Justin Blomdahl and Yobani Rafaela.
Now 46, “I still feel like I can give it everything I’ve got,” Schoen said.
Are 500 wins possible? “You never say never,” Schoen said.