KEYSER - Ethan Patrick was named the new Potomac State men's soccer coach in February of this year. Coach Patrick's been on the job for only six months and until this evening, the Catamounts haven't even played in their first game.

By Chapin Jewell
Tribune Correspondent
KEYSER - Ethan Patrick was named the new Potomac State men’s soccer coach in February of this year. Coach Patrick’s been on the job for only six months and until this evening, the Catamounts haven’t even played in their first game.  
Despite these facts, Coach Patrick has already made a positive name for himself and the PSC soccer program in the community.
“I came directly to Potomac State from Virginia, just south of Richmond. The first thing I noticed when I drove in was the sign that said Keyser is the ‘friendliest city in the USA.’  I’ve discovered, and my players say the same thing, that the people are so nice here. The community is close-knit, everybody seems to know each other, and that’s one neat aspect of this community,” Coach Patrick stated.
While the coach and his players have certainly experienced nothing but a warm welcome in the community, Patrick saw an opportunity to improve and strengthen the connection between the college and the community.  According to Coach Patrick, “When I got here, the difference is I didn’t see that the community and the college were close-knit. The community in and of itself, yes.  But the community and the college, there seemed to be some sort of barrier there.”
Coach Patrick immediately went to work on strengthening the tie between the community and the college.  
“My first three months I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how I as a soccer coach could begin to break down that barrier. We want the community to come to our soccer games; we want our soccer players to be excited about the community they’re in. So, as a soccer team, we decided that we are going to support youth soccer in this area and show them that we care.”
The first thing that happened is that Potomac State hosted a youth soccer camp.  According to Patrick, “The numbers weren’t great but the kids that I had really seemed to enjoy it. When I see them at the youth soccer games, they are pumped and excited to show our soccer players what they can do on the field.”
Most recently, Patrick and his Potomac State men’s soccer team showed up for the opening weekend of the Potomac Highlands Soccer League at Larenim Park. While there, the Catamounts handed out Potomac State water bottles, helped referee, and just generally had a meet and greet with the children. The kids, and a lot of parents, took notice and appreciated the efforts made by the program to connect with the community.
“We went to last week’s soccer games and we are going back this week. We were there for the 9 o’clock game, and every Saturday that we’re in town and have a home game, we’ll be there for at least one or two games in the morning.  Hopefully that shows that we want to support the community and be involved in what’s happening.  
“In return, hopefully that will break down some of that wall or barrier for the community with the college that sits up on the hill,” Coach Patrick explains.
There are also plans to involve the youth soccer players with Potomac State’s home games. The plans and details aren’t totally ironed out yet, but the goal is to have the youth players be ball boys and play halftime exhibition games against each other.  
“It’s still in the development stage, but we’re trying to get the relationship to where we go there and they come here,” Patrick stated.
In addition to the involvement with youth soccer, the Catamounts were also involved in a community service project that took the team to Camp Minco for a day of cleanup activities. This activity was part of the college’s opening day, student body community service actions. Most students stayed on campus to pack food for those in need; the men’s and women’s soccer teams went on assignments off campus.
“We did a lot of prep work for when they will have campers there.  We painted picnic tables where the paint had chipped off; we painted benches, washed cabin walls on the outside, just generally helped get things cleaned up there in the time that we had,” Coach Patrick detailed.
Potomac State will kick off their season tonight, at home, at 7 p.m.  That will be followed by another home game next Thursday at 6 p.m.  
Under Coach Patrick’s leadership, Potomac State’s Soccer program has shown a tremendous commitment to the community, particularly with respect to the youth and youth soccer.  As they see it, while the relationship between the college and the community has in no way been bad, there was an excellent opportunity to enhance and strengthen the bond between the two.
Coach Ethan Patrick and his Catamounts seized that opportunity to make a difference. The community, no doubt, will respond in kind.