SHORT GAP - Chris Brooks is no stranger to soccer at Frankfort High School. In the last two seasons, Brooks has served as the assistant coach for the Lady Falcons' soccer program. In addition, some 20 years ago, Brooks actually played as a junior and senior on the first two boys' soccer teams in the history of Frankfort High School.
By Chapin Jewell
SHORT GAP - Chris Brooks is no stranger to soccer at Frankfort High School. In the last two seasons, Brooks has served as the assistant coach for the Lady Falcons’ soccer program. In addition, some 20 years ago, Brooks actually played as a junior and senior on the first two boys’ soccer teams in the history of Frankfort High School.
On Tuesday evening, things came full circle for Brooks as the Mineral County Board of Education officially approved his placement as the new girls’ soccer coach at Frankfort, filling a post vacated by Amber Knotts, who Brooks served with as assistant coach the last two seasons.
For Brooks, it’s a combination of a lifelong passion for the sport of soccer, and a commitment to Frankfort soccer in general that led to his interest in the position.
“I started playing soccer myself when I was about 8 years old here in Mineral County. I played in whatever youth leagues were around, back then it was Mineral County Youth Soccer, and then AYSO. I actually played for the first team that Frankfort High School ever had back in 1999. I graduated in 2001, so I played my junior and senior years on the first two teams they ever had,” Brooks explained.
According to Brooks, those first two seasons were rough in terms of wins and losses for the Falcons, as there was a relative lack of soccer playing experience on the roster. With an initial roster of 13 players, only five had played soccer at the youth league levels. Nonetheless, Brooks described the experience as fun and a learning experience for all involved. Brooks and his teammates were the pioneers of Frankfort soccer.
While Frankfort is fresh off a relatively successful girls’ soccer season, Brooks knows there will be some challenges in terms of numbers and replacing talent and experience lost to graduation, but it’s a challenge he’s eager to accept.
“We lost four seniors and I know from helping out in the JCP league that there’s not a lot of girls coming up from the eighth grade this year. So if everybody returns we’ll only have 13 on the roster, but I’m assuming we’re going to get a couple more, but I don’t know what kind of experience they’re going to have. There were no eight graders last year or this year coming up from the JCP league,” Brooks explained.
Speaking of the JCP league, Brooks has coaching experience in that league, in addition to his two years as the assistant coach at Frankfort. He has supplemented that coaching experience by taking several coaches courses through U.S. Soccer, both online and in-person classes, all of which have been proven to be very informative and helpful.
“I took a few coaching courses last summer through U.S. Soccer with the Richmond Kickers professional soccer team. With those courses and the ones I had taken already taken, I’m eligible for a class D coaching license from U.S. Soccer,” states Brooks.
In terms of the coaching philosophy Brooks will bring as the head girls’ soccer coach at Frankfort, the biggest focus will center on fundamentals.
“Depending on the experience of the players, because we also had a few players last year that were new to the game, fundamentals are going to be a big thing that we will focus on. They should be focused on fundamentals themselves. I tend to expect them to do a lot more fundamentals work on their own,” Brooks explained.
According to Brooks, “That’s where great players are made. You can get good going to soccer practice every day, but if you’re not doing anything at home, you’re never going to get any better than that. That’s something I’m going to try to push for and help them maybe focus a little bit more on. That’s something they can do on their own to make themselves better.”
Brooks, a Frankfort graduate, is married to another Frankfort graduate, Christian Brooks. Together, the couple has a nine-year old son Jakob, who is actively involved as a JCP soccer player. Brooks is also a teacher at Keyser Middle School, currently teaching special education, but starting next year, he will move to teaching science.
In Chris Brooks, Frankfort will have a head coach with a passion for the game dating back to his youth, a passion for Frankfort soccer dating back to his own playing days in Short Gap, and someone who along with his coaching experience, has gone the extra mile to educate himself through U.S. Soccer’s educational programs.