After 12 years of assistant coaching the Colchester High School’s (CHS) Varsity Boys Soccer team, Ty Pratt took the lead this fall as head coach. His trusty team manager was only nine years old and according to Pratt, she kicks balls—soccer balls. She’s also his daughter.
For Pratt, his role as a coach goes beyond the field. His goal moving forward is to involve the team in the community more, and reintroduce players to the importance of having fun, rather than just winning.
“It’s more than just a game,” he said. “I can help the kids do a lot more. If they have something going on at home and need someone to talk to—” he wants to be that person. The kids talk to him about everything, from staying on top of school work, to what their plans are post high school.
But while he’s enjoyed coaching for 13 years, Pratt didn’t exactly intend to be a soccer coach. If you had asked him as a 20-something year old in college, he would’ve thought of the prospect as a nice dream, but not a real option.
“I came back to play at an alumni game,” Pratt explained. The previous head coach was looking for an assistant and asked Pratt if he was interested. Flash forward 13 years, Pratt is still coaching.
“It took a few years to figure it out,” Pratt said, but he’s enjoyed seeing the kids come together both on the field and in the community.
As he moves forward, Pratt said that his goal for coaching is to involve the team in the community. This year, he held an alumni game, and brought four alumni to run a practice with his team. “It was really neat to see these guys who graduated, that still love soccer, excited to come back and pass on knowledge to the younger guys,” he said. “And the guys wanted to show the alumni what they could do.”
Some of his players volunteered at Malletts Bay School (MBS) during the fall season: hanging out with the younger kids during recess, playing games, and teaching them about sportsmanship. At one of the varsity boys soccer games, the youth soccer team walked onto the field with the older players and played a game at half-time.
On top of acting as a place of support, Pratt stressed his desire to make the game as fun as possible.
“When they’re kids, they’re not out there to win every game—they should be out there to have fun,” said Pratt. “If they’re not having fun, that’s a problem.”
This push to remind kids to have fun and get more involved in the community, is in part thanks to Pratt’s daughter. “I owe a lot of that to coaching my daughter,” Pratt said. She’s played hockey and soccer for the last five years. As his team manager, she helped out by keeping game stats and acting as the ball girl.
“I’m always thinking of ways that I can improve for each individual; ways to make it more fun,” Pratt said. The fall soccer season wrapped up in October.