Q&A with newly named boys varsity soccer coach Paul Kramer

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After leading the boys varsity soccer team to a 10-8-1 record in 2018, head coach Caleb Postlewait stepped down at the beginning of the summer. With the athletic department looking for a new coach to fill the position, the job would be ultimately filled by Paul Kramer, a familiar face in the FHC soccer program.

Kramer comes into the job with a tremendous amount of experience coaching soccer. He coached AYSO teams in both Hawaii and Caledonia for over six years before taking a break from coaching. That was until 2015 when Paul was named as assistant coach for both the boys JV and varsity soccer teams at Caledonia High School. After serving in that capacity for two years, Paul was moved around to be the head coach for the freshman team at Caledonia.

After three years at Caledonia, Kramer moved on to take over the role as head coach of the JV team at FHC. Not only that, but he was also an assistant on the varsity team. Under his leadership, a very young and inexperienced JV squad had a very successful season, going 9-8-1.

What was your first year of coaching varsity soccer like?

“It was very enjoyable. Definitely a learning experience, as you are in charge of a whole program, not just one team. All facets of the program need to be addressed and accounted for from equipment needs, fundraising, coaching hiring, etc.”

How does having already coached at FHC help you, and what did the year teach you?

“It absolutely helps! That one year allowed me to build so many relationships with players on both the JV and varsity teams, along with many supportive families and the FHC administration. Last year taught me the “Ranger Way”, where every athlete no matter the sport pulls for one another wearing the FHC crest. I love that mentality.”

What new ideas are you looking to bring into the program?

“Nothing earth-shattering, but really just building the right culture within the program. I believe in the ABCDE approach. A – accountability, B – proper body language, C – committed & confident, D – determined & disciplined, E – energy & effort. As long as players believe in these and enforce them at all times individually and collectively, I believe the result is success.”

What are the team’s goals this season?

“I do not like putting numbers on wins and losses. I feel if the work and preparation gets put in, the results will follow. You can’t look at a schedule and say, “This is a win”, etc. My goal would be to have our team hitting on all cylinders going into districts, and from there we will see what happens.”

What are you most looking forward to this season?

“Having the opportunity to continue to build more lasting relationships with players that go beyond soccer. Hoping to instill in them principles they will carry beyond high school. I can’t tell you how many kids that have graduated that come up and say “Coach, I remember when you told us this or taught us that” and it still reverberates with them. That means you’re doing something right. The games are great, don’t get me wrong, but trophies collect dust; memories and friendships do not.”

What are going to be some key contributions to success for this season?

“From a strictly playing point of view, we have to be able to attack defensively and offensively throughout the game.  Along with that, being confident in possession and being able to create and finish goals. That was something both JV and Varsity had a hard time doing against better opponents.”

What do you love about coaching high school soccer?

“Other than the things I already mentioned, I love that you get to spend every day with a group of kids and see tangible results on a relatively quick basis. Club soccer cannot provide that same day-in-day-out grind that high school soccer does. It makes for a mentally and physically stronger player.