Jordan boys soccer welcomes new head coach Justin JahnkeMar 30, 2021 10:51AM ● By Tavia Dutson
Jordan boys soccer captain Cole Kartchner outruns a defender in a 2021 game. (Photo courtesy Justin Jahnke)
By Tavia Dutson | [email protected]
As the Beetdiggers begin the 2021 season, they are busy adjusting to being back on the field after their 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19. To help the boys navigate this, the team can look to new head coach Justin Jahnke.
Jahnke has been in the Jordan soccer program as an assistant for the past two years and is excited to have the opportunity to coach these boys. He is ready to direct the program toward some big goals.
“I think our main goal is to do well in region. I don't remember the last time we won region,” Jahnke said. “When setting goals as a new coach I wanted to set the bar high. Winning region is a big goal for me and our team. I think we have the talent to do that. Of course, making a run in the state playoff is a goal as well.”
Cole Kartchner, a senior striker for the Beetdiggers, is confident that the team can achieve these goals and more.
“I want us to have a good playoff run. I’d love for us to make it to the semifinals. If we make it there, I will feel like we have done a good job,” Kartchner said.
With only a few second-place finishes in the region since 2000, the Beetdiggers are hungry for a title. If anyone can catapult them to the top of the ranks, it’s coach Jahnke.
Before Jahnke came to Utah, he spent years making a name for himself in Missouri. Jahnke finished a successful collegiate soccer career at Lindenwood University where he helped the Lions claim a NAIA national title in 2004. Since then, he spent several years coaching high school programs in Missouri.
Now that he is with the Beetdiggers, Jahnke hopes to pass on some of his knowledge and experience to his team. One of his goals for the program is to get more colleges looking at Jordan soccer players.
“That is something I liked when I was a coach in Missouri was seeing guys that I coached go play at that next level. I think that is something that successful programs have,” Jahnke said. “I’d like to see some of my guys get some offers, go to the next level, and get some help with school.”
Along with an experienced head coach, the Jordan soccer team is beginning this season with an important intangible—perspective. After the cancellation of the 2020 season, the Beetdiggers were able to see how lucky they were just to get out on the field every day.
“We got more excited and more hungry just to play. I think us and maybe some other teams around took it for granted,” Jahnke said. “That thought of ‘here’s another spring we get to play’ and then it didn't happen. I think we just got really excited for this year.”
Kartchner agrees that although last year was hard, particularly for the seniors, he has been able to see the fire that the missed season has ignited in his teammates. As a captain, he has found it easier to keep the team motivated.
“I think it actually helped a lot of the guys. They're not taking the team for granted anymore. They're here to actually work and know that it may get taken away at any moment, so they are all pushing it, giving it 110%” Kartchner said.
As the Beetdiggers get ready for region play, they are working on reining in their excitement so that they can play relaxed. After a tough loss to Westlake on March 12, Jahnke knew that his team was ready to learn from the experience.
“I think we might have been overly excited, but the guys are just ready. Our last game was against Westlake, a good, disciplined team, it was a learning experience. We will watch the film and get better from it,” Jahnke said.
With a new appreciation for the sport along with a new head coach, the Jordan boys soccer team is ready to make waves in Region 3. As Kartchner would say, “Don’t sleep on Jordan.”