SE: New coaches, same goals for K-State football

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By: Austin siegel

Go through the front door of Buser Family Park and turn left at the ball of the very first K-State Soccer game in Manhattan.

Hang right in front of the 2015 stadium inauguration shovel and follow the wall art commemorating the Big 12’s first victory in program history against Kansas two years later.

This is where you can find Don Trentham and the office of David Romay, two coaches who are still learning the story of a soccer program barely old enough to have a story to begin with.

But make no mistake, this story is hidden throughout the halls of the stadium, and the new guys are getting excited about Manhattan’s future.

“When I started talking to Mike [Dibbini], I was really excited because I knew the squad he had here, ”said Trentham. cool place to be part of something special. ‘ I think that’s what’s going on here. “

Trentham comes from Missouri, where he was an associate head coach with the Tigers, a team that reached the NCAA tournament in 2016. Prior to his time with the SEC, Trentham was an assistant at Colorado and spent nine seasons as a head coach at Montana State. -Billing.

Romay took a different path, arriving in Manhattan from the Houston Dynamo, where he worked as a goaltending coach in the club’s academy and with the Houston Dash of the NWSL.

The 2019 and 2020 Texas A&M graduate racked up the miles on the two-hour commute from College Station to Houston, where he spent three seasons with the MLS club.

Even as an undergraduate student at Texas A&M, Romay believed his future was in coaching.

“You get a lot of funny looks when you say things like that,” he said. “But the reality is people don’t understand the idea that we all have different things in life that motivate us… I’ve always wanted to settle into a program like this and have the opportunity to wake up and be like, “Damn, I’m the luckiest man in the world. You can’t put a price on it. “

The unique football identities of the two coaches extend to the pitch, where Trentham will focus on team defense while Romay will coach goalkeepers.

Just two weeks after arriving in Manhattan, the two coaches are working on their tactical decisions ahead of K-State’s first exhibition game at South Dakota State on Thursday.

There’s a lot to like between the lines at Buser Family Park.

Romay will work with three goalkeepers who bring starting experience in the 2021 season, junior redshirt Rachel harris and second year students Alaina Werremeyer and Peyton pearson.

Werremeyer and Pearson both earned Big 12 Freshman of the Week honors supporting the Wildcats last season, while a returning Harris starter missed the 2020 season with injury.

“It’s a luxury because all three of them are great people and they understand this team mentality first,” Romay said. “It is not difficult to find other circumstances where their [starting experience] could become a double-edged sword and break the locker room. They make my job difficult because I have to choose one, but they make my job easy because I know the three are always going to support each other. “

Trentham is tasked with retooling what has been one of K-State’s deepest groups of positions.

Avery Green and Shelby Lierz graduated after leading defense in 2020, while Silke bonnen became the first Wildcat to sign a professional contract, joining HB Køge in his native Denmark.

But seven returning players started at least one game for the Wildcats in defense last season, with Aliyah El Naggar make an instant impact through the spring transfer portal.

Trentham knows it firsthand – he was on the opposing sidelines at Columbia when El-Naggar scored an overtime equalizer to help the Wildcats fight Missouri 3-1.

“I knew her as a young player and wanted Aliyah, but she ended up going to Ohio state. She had that tying goal so I definitely know what she’s capable of,” Trentham said. “What I saw in this game was a team that fought against them. It’s tough when you are down 3-1 on the road, but they took control of the last 10 minutes of this match. “

Romay had a similar feeling while watching the 2020 K-State Strip to prepare for its first season in Manhattan.

“Some varsity teams play extremely direct, but others try to have a little more of it. For me it was important to understand how the team played,” he said. “When I got to campus I felt right at home. It’s because of who Dibbini is. This program is on the rise, we’re not necessarily where we want to be yet, but it’s there. ‘one of the good guys in this profession. “

Trentham said his first visit to Manhattan was with Missouri, when the Tigers arrived for a spring game. Arriving at the team’s hotel after dark and leaving hours after the game was over, he admitted he didn’t see much of what would become his new home.

His return visit this summer was a different experience, from visiting the Flint Hills to understanding the direction of K-State Soccer. The Wildcats set the school’s record for wins in 2020 and reached their highest Big 12 ranking in program history.

Ultimately, that could be the most important thing Trentham and Romay bring to Manhattan: a commitment to help the Wildcats keep the positive momentum behind the program.

And they’re still moving to their offices at Buser Family Park. Trentham had time to redecorate with clothes from his favorite English club, Shrewsbury Town FC.

“There are a lot of Trenthams up there and we had some good races in the FA Cup,” he said. “The only professional game I attended in England was at Gay Meadow to watch Shrewsbury.”

Considering the Shrews were a semi-professional club 18 years ago and K-State Soccer has been around for less than half that time, there could be a metaphor somewhere between Manhattan and Shrewsbury. The formula for success is certainly the same.

“This is who we are. This is what we did, but where can we take it and what mindset do we need to make it happen? said Trentham. “Everyone on this list has the same goal: we want to win and help this program continue in the right direction.”

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