PENINSULA — He has been coaching for nearly 20 years.
However, Jason Allenspach’s ultimate mission has very little to do with a sport widely known as "The Beautiful Game."
"Soccer has almost become secondary," the longtime Woodridge head girls soccer coach said.
"It’s because it’s more about what did they develop as people," Allenspach said. "That’s kind of our goal: to develop good people."
Fortunately for the veteran soccer guru, such a task turned out to be his easiest one.
He just wishes the soccer part of the equation had a bit more lasting power.
The Bulldogs’ 2019 season came to a crushing end after a 1-0 loss to Tallmadge in a Kent Division II sectional semifinal game Monday at Bulldogs Stadium.
The Blue Devils scored the lone goal with a little less than 10 minutes left and Woodridge, despite several opportunities, couldn’t find the back of the net.
While Allenspach didn’t care for the outcome, he knows the long-term goal is still intact.
For some of his players, their soccer journey is over. However, when it comes to the sometimes harsh but possibly glorious circumstances that will define the rest of their lives, their journey is just beginning.
"It’s about when they go off into the future and the world and do great things," Allenspach said. "Learn to play the game, learn to play together, be a team and the soccer stuff will come along."
Since he has been around the block, Allenspach is fully aware that no two snowflakes are alike. Thus, establishing team chemistry was an essential priority.
"It’s about just being people and coexisting," Allenspach said. "Learn to work with our differences and play the game they love to play."
Seeing his players apply those life lessons is what Allenspach seeks every year. The evidence doesn’t come until later, though.
Sometimes much later. Either way, that’s just fine with the Bulldogs’ head man.
"Courtney Luebbering, one of the alumni, came back and volunteered once she graduated from college for three, four years just to coach not only because she loved the team and loved soccer, but she loved being a Woodridge alum," Allenspach said. "To see people come back and just be a part of it, that means a lot."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, email@example.com or @FrankAceto_RPC.