A coaching change briefly jolted the Yorktown girls soccer program, but three games into the 2012 season, the perennial Delaware County power is back on solid footing.
The Tigers lost their head coach back in June when Joe Greiner resigned after nine seasons to devote more time to his family and his career. The timing of his resignation left Yorktown athletic director Dan Wolfert scrambling for a replacement with the opening practice less than two months away.
Turns out, the best candidate was already on the Yorktown payroll. Boys soccer head coach Zach Rabenstein with his staff of Steven Barnes, Sammy Scaringelli, Zach Posey and Dave Reece applied to coach both teams.
Rabenstein said his friend Bobby Holden had successfully coached both the boys and girls soccer teams at New Palestine and that inspired him to put a plan in motion to do the same.
Wolfert interviewed three other candidates before deciding to let Rabenstein coach both programs. So far, Wolfert has no regrets.
“The bottom line is the coaches have to be committed to it,” Wolfert said. “They’re the ones who take on all of the added responsibility and time. Ultimately, they’re soccer junkies, and that’s who you want to be leading your program.”
Some of the players were concerned initially when they heard Rabenstein and his staff were going to be pulling double duty. Their main fear was the staff would devote the majority of time to the boys and the girls would be afterthoughts.
That fear has since subsided as the Tigers have won two of their first three games this season.
“I wasn’t really sure how they were going to split up everything, but after the first few practices and coach talked about it, I felt really confident in what they were planning on doing,” Yorktown senior central defender Jessica Extine said.
There were originally five game dates where both the boys and girls varsity teams were scheduled to play at the same time. Rabenstein urged Wolfert to reduce that number to as few as possible, and Wolfert succeeded in four out of the five instances.
“I didn’t want any games overlapping,” Rabenstein said. “If you choose this team then it’s, ‘Hey, you favor the boys team or girls team.’ “
The coaching staff has juggled the practice schedule so that the girls varsity practices at the same time as the boys junior varsity, and in turn the boys varsity practices with the girls junior varsity. Rabenstein said he only expects to miss two varsity girls and four varsity boys practices this season.
“They’re doing a really good job of distributing the head coach’s time with us,” Yorktown senior midfielder Abby Mansker said. “I’ve enjoyed working with them, and it has brought our teams a little bit closer.”
Mansker had the same concerns as the rest of her teammates when she heard about Rabenstein potentially coaching both teams. She said he stood out as the best applicant, though, and she put her full support behind him.
Rabenstein and his staff have done nothing to lose that support from the players three weeks into the season.
“They know what they’re talking about,” Extine said, “and I feel if we put our 100 percent trust into them nothing but good will come out of it.”