By Roben Ramirez-Santiago
William Peace University men’s soccer program is going into its eighth season competing in the NCAA Division III USA South Conference after the institution went coeducational the 2011 academic year. I
Since securing the only two winning seasons in program history in 2018 and 2019, the WPU Pacers are looking to stay sharp this year under the coaching staff that has broken the curse of losing seasons by staying passionate, working hard, and helping players throughout their athletic careers.
Like many people, Head Coach Ryan Huber was not so sure about what career he wanted to pursue after graduating from college. Now Huber hopes to continue his successful coaching career by making sure he keeps the WPU men’s soccer program to high standards.
The WPU men’s soccer team and conference they compete in, USA South, has performed better seasons each year since they joined in 2013, including winning more games and recognition from the USA South Conference. Since taking over in 2017, Huber managed camps for the program, and local universities partnered with him to help run them. In 2018, he was named USA South Coach of the Year.
In addition to coaching, he teaches sports management classes to WPU upperclassmen. Even though he’s had the opportunity to win games and compete in championships, he believes that coaching is much more than that.
“The greatest reward is seeing my players succeed,” says Huber.
Jorge Lemus-Alfaro, a freshman newcomer for the Pacers, was recruited to help the program continue to have success.
He says that he sees that coach Huber has a very special connection with all of his players. He takes his time on getting to know each of his players and their values. This has helped the program build reputation and has gotten more student-athletes to attend WPU.
“He’s not just a coach; he is also your friend,” Lemus-Alfaro says of coach Huber. “He also helps you a lot and talks to you about what you can do in the field and out of the field. That is something I really like about him because he’s a friend to you and considers you like family.”
Originally from Durham, Huber began his coaching career as an assistant coach for Guilford College in Greensboro. He got his first coaching experience coaching a club soccer team for Guilford.
While Huber was on the road to becoming a coach, he also worked a second job at Target and was getting low pay income coaching club soccer.
He lived in Durham, Greensboro, Raleigh, and other places, and says that he didn’t care how much he was making or if he didn’t get many benefits so long as he got his foot in the door of coaching and had what he needed.
“I think that the grind is worth it if you know what you want to do and you love what you do,” he says. “I didn’t grow up rich. I grew up having everything that I needed but didn’t necessarily have everything that I wanted and I was okay with that.”
Huber would go on to land a coaching position after earning his degree in sports management at Guildford College. He worked as an assistant coach at Louisburg College for two and a half years and six years at North Carolina Wesleyan College while earning his master’s in athletic administration through Liberty University online master’s program.
Anyone Can Coach
One of coach Huber’s advice in pursuing coaching as a career is to make sacrifices and to take coaching classes that get you certified, even though no special educational background is needed to get your foot in the door.
There isn’t a lot of requirements to start coaching but coach Huber implies that if you want more doors to open then going out of your way to do extra work will open them. Things like taking different coaching classes, national-level courses in coaching, and getting a master’s degree.
“It’s not a requirement for my job,” says coach Huber. “If I’m competing against somebody else, has a similar resume, but I have all these coaching courses and my master’s degree then maybe that is something that is going to put me over the top.”