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Photo Credit: Photo By Katrina Huynh

Varsity Team’s New Coach Aims For Playoffs

Sure, we’ll have tough days of practice and conditioning, but we’ll also play fun games and do silly things at practice because we truly are just playing a game.

— Caleb Besaw

New season, new leadership. The varsity boys soccer team will take the field in the 2023 season with a new head coach.

After failing to enter the playoffs last season, the soccer program has appointed Caleb Besaw as the new boys’ varsity coach to continue the push for progress and development. This appointment brings goals of change with the hope of helping improve the development of the program but adds an extra level. It also serves as a homecoming for the new coach. As a James Clemens graduate, his coaching career has brought him back to the area where his competitive soccer career began.

“I was originally interested in coming to Sparkman because my wife attended school here,” Besaw said. “We had been living in Birmingham for the past couple of years, and decided that it was time to come home and start establishing roots in the Madison/Huntsville area.” 

Besaw also returns to the area with experience that is hoped to help him in the new position. His coaching career started in his last summer of college where he spent time coaching with Challenger Sports, a British company that organizes soccer camps throughout the United States. This opportunity gave Besaw a chance to travel while also exploring an interest in coaching during his time in college. 

“I think this experience helped me learn the basics of what I need to do in order to be a good coach by teaching me how to help motivate players and get the best out of the drills that we work through,” Besaw said.

That time with Challenger Sports led to Besaw coaching at Homewood Soccer Club, where he coached various youth teams during his time, and later saw him gain the head coaching position at Leeds High School. During his time at Leeds, Besaw coached both the JV and varsity boys teams along with the girls’ varsity team. This experience would be capped off by Besaw leading Leeds to a #6 ranking in 4A-5A and being named the 2022 Small School Coach of the Year for the state of Alabama.

“I’m very proud of winning the Small School Coach of the Year and my goal now is to win the big school award here at Sparkman,” Besaw said.

This season marks the fourth year of coaching for Besaw at the high school level. He hopes that this experience has prepared him to succeed along with the coaching staff and others in the soccer program.

“When I first met Brennan and Tanner(the JV coaches) we hit it off immediately-talking about our coaching styles and what we like to see from our players,” Besaw said. “It’s especially helpful having a couple of guys that played for Sparkman because they truly care about the program and want to see it succeed.” 

Besaw sees this relationship as important as he looks at implementing his style of play and coaching. He hopes to introduce his high-pressing and fast style of play along with his passionate coaching to the varsity team. With this implementation, the overall aim is to lead the varsity boys team to the playoffs for the first time in a number of years, but there are other goals that Besaw has set for his team this season. He hopes to help guide his team to compete well throughout its whole schedule, with extra focus on area games. Besaw has also labeled a few important games this season that carry some personal motivation.

“The two games I have circled are at James Clemens on March 2 (my alma mater) and at Hewitt-Trussville on Feb. 17 (where I lived when I coached in Leeds),” Besaw said.

He also brings an off-field goal for this season and seasons to come. The goal that Besaw also hopes to achieve is to bring more attention to the program. He wants to reflect and improve on the impact that he was able to make at Leeds. Where he was able to bring more eyes and interest to the team and games. He hopes to help draw more excitement to games so that those in the stands can share his passion for the team and the program.

“I wear my heart on my sleeve when I coach, so you’ll see me running down the sideline after a goal or pumping my fist on the field after a win,” Besaw said.

This excitement is also held by the players on the varsity team. For seniors, with this being their last year, they hope to accomplish the goals that Besaw has set for the program as soon as they can. Senior Jack Caffall is entering his second season on varsity and is settling in after the team’s 9-0 win over Lee High School on Feb. 7.

“As a team, we have discussed a few of our goals such as making the playoffs. We have been giving it our all at practices to ensure we have the most successful season as possible,” Caffall said. 

They hope that this season will set the foundation for what Besaw is wanting to build in the program. With the varsity boys team’s season started on Feb. 7, they hope that a fast and successful start will help them reach and potentially exceed their preseason goals. And with their first area game against Huntsville on Feb. 15, they aim to carry this start on the road toward playoffs.

“We’re excited to get our season started and we hope that we can use the start to build toward our area games,” Besaw said.

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