Boys Varsity Soccer: an Interview with Coach Mike Benjamin

Emily Yuan, Co-Editor-in-Chief

A member of the soccer coaching staff at Kent for 15 years, Mr. Benjamin now coaches Kent Boys Varsity Soccer with Mr. Robey, supporting the team in their games in the Founders League. 

During daily practice, Mr. Benjamin focuses on a combination of building fitness, individual skills, and team tactics. Student athletes practice sprinting, long-distance running, and body resistance exercises, such as push-ups and pull-ups. Assisting players to enhance their own skills, Mr. Benjamin introduces ball control, body movement, and corner kicks practices. Building a strong team, Mr. Benjamin splits the team in smaller groups, ensuring each player can both play defense and offense and cooperate effectively during games. 

Aside from coaching the team during practice, Mr. Benjamin is tasked with communicating with the athletics office about the scheduling of games, setting up the field before games, communicating with families, and participating in the admissions process for prospective additions to the Kent community.

Reflecting on his experience of being a coach, Mr. Benjamin enjoys getting to know the boys in ways that he is unable to as a teacher in the classroom. He gains insight into how students respond to difficulties and support each other. While performance on the field is important, Mr. Benjamin hopes athletes learn to support their teammates, whether after a teammate has made a mistake during the game or helping one another develop stronger skills. “They learn to develop friendships and be there for each other,” Mr. Benjamin shared.

In the past week, Kent Boys Varsity Soccer won their game against Kingswood-Oxford thanks to a late-game goal that broke a 3-3 tie in Kent’s favor. After a win, Mr. Benjamin congratulates his players and points out places in which they can improve in the next game. After a loss, Mr. Benjamin and his team think back on what they’ve done well and what they can work on. “The final score isn’t the whole story. Sometimes I’m more satisfied with a loss than a win,” Mr. Benjamin chuckled. For the remainder of the season, Mr. Benjamin looks forward to the two home games against Trinity Pawling. 

Contemplating the meaning of soccer for Kent students, Mr. Benjamin concludes, “soccer at Kent gives athletes of a wide range of skill-levels to test themselves and learn what it means to be a good teammate.”