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OPC’s Edgar ‘tweaking’ Oxford Soccer Club for the better

The Oxford Parks Commission has a new man in charge of the Oxford Soccer Club program, and he’s already making changes.

Shaun Edgar was hired in May by the OPC to help overhaul the program. He is the right man for the job as soccer has been in his blood since childhood.

The St. Louis native group? and played soccer before transitioning to the collegiate level. After being a competitor, Edgar moved into the coaching ranks where he spent time at Iowa State and the University of Oklahoma.

He went back to coaching club teams in Alabama and Texas before non-soccer reasons took him back to St. Louis. There is where a friend informed him the OPC was hiring someone of his skill set.

“Summer Ragsdale, who used to be the Director of Soccer Operations at Ole Miss and a former player of mine, when OPC started the search for the position, she asked if I was interested and that is how I ended up here,” Edgar said. “I think (Oxford) has a tremendous infrastructure. Mississippi is an emerging state, and that is true of Oxford in general. I think that lends itself to having a pretty good (soccer) program.”

One of the goals Edgar has is to elevate the level of play when it comes to youth soccer as well as make the players better by changing up how they’re coached and taught the game. He wants to phase out practices being basic and fundamental and make them more specific-oriented.

“We’re tweaking and changing to make ourselves structured more like a top-level club,” Edgar said. “That’s all behind-the-scenes stuff that most people will never notice. Then on the field, we’ve changed the way we’re training a little bit. We’re going to a more academy style of training and a structured training whereby the club determines the times and the dates. It’s more of a learning environment instead of a show-up-and-kick-a-ball kind of thing.”

The reception toward the changes in the program has been met positively since Edgar has implemented them. With such high numbers of kids who play soccer every year — and the number continues to grow yearly — there is not any concern on Edgar’s part that the more structured practices will scare off anybody and lower the numbers.

“It creates a little more flexibility in our training schedule, which is conducive to kids playing other sports and also allows them to attend more of our training sessions as well,” Edgar said. “I think that we need to be an organization that allows for every kid to have the opportunity to play wherever possible. At certain age groups, we do hit roster limit restrictions, but at this point, we’re trying to keep everybody playing that we possibly can.”

—jake.thompson@oxfordeagle.com