"With a nice mix of players, both returning and new, we hope that making the tournament becomes the status quo..."

Earlier this year, longtime Saint Mary soccer assistant Justin Seever was named head coach of the USM women’s soccer team.

You've been an assistant for the men's and women's soccer teams for several years. How do you think that familiarity with the players and how the program has run will help you in your new role as head women's soccer coach?

I am overly excited to take over the women’s program. I have had a huge hand in every aspect of the team since graduating and becoming the assistant. A majority of the roster consist of girl’s that I had a big part in recruiting, especially the last two classes, so I am very familiar with the team.

Also, being a graduate of the University and an employee for a number of years allows me to better relate to the players because I know exactly what they should expect as a student-athlete here at USM.

You've also worked as a high school coach in the area, most recently at Tonganoxie. How does your high school coaching benefit the college coaching?

Coaching high school has allowed me to practice implementing my own ideas and philosophies on a daily basis without input from another source. I have been learning what seems to work and what I should alter and am looking forward to applying it to my college team.

You played soccer both at Neosho County Community College and Saint Mary. Do you think being a college athlete helps you be a college coach?

I feel that to be a successful college coach you have to have played at some level of college athletics. Without playing you cannot truly understand what the student-athletes are going through.

I could not have a three-a-day practice and constantly run and demand more out of my players if I have not done it myself in the past. Also I know the mental make-up it takes to be a student-athlete, so I feel I can relate to their problems on and off the field.

The Lady Spires are coming off their best season in five years. How will you look to keep and build on the momentum from the 2011 season?

Despite the way the season ended, being down to 10 players and coming off a couple tough losses, it was definitely a successful year. Those seniors worked four years to get to the conference tournament so I am happy they achieved it.

With a nice mix of players, both returning and new, we hope that making the tournament becomes the status quo. I feel we brought in some players with big experience, and our freshmen have played at a high level with their club teams, so ideally we are an improved squad.

What are your goals for the USM women's soccer program?

The goal for this season is to improve upon our record from last year. I feel we had a couple of results that did not go our way that were based on mistakes made by us. An above .500 winning percentage in conference is ideal and a top four finish in conference allows us to host a playoff game.

The main goal is to be a way better team come October when conference play begins.