The Leavenworth Pioneers boys soccer team’s first game is almost here as the 2018 season kicks off on Aug. 27.

The team will also kick off the Brenden Olesen era as the young coach takes over as head coach for the boys’ team and as an assistant for the girls’ team. His time as an assistant for the Pioneers has prepared him for this moment.

“My predecessor allowed me to have a lot of say in everything that was going on,” Olesen said. “He also groomed me so that one day when I would take over a program, it would be a seamless transition.” 

The promotion for the Leavenworth High School graduate was a dream come true. He has been coaching since he was 17 and has had the vision of being a coach over a player for a while.

His previous work as the assistant has also allowed him to know a lot of the players well, as he has worked with some for four years. The only part of the transition that Olesen feels that is different is some extra work with planning and paperwork.

The extra workload isn’t too much more for the math teacher though. The amount of work he did as an assistant has helped him be used to those extra hours.

Olesen hopes to bring some changes to the program. Off the field, he wants to try to get more community involvement between Leavenworth and the team. Olesen said they are going to do some things with the parents and alter how fundraising is done. On the field, the coach will implement current trends in soccer and introduce newer styles of play.

“We’re going to play kind of a high octane offense with a high-pressure defense,” Olesen said. “I think it is going to really mix things up. It’s more of this nuance of how soccer has gone over the last couple of years versus how it has been traditionally done.”

The growth of soccer not only changes how the game is played but also the coaching style in general. Olesen mentioned how talent across the players used to be around the same level, but thanks to the growth of soccer as a whole in the country, Olesen said there is a wider range of talent now. More players at a higher and lower level are starting to separate themselves.

The growth of soccer and the success of Sporting Kansas City and the MLS has had a positive impact on the sport as a whole in Olesen’s eyes with new athletes becoming lifelong fans of soccer. 

Olesen was asked which athlete from another sport would have made a great soccer player for the United States Mens’ National Team and his answer was LeBron James.

“I would probably have to say LeBron James,” Olesen said. “Just because of the sheer athleticism for one factor. The other factor is his vision and leadership because seeing so many things that are going on so quick is vital for soccer. I just feel like he would be able to really do well at almost every sport.”

The Pioneers kick off the season at 6 p.m. Aug 27 at home against St. Mary’s Academy.