MARION, Iowa — To a casual observer, Marion boys soccer coach Kory Boebel could blend in pretty easily with a group of high schoolers.
"I was 21 when I first started as an assistant coach", says Boebel. "And then 24 as a head coach."
Now just 27 years old, Kory's age has possibly been a factor in Marion's recent success. Junior striker Jackson Kirsch says, "It's not just things on the field, it's things off the field. He understands homework, how our bodies feel and whatnot. It's been huge for us-that's beena big part of our success-his understanding."
Boebel says, "They can see me more as a friend than as a coach. They may be used to older coaches, so I think it's helped the relationship between me and the players in the long run."
Senior Austin Kochan adds, "He's been the head coach since my freshman year, so I've been with him ever since he started coaching. He's helped me grow, give me tips on the field-just help me out ever since the beginning."
A 2013 graduate of Cedar Rapids Prairie, Boebel is finishing his 4th season as Marion's coach. At the moment, the Wolves have won 14 games in a row, and are just two wins away from a second consecutive State tournament: a pretty impressive level of success for someone who never thought he'd even want to be a coach. "I had no plans of coaching-just loved the game, really passionate about it and just wanted to stay around it after college. And I gave it a shot and stuck with it."
Boebel is about to see a senior glass graduate who were freshman when he started as a head coach. Not only has he seen growth in his players, but they've watched their coach develop in turn. Kirsch says, "I've definitely seen him become more assertive. At first you could tell he was nervous, but he definitely has done better at getting on us and being hard on us, and I think that's helped us grow as a team."
Boebel concludes, "Seeing the true potential in some of these boys-a lot of them don't see the potential that I or the other coaches on staff see. And being able to bring that out in them is one of the coolest things to see."