New coach looks to build Crook County High School soccer
The Crook County High School girls soccer team has a new coach.
Mary Buell takes over a program that has been in chaos the past several years.
"They haven't won a game in three years, so my goal is to change that," she said. "That being said, we have got to start slow, so I don't necessarily see us winning the league or anything like that, but my goal is to at least get us a win."
Buell added that the transition is not just about developing a winning attitude, but is also about bringing Crook County soccer up to date.
"This year is really about breaking down to the fundamentals and getting their soccer IQ up," she said. "A lot of these girls are playing an older style of play, so it's updating them on a flat back four versus a sweeper stopper and they are doing great with it already."
Although the short-term goal is to just be competitive Buell has bigger plans for the future of Crook County High School soccer.
"I've talked a lot with the boys program about getting in with the elementary schools and having a middle school team going so that we can continue what the rec program is doing so that we have technical continuity all the way through the program," she said. "Numbers is going to be the biggest thing. If we can get more numbers out here, we will have more to work with. It is really about educating not just the girls, but their parents in this community on soccer in general."
Although the team is already a week into the season Buell is still looking for more players for this year's program, noting that if they can get at least five more players out that the program can field two teams instead of just a varsity roster.
Buell added that the high school season is so short that to develop a truly competitive program players are going to need to continue working on soccer in the off season.
"Getting them to work year-round on their technical footwork is critical," she said.
However, Buell would also like to see her athletes be involved in other sports.
"There's a lot of research on athletes in general for injury prevention and building other muscles — building your ligaments to be able to deal with all the different movements — so I highly recommend all my girls play other sports," she said. "Basketball, tennis and track — these are really good sports to go with soccer to build a full well-rounded athlete."
Buell is currently a homemaker, but has a background in marketing as well as an extensive history in soccer. She has played the game for nearly 30 years as well as having 14 years coaching experience.
Coaching soccer runs in the family. Buell grew up in a military family, which moved extensively. However, each place they relocated to her mother coached soccer.
After time in South Dakota, Germany and Louisiana, the family eventually settled in Oregon where Buell played on youth teams in Salem and Tigard. She was also a captain and four-year varsity player at McNary High School. She eventually received a full ride to play soccer at Chemeketa Community College, where the team had an undefeated season and Buell led them in assists and was one of the team's top goal scorers.
A major concussion cut short her college playing career. However, after nearly two years of recovery, Buell eventually played club soccer for Oregon State University.
The break from playing soccer was the start of Buell's coaching career as she began working on her soccer credentials, eventually earning her soccer E and F licenses as well as studying many NSCAA courses, including goalkeeping level 1. She has continued her soccer education by earning her grassroots 9v9 and 11v11 licensing.
Buell has coached club soccer in Corvallis and Hillsboro as well as high school soccer at Corvallis and Sprague high schools. In addition, she has used her marketing skills to help build and market a semi-professional team.
Buell is married to an Oregon State Trooper and has two young children, Charlie, 2, and William, 1.
"Soccer should be fun and a lot of these girls have lost that," Buell said. "So, it's helping them find passion in the sport and learning and growing from it. They have really great work ethic and really great attitudes so I think this community is going to see a lot of growth, even this year with where these girls have come from."
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