Watertown, Wis. --- Summer, for many in the education profession, is a time to step away from educating and enjoy a hard-earned summer break.
And while he has earned his break, Jeff Pill is an exception to that whole "stepping away" part.
The head coach of the Sabercats Men's Soccer Team has spent his summer doing more with the game that is his career. Since May of this year, Pill has brought his expertise from the grassroots level of school soccer - a local program for Pre-K children - all the way to the United States Women's National Team system - a system which Pill has been an active part of since 1995.
"For me, the enjoyment comes from challenging yourself in new situations," stated Pill. " Of course, coaching players is always a thrill. Trying to connect with the players so that they see positive development is a process that never gets old!"
Pill coached at virtually every level this summer. At the grassroots level, the Watertown native led local childrens' programs at Fellowship Baptist Church and at Brandt-Quirk Park and offered out-of-state Christian high school connections with Bible Baptist Christian School (Hampton, Ga.), and with Colonial Christian School (Indianapolis - August 7-8).
On the public high school scheme, Pill will conduct pre-season camps with local high schools from Watertown to Madison while working with established clubs in the area by putting on various training sessions and clinics.
For good measure, Pill even stepped in to coach a local semi-professional team, the Madison 56ers, in early July. Sabercats Men's Soccer veterans Taylor Pill and Wira Wama were even rostered for the game that Pill was on the bench as the interim head coach. "As you can see," Pill said, "it was a pretty full summer!"
A major highlight of the summer for Pill was scouting once again for the Under-18 United States Women's National Team. The familiar role for Pill brought him to Phoenix, Arizona and Rockford, Illinois, where he watched players compete in national club tournaments. Pill then discussed his observations with the U-18 USWNT Coaching Staff and made recommendations based on his observations.
"Trying to find the next 'impact' player' for the national teams is a challenge as well," noted Pill. "One that never grows old."
Pill not only shared his soccer knowledge with top-level players but with top-level coaches as well. Pill has been a long-standing instructor on the USSF National Coaching Education Team, and his teaching skills once again extended to a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) National 'A' License Course. Pill - who was on the panel that revamped the USSF Coaching Curriculum a few years ago - traveled to five different states to complete the coursework, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Minnesota.
"We have overhauled the curriculum for coaching education, and teaching the 'new way' for the first time is always a challenge. But we are having a greater impact on the coaches in this country as a result. The changes have been productive, even beyond expectations," Pill said.
Despite the busyness of the summer, Pill anticipates the upcoming season at MBU with eagerness. "I am very excited about the year ahead," Pill commented. "We return a very strong core group, and have picked up a few players that I think can have an immediate impact this year. I think it will be quite competitive internally. Plus, we have great returning leadership, guys who have made a substantial commitment in the off-season. If everyone is able to make things work out to return in the Fall, it could be a pretty exciting year!"
Pill, along with a staff of five current or former Men's Soccer players, will lead MBU's Boys Soccer Camp this coming week on the MBU campus.
"All of the things that I have been working on with US Soccer I am able to take back with me to MBU," Pill concluded. "I have already made some significant changes in the courses that I will be teaching this fall. I am especially excited about some leadership development ideas that I have gained experience with. I can't wait to apply what I have learned to the MBU community."