Claiborne middle school and high school soccer has been positively affected by “The Colonel,” Jason Mustard, according to parents and team members. Working under several organizations and coaches, Mustard has taken his knowledge of the game of soccer and turned a team of seventh- and eighth- graders into champions.
Mustard, while working in AYSO, Claiborne High, Claiborne Middle and even on the CHS football sidelines, has learned what it takes to build and inspire a team. Along the way he has had help from Lorri Kimbrough, Shawn Peters and many others. He is also over the AYSO officials locally and is very involved in the general running of the AYSO program.
His last-to-first place middle school Lady Bulldogs team won the postseason tournament hosted by Cumberland Gap and it was the first championship won by the Claiborne program. When asked about what it took to get his team to reach this goal he said, “Last year we ended the season without winning any games. We lost four starters from last season’s team but the majority of the team came back and put in a lot of work. We had a theme or motto this year; it’s the first time I have ever done that and it seemed to bring us together. That theme was “believe” and we evolved it into a chant for all of our games.”
Mustard added, “They just came out this year and put the work in and meant business.”
His team used that “believe” mind set to improve each time out and by the end of the season were playing great team soccer. This showed during their last three games where they won consecutive games and shut out some good teams on the way to lifting up the trophy. It was a marathon type of day where they battled through three hard games before winning the beautiful trophy.
When asked if this would help him get access to more players he said this, “Well I have already been asked by several Midway girls about playing next year so yes; it’s going to help improve our team.”
Mustard had several of his players earn All-Tournament awards as further testament to his coaching. Among these players are Macie Sumner, Emily Wine, Mackenzie Walker, Mollie Bolton, Brooke Buchanan, Kinsee LeFevers, Courtney Daniels and Lindsey Powell. Goal keeper Courtney Daniels was named tournament MVP. Daniels had 22 saves over the three tournament games. The team’s overall record was 7-4-2.
Mustard spoke of a little coaching trick he used to help his team, “I set up a code word to help get our strikers some open looks and when we would transition out of our normal set the defenders would lose track of our offensive players like Sumner and she could get the touches we needed. We also used a silent key that really messed the defense up even further. By doing these quick transitions we were able to keep the defense surprised and it worked for us.”
When Mustard was asked if he wanted to say something to the kids directly he added, “I’m just super proud of them; I guess I am honestly elated for them and it was good to see their faces when they won. We (coaches) don’t get paid for doing this but seeing those happy faces in my memories are good enough for me.”
Mustard would like to send out special thanks to CHS for sponsorship of the program and field, Peters for being the representative and coach Matt Buchanan. Also, he would like to thank Kimbrough for guidance and helping make this a reality for this county and the sport of soccer.
The 2016 team consisted of Courtney Daniels, Kinsee LeFevers, Chelsey Harvey, Mollie Bolton, Harley Smith, Brooke Buchanan, Makenzie Walker, Mykah Miller, Mallory Keck, Macie Sumner, Autumn Truax, Lindsey Powell, Emily Wine, Abby Yeary and Shelby Boyles.
Mustard plans on remaining active in AYSO and the Claiborne soccer programs.
Reach Allen Earl at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @pitchadude.