Longtime Gross Catholic girls’ soccer coach Jim Homan is stepping away from the team and retiring. Homan has been the girls’ soccer coach for 25 years.
“I’ve been considering retiring for a few years now,” Homan said about his decision. “I thought it would be a good time and went into this season thinking it would be my last one and unfortunately it was cut very short.
“I really enjoy coaching the girls and having a chance to help build confidence in girls and empower woman. I really enjoyed that and I wanted to get out before I stopped enjoying it.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has made some people rethink decisions and change plans, but Homan made his decision a while ago and is content staying with it.
“I didn’t rethink anything because of the COVID-19 crisis,” Homan said. “I went into this season wanting to be grateful for every moment and unfortunately, those moments were cut a lot shorter than I thought they would be. It is something I have been thinking about for a while and my daughters went through Gross and they have moved onto college so it just felt like the right time.”
Kim Matzen has been his assistant since he took over as head coach and has been with him every step of the way.
“It has been really great,” Matzen said. “He is a great coach and he coaches more than just soccer. He tries to help the girls apply real life situation instead of just soccer. Sometimes in life you are going to have to work through pressure.
“He spends an immense amount of time learning soccer and trying to better himself as a coach, but he also teaches the girls that there is a life outside of soccer.”
Matzen also praised Homan’s approach to coaching and how he got his point across to the team.
“He is very patient and understanding and is willing to listen to the girls if they don’t understand something,” Matzen said. “He is very willing to listen to them and then re-explain it if he has to help them better understand what they are doing.”
Matzen added, “he allowed them to have a voice on the team and give it more of a family feel.”
As Homan did, Matzen also gave a lot of credit to the Gross community and how it rallied around him and his family in tough times.
“Especially with his wife going through all of her battles with cancer and just unifying around him without him even knowing it,” Matzen said. “Our girls had shirts that were Team Darci shirts and that was all them. It started with the basketball team and then we had some basketball girls that played soccer and then they did their own”
Gross Activities Director Mike Dempsey said Homan’s influence on the students will be missed.
“He has just been such a staple with the girls and works so well,” Dempsey said. “He has really molded the kids to be better people. Not only better soccer players but better people.
“He has just been such a staple and a good role model for the kids. He has taught the kids how to be one. One group, one voice one team. That has been one of his big mantras here. He has done so many things here at school. He is involved in student council, the soccer coach, a religion teacher. He has done so much.”
As for the future of Gross soccer, boys’ soccer head coach Rick Yanovich will be moving to the girl’s team and taking over as the head coach. Boys assistant coach Mike Nolte will take over as the boy’s head soccer coach.
“Rick is going to do a great job and I look forward to supporting him,” Homan said.
Homan has been at Gross for more than 30 years and has an extremely strong connection to the school.
“Gross Catholic has been my life,” Homan said. “I love my job and I look forward going to school every single day and it doesn’t feel like work. The people there are caring and support each other and it is just a fantastic place to work.
“I have been there for over 30 years and after the first couple years I was like, ‘I need to send my kids here.’ Then I had kids and that dream was fulfilled and they had a fantastic experience.
“I just feel blessed and grateful to have been a part of this community and I look forward to supporting both athletics and academics.”
Homan will remain at Gross as the webmaster, the school information specialist and social media manager.