Nearly 4,460 miles independent the folks of Oshkosh and those people of Prague in the Czech Republic. Whilst the two cultures could not be additional different, they both of those price difficult get the job done, household, progressive wondering and … American soccer.

“Coaching Division III soccer and coaching in Europe are so comparable,” reported 2004 College of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus Zach Harrod. “You have to assume outside the house the box. That is a large similarity between soccer at this amount and football in Europe. Uncover the one of a kind angle due to the fact what works for some, may possibly not work for us.”

Harrod is head mentor of the Prague Lions, an American soccer group based in the Czech Republic. The Lions just lately joined the European League of Soccer, with 17 groups in 9 international locations.

Zach Harrod

Harrod credits UW Oshkosh soccer and the toughness of the program and the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Convention with preparing him to choose the Lions to the optimum stage of American football in Europe. The Lions received the Czech Bowl six situations, together with two times considering the fact that Harrod took more than.

The original meeting involving Harrod and the Lions arrived in the early 2000s, when Harrod first stepped foot in Prague with Athletes in Motion. The Christian athletics group provides sporting activities to extra than 60 countries all over the planet with 50 experienced sporting activities teams.

After expending two summers in Prague with Athletes in Action, Harrod returned to Oshkosh to finish his degree in spiritual reports and graduate in 2004.

Harrod performed below the legendary Titans head coach Pat Cerroni, who captured extra meeting championships and gained far more countrywide postseason appearances than any other coach in faculty heritage.

Harrod was a four-year letter winner for the Titans and began his coaching occupation as the offensive coordinator for the Lions in 2009. Harrod was the head U19 mentor for the program in 2009 and assistant mentor just before taking about the helm of the Lions. Underneath his management, Harrod led the U19 team to five championships about an eight-year time period.

“I was greatly blessed to perform underneath Coach Cerroni,” Harrod said. “He was devoted to creating anything for the foreseeable future even though building good results in all parts and acquiring a prolonged see solution.”

That focus on success in the existing and foreseeable future are vital things Harrod took with him as he has served to tutorial the Lions to the Czech Bowl and now to the European League of Soccer.

Throughout a December check out to UWO, Harrod observed the parallels involving Cerroni, latest Titans soccer coach Peter Jennings and himself in their coaching styles and interactions with gamers and mother and father.

“I sense that we all have a related strategy to coaching to consider exterior the box and the determination to come across a way to make it function. This man (Jennings) is heading to proceed to search at the discipline from distinct angles and increase what is at Oshkosh, regardless of dimension. There is no ceiling for the future of Oshkosh football.”

The journey back to Oshkosh was four decades in the making owing to pandemic.

“I have so a great deal pride when I glance at the Oshkosh Sports activities Complex and the Russ Young Soccer suite. It is a terrific reminder of my roots (and of the Oshkosh custom) and I am so fired up to see the place Coach Jennings takes Oshkosh soccer in the upcoming,” Harrod stated.

By Linnea Kangas, UWO sporting activities information director

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