The 2022-2023 men’s soccer team is looking for a three-peat season and at the helm are four Webster-Alums: Head Coach Mike Siener, Associate Head Coach Josh Sellmeyer and Assistant/Goalkeeping Coach Brian (Woody) Woodward.
Joining the staff this season is 2021 Webster University graduate, Assistant Coach Joacquin Soto. A recent grad from the team, he was a part of two championships and the 18 win record-breaking 2021 season.
“I am not playing competitively for the first time in 19-20 years.” Soto said. “Now I have to focus on how I can improve the team as a whole . . . they are very, very coachable. We’ve already built that trust. We have won championships together.”
There wasn’t a gap in between playing and coaching for Soto. He still knows most of the players on the team for the upcoming school year, as he played with them last year.
“[Soto] knows the difficulties, the challenges, the obstacles as well as the fun part. So I think he’ll be a huge benefit to the players. He is not so far gone to understand what they are going through,” Sellmeyer said.
While Soto brought benefits as a player, the coaches are excited to see the benefits he brings as a coach.
“[Soto’s] youthful enthusiasm and his ability to connect with the players will be fantastic. His knowledge for the game is extremely high, and he will be a great asset for us moving forward in all areas of the program,” Siener said.
“He is going to be able to relate to the guys because he has been through it more recently than the rest of the coaches. He has lived it the past several years of his life as a soccer player at Webster University,” Sellmeyer said.
Going from player to coach was already on Soto’s mind before getting the assistant coach position.
“I think it was sophomore, junior year when I told Siener, ‘if I end up staying in St. Louis, it would be cool to come help coach.’ To finally see Webster put it up online and make it official, it feels amazing,” Soto said.
Soto still remembers his favorite moments as a player and is ready to make memories with the team as a coach.
“My second goal ever was against Principia [College] my freshman year,” Soto said. “It was a tough game to hit that, a tough shot and it was one of my prouder moments on the field.”
Soto also shared stories about traveling with the team and going to see the Louisville Bat Museum and taking a tour. He talked about going on a tour of the museum and getting souvenirs to take back to St. Louis with him, noting that the memory and souvenirs would stay with him forever.
Soto’s role as assistant coach is unique because he isn’t the only one in his family to play or have played soccer for the university. His sister freshman Mayrin Soto, brother junior Guillermo Soto and cousin senior Sebastian Soto Duarte all play for Webster Soccer.
Both Guillermo and Sebastian played with Joacquin while he still played for Webster. They also played together in Arizona, their home state, on a variety of teams throughout childhood.
“Joacquin has helped the team by including a different style of soccer and has helped the team improve on technical things . . . his knowledge is good, his IQ of the game,” Sebastian said. “He was the captain throughout all seven years I played with him. One difference is he sees the game in a different way. He led me, but now he is teaching me.”
As for the team overall – under the advisement of Seiner, Sellmeyer, Woodward and now Soto –
“I think this is one of the best teams. Last year we broke records, but this team is different because we have depth. We have 35-37 players that all know what they are doing. In the pre-season, we ran and it felt like we were in mid-season shape. [We have] 100% high chances of a three-peat championship.” Sebastian said.