Men’s Soccer’s New Assistant Loving Life in Colorado

In the spring of 2018, Colorado College men’s soccer hired a new assistant coach, Jonathan Hood. The Catalyst sat down with Hood to discuss his history with the game and his experience so far in sunny Colorado.

Photo courtesy of CC Athletics

Hayden Cogswell: Where’s home?

Jonathan Hood: I was born in Columbus, Ohio and moved to Philadelphia, and that’s where I spent high school. I went to college back at Ohio Wesleyan, and played soccer and lacrosse there. I graduated in 2010 and had a few different jobs; I went to Australia for a little bit, worked in the sports industry in sports media, spent some time working for a minor league baseball team. I ended up in technology for three and a half years in Washington, D.C. but had one of those moments where I realized I didn’t love what I was doing and really missed soccer. So I moved back to Philadelphia, just jumped right back into coaching and have been coaching since.

HC: What are some differences between coaching at CC and coaching at St. Lawrence?

JH: It’s very similar in a lot of respects; both places are very academically minded and the [athletic] programs are both very serious. I think one of the major differences is that they have 32 sports there. The way that it is set up here with the Block Plan, we are able to train in the morning and over Block Breaks, we are able to go and do things outside … out [at St. Lawrence] it’s not the same.

HC: What are some of the biggest differences coaching on the Block Plan versus the Semester System?

JH: I love that we can train in the morning and there’s a set structure because you know that everyone pretty much has class on the same schedule. At St. Lawrence, as a player, people are taking classes anytime from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., so we would kind of block the 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. time to have practice but there was never any good time to do it, as people always had conflicts. The traveling has been tough because missing one class here is a bigger deal than when it’s only a 50-minute lecture. Obviously, you never want to take any student out of class, but it’s something you have to be more conscious of.

HC: How has Division III soccer changed since your playing days?

JH: I think soccer as a whole — I mean, we are seeing it top to bottom — it’s getting better and just gaining popularity in this country. I was fortunate to go to a good program, but I think as a whole DIII soccer has gotten a lot better. You see a lot more parity between all the teams and even when we play teams from other divisions you can see there isn’t too much of a difference. College soccer is getting better, and I think this starts with youth development, as there are so many more places to play and more coaches. I think you have seen some really big strides in the past five to 10 years especially.

HC: How are you liking Colorado so far?

JH: Awesome, I mean it’s unbelievable. I like to joke with people that it’s like, where has this place been my entire life? I had never been to Colorado until I flew out for the interview; I got a glimpse of the set-up out there and was sort of like, are you kidding me? It’s also a lot different. I’ve always been a guy who’s lived in cities, and out at St. Lawrence there’s not as much outdoors access. I was never really exposed to it. I would snowboard once a year maybe, but, like, camping or hiking I’d never done. I did my first fourteener, Mt. Quandary, back in June and that was big for me. There’s just so much to do. You just feel like you could be here forever and not even scratch the surface.

HC: How has it been getting to know the team and coaching staff?

JH: Fantastic, it’s been easy. I was really fortunate that I got to go to Italy with the team over Spring Break last year. I mean, I started on March 5 and on March 14 I got the chance to be on the flight to Italy. There’s no better way to get to know everyone, all the staff, all the players, and get to know guys off the field personally.

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