After graduation, most alumni leave their alma mater for good, returning only for homecoming or other alumni events. However, 2009 graduate Ryan Castle, one of last year’s midfielders for the men’s soccer team, has returned to campus to coach his former teammates.
“I love the school, I love the program, I wanted to learn more about the sport and to further my education,” Castle said.
According to Castle, the team didn’t react too strangely to his return. The older teammates were a little tense at first but eventually got over it; the younger players respected Castle as an upperclassman- turned-coach.
That doesn’t seem to bother Castle too much.
“They’re still getting used to me as a coach,” he said. “We have the right pieces of the puzzle, and we’ll have a successful season.”
Castle’s enthusiasm is natural – and he isn’t the only one enthused about the prospects of the season.
“We’re really glad to have him on the staff,” head coach Mark Wagner said. “It’s nice to have an assistant coach that understands our culture, understands our values and understands the principles of our program.”
Wagner said Castle will work in recruitment as well, articulating Eastern’s mission to high school seniors and juniors looking to play college soccer in the future.
Castle is here for more than just coaching; however, he is also pursuing a graduate degree in secondary education.
Castle’s first choice for a job is to coach at the collegiate level, but he will settle for a teaching position if his original plan does not work out.
“Teaching is my second passion,” he said. “Why not get the best of both worlds?”