Shoe­maker to take over Green­wood boys soc­cer

■ He’s helped the Siloam Springs boys and girls soc­cer pro­gram win a com­bined six state ti­tles.

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - SPORTS - By Graham Thomas Staff Writer gth­omas@nwadg.com ■

Luke Shoe­maker is get­ting his shot to be a head soc­cer coach.

Shoe­maker, an as­sis­tant coach with Siloam Springs’ soc­cer teams the last four years and a coach in the dis­trict since 2012, was hired Thurs­day as the head boys soc­cer coach at Green­wood.

The Grove, Okla., na­tive and Uni­ver­sity of Arkansas grad­u­ate Shoe­maker, 27, said he will for­ever cher­ish the time spent in Siloam Springs, where he’s been a part of a com­bined six state cham­pi­onships in boys and girls soc­cer the last four years.

“Sev­eral years ago Siloam Springs and Mr. (Ken) Ramey took a chance on a young, in­ex­pe­ri­enced, but pas­sion­ate young man fresh out of col­lege and I thank God every­day that they did,” Shoe­maker said. “I have grown so much in the class­room and on the field that words alone can­not ex­press my grat­i­tude to this town and the school dis­trict. I will al­ways have a special place in my heart for Siloam Springs.”

Shoe­maker was hired as a teacher in 2012 and was asked if he’d like to coach sev­enth-grade foot­ball as well.

In 2013 he joined the ninth­grade foot­ball staff and was the fresh­man Pan­thers’ de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor in 2016, work­ing un­der foot­ball coaches Chuck Jones and Jonathan John­son.

“What a bless­ing it has been to work un­der men of strong char­ac­ter and with ser­vant’s hearts,” Shoe­maker said. “They both con­stantly pushed me and helped mold many val­ues and be­liefs that I will take with me through­out my ca­reer.”

John­son, the head ninth­grade foot­ball coach, said the foot­ball coaches have en­joyed watch­ing Shoe­maker grow per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally.

“We were look­ing for­ward to see­ing him con­tinue to de­velop as a coach and have him in­flu­ence our young peo­ple in a pos­i­tive man­ner,” John­son said. “I know we will see him have that same great in­flu­ence on the student-ath­letes at Green­wood.”

Shoe­maker joined the soc­cer staff un­der Jason Bowen in 2014 and helped the Lady Pan­thers win their first of four straight Class 6A state cham­pi­onships. Both soc­cer teams played for state ti­tles in 2015 un­der Chuck Jones with the girls win­ning again, and the last two sea­sons both teams have won state ti­tles un­der Brent Cren­shaw.

“On the soc­cer field I also learned more in four years than I did in the pre­vi­ous 22 years of my life,” Shoe­maker said. “I got to work with a man in Jason Bowen that taught me the value in dis­ci­pline and hard work. He showed me that ta­lent alone does not win games nor is win­ning the most im­por­tant thing about what we do. He showed me that in­still­ing your core be­liefs in your play­ers, push­ing them to im­prove each and ev­ery day, and that teach­ing them the value in dis­ci­pline and how do­ing the right thing al­ways goes a long way. I am for­ever grate­ful to Jason for the things I learned from him, and he fu­eled my love for soc­cer.

“I also can’t leave off Brent Cren­shaw. I have al­ways been a soc­cer junkie. I watch nu­mer­ous hours of soc­cer to bet­ter un­der­stand the nu­ances of the game, but Brent helped me see a lot of things that I did not pre­vi­ously know. I will al­ways look to him as a men­tor and a close friend. I could not have asked for two bet­ter head coaches to teach me what it takes to be suc­cess­ful as a head soc­cer coach.”

Shoe­maker will in­herit a Green­wood pro­gram that has hit hard times in re­cent years.

The Bull­dogs went to the Class 6A state cham­pi­onship game in 2014, where they lost to Rus­sel­lville 1-0 in ex­tra time.

Green­wood only won four games this sea­son, in­clud­ing a victory over Siloam Springs’ ju­nior var­sity team in the Pan­ther Soc­cer Clas­sic held in March in Siloam Springs.

Green­wood’s boys and girls were coached by Andrew Post, who will now coach girls only.

“I look for­ward to the op­por­tu­nity to coach at such a great school dis­trict as Green­wood,” Shoe­maker said. “It has a rich history of ath­letic ex­cel­lence and has an ad­min­is­tra­tion that is de­voted to build­ing young men and women of strong char­ac­ter along with cham­pi­ons on the field. I am look­ing for­ward to this op­por­tu­nity to in­still in them some of the things I value and be­lieve in and I hope that I can make the im­pact that I know th­ese young men de­serve.

“I have worked for what I be­lieve is the best soc­cer pro­gram in the state of Arkansas and I hope to take what I have learned here and do all that I can to get Green­wood to that level. For­tu­nately, Coach Post has done a ter­rific job there the last few years and as the girls coach I know he and I have a sim­i­lar vi­sion for Green­wood soc­cer as a whole, not just at the high school level. I look for­ward to work­ing there and do­ing all I can to build a pro­gram that ri­vals Siloam Springs.”

Siloam Springs head soc­cer coach Brent Cren­shaw said Shoe­maker will be tough to replace.

“I’m bummed, but then I’m happy for him as well,” Cren­shaw said. “I can’t hold a guy

back that wants to go be a head coach. I mean that’s what ev­ery­body wants to do.

“He knows he needs to start from the ground up with the youth pro­gram over there to re­ally start a pro­gram over there. He’ll do a good job, but we re­ally hate to lose him. Big­ger and bet­ter things for him.”

Shoe­maker said he can­not stress enough how much the kids he has taught and coached have meant to him.

“I told the Green­wood ad­min­is­tra­tion that out­side of try­ing to live a life that hon­ors my Sav­ior, coach­ing and teach­ing is my life,” he said. “The re­la­tion­ships that I have built with all the kids that have ever walked through my door or played for me will echo through­out my life­time. They have meant more to me than I could ever ex­plain. The love I hold in my heart for the stu­dents of Siloam Springs is un­ri­valed by any­thing in my life.

“When things got rough for me in my per­sonal life, the boys and girls that I got to coach ev­ery sin­gle day were such a bless­ing to me.

“They gave me strength each and ev­ery day. There is a rea­son God placed them in my life and I will miss the chance to be their coach, but I look for­ward to pour­ing out my heart to the kids of Green­wood, who will get noth­ing but 100 per­cent from me con­stantly.”

I told the Green­wood ad­min­is­tra­tion that out­side of try­ing to live a life that hon­ors my Sav­ior, coach­ing and teach­ing is my life. The re­la­tion­ships that I have built with all the kids that have ever walked through my door or played for me will echo through­out my life­time. They have meant more to me than I could ever ex­plain. Luke Shoe­maker

Bud Sullins/Special to Siloam Sun­day

Siloam Springs as­sis­tant soc­cer coach Luke Shoe­maker runs off the play­ing turf at Ra­zor­back Field in Fayet­teville mo­ments be­fore the Siloam Springs boys soc­cer team played Moun­tain Home for the Class 6A state cham­pi­onship on May 19. Shoe­maker has ac­cepted the head boys soc­cer coach po­si­tion at Green­wood.

Bud Sullins/Special to Siloam Sun­day

Siloam Springs as­sis­tant soc­cer coach Luke Shoe­maker was named the head boys soc­cer coach at Green­wood on Thurs­day. Shoe­maker has coached in the dis­trict since 2012 and has coached soc­cer since 2014. He’s been a part of six state ti­tles, in­clud­ing four straight for the Siloam Springs girls team and the last two state ti­tles for the boys.

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