This fall, three new assistant coaches joined Elizabethtown College’s Athletic Department, more specifically, the soccer division. Michael Henning began working with the women’s team while Andrew Kummerer joined the men’s coaching staff. In addition, Zach Thornton will be serving as a goalie coach for both the men’s and women’s programs. The three new assistant coaches hold impressive resumes with experience in playing and coaching, which gives hope for more successful seasons to come.
Henning, a former member of the United States International Soccer League (USISL), has experience coaching soccer, as well as playing it. He served as an assistant coach at the high school level and was the head coach of the Olympic Development Program in 2006. He is also the current Vice President of Pennsylvania Classics AC. Despite this season marking the beginning of his coaching career at the collegiate level, his experience and knowledge of the game have already been well received by Etown’s coaching staff and players.
While Henning has proven to be a positive addition to the women’s soccer team, the men’s team has also adopted Andrew Kummerer as a new assistant coach. Kummerer, a former Blue Jay, came back to Etown to continue the positive traditions of the program. “As a former player, I got to experience first-hand the rich tradition and history of being a part of the Blue Jay brotherhood, and I want to help pass that along,” he said. “Also, coaching under Skip [Arthur Roderick] is a great opportunity to learn from someone who has so much experience and has been so successful.”
Adding new coaches to a team can cause tension or additional stress on the players. However, Kummerer admits to quickly building a relationship with his players and is looking forward to having a say in the program. “[I’m excited] to be a part of something again that was such a huge part of my life. Now I get to take it on from a new perspective,” he stated.
Kummerer described his coaching style as “blue collar” and thinks that the most important trait for a team to have is heart. “[I get] players to go out and earn a result by working harder than everyone else,” he said. “You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t have the courage to play with everything you’ve got you’ll never reach your potential.”
As a 2006 graduate, Kummerer is a four-time first team all MAC Conference player, a recipient of the Rookie of the Year award and a two-time regional All-American player, all of which have proven to be beneficial in his new coaching position.
While Henning and Kummerer have proven to be positive additions to their respective teams, both programs are also working with new goalie coach Zach Thornton, one of the all-time elite goalkeepers in Major League Soccer (MLS).
Thornton’s career totals 16 seasons in MLS, six MLS All-Star titles and eight appearances on the United States Men’s National Team. He was also an alternate for the U.S. team in the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
As a 1995 graduate from Loyola University, Thornton earned a B.S. in communications with a concentration in advertising. As a student, he led the nation in shutouts with 14, and was an NSCAA All-American player during both his junior and senior years.
The Etown men’s soccer team currently has a record of 3-5-2 while the women’s program has a 5-2-3 record. Despite the men’s team’s less-than-perfect record, Kummerer is optimistic about the rest of their season. “The season has been a challenge with a difficult early schedule and lots of injuries, but it’s been a great learning experience for everyone and we’re all growing every day,” he said.
Kummerer is also most proud of his team for the way in which they defeated Johns Hopkins in a recent match: “Through pride, determination and heart … you can win a lot of games.”