Former Otterbein student Jaden Lunger continues to lead the university's men's soccer team from the sidelines. At the end of last year, Lunger was offered a position at Otterbein as an assistant coach to the team.
Lunger graduated last spring with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and a minor in sociology. He was captain of the soccer team, president of Men of Vision and an ambassador for the Office of Social Justice and Activism.
While playing for the men’s soccer team Lunger was a two-time winner of the Ohio Athletic Conference Defender of the Year award.
Like many graduating college students, Lunger spent a lot of his senior year at Otterbein wondering what was next for him.
“I think I always knew I would end up coaching, not that I had a set plan to go out and do it," said Lunger.
Head Coach Jason Griffiths offered Lunger the opportunity to coach and help the younger members of the team grow.
“I still feel like my role with the team isn’t over yet," said Lunger. "Again, that’s just another conversation I would have with Jason. I still wanna be there for some of the guys to mentor them and give them some of my experiences as a player.”
Although Lunger’s new coaching experience has allowed him to see the game from a different angle, he misses playing for the team.
“I’m on the sideline for every game, and there's not a moment I wish I wasn’t playing," said Lunger. "But that’s one thing I’m really enjoying about coaching: the different perspective, learning how to read the game differently and understanding how all the parts and pieces work.”
Senior soccer player Erick Juarez-Manning played with Lunger for his first three years at Otterbein before Lunger became a coach. According to Juarez-Manning, Lunger was a great leader and very prepared for the coaching position.
“Over the years, I saw him become a leader more and more each time, and then senior year when he became our captain, it was just like seeing everything come together.”
The next home men’s soccer game is Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.