Passwater learned a lot in little time at Southside

Published 7:55 pm Sunday, September 3, 2017

CHOCOWINITY — While Matthew Passwater’s time at Southside was brief, he learned a lot that helped him head up the varsity soccer team at Farmville Central. Formerly the junior-varsity baseball coach for the Seahawks, Passwater returned to Chocowinity last week as the Jaguars took on Southside.

He only worked at Southside for six months, but those six months taught him a lot about coaching. Varsity baseball coach Kevin McRoy has spearheaded a rise for Seahawk baseball. Passwater said McRoy’s coaching prowess on the diamond has rubbed off on what he does on the soccer field.

“It was fun while I was here. I have a lot of positive memories from working at Southside, even though it was really short,” Passwater said. “I got to work with a lot of good people. … Working with coach McRoy has influenced me quite a bit. I don’t think he even realizes how much of an impact he’s had on me as a coach.”

Learning how to organize a sort of grassroots effort has helped the Jaguars grow to a point where Passwater thinks they can contend for a 2-A Eastern Plains Conference championship in just his second season coaching the team.

Of course, Washington departing from the conference for the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference helps, too.

“When I got here, I didn’t have an assistant. Using his model for baseball is kind of what I employed here,” Passwater said. “We found some immediate turnaround, which was really good.”

Oddly enough, Passwater explained, there are plenty of similarities between leading baseball and soccer programs. He took over at the helm mostly out of need after former Farmville Central soccer coach John Matthews took on the same role at Conley.

Passwater does have some semblance of a soccer background, though. He played baseball and football in high school, so coaching soccer was sailing through unchartered waters to begin. With members of his immediate family knowledgeable of the game, though, he has plenty of people to consult.

“I’m surrounded by soccer people,” he said. He said his brother, dad, uncle and wife all played. “My daughter looks like she’s playing. It’s more important to surround yourself with people that are smarter than you. It’s been a lot of learning on the fly. It has been an eye-opening, and very rewarding experience.”

Passwater’s Jaguars are off to a 2-2 start with five non-conference bouts left. They came to Chocowinity and battled evenly with the Seahawks, but Jario Juarez’s late goal was enough to lead Southside to the win. Farmville Central gets another shot when it hosts Southside for the backend of their home-and-home series.