New father Kozuch splitting time between soccer, family

Published 8:04 pm Monday, October 9, 2017

Monday was Washington’s biggest soccer match of the season. The Pam Pack traveled out to North Lenoir and won, 4-3, to tie the Hawks atop the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference.

The championship showdown was something coach Jim Kozuch and Washington had been building toward since losing to the Hawks at home on Sept. 13. It was a big match, no doubt, but not the biggest thing to happen recently in Kozuch’s life.

The Pam Pack coach and his wife welcomed a baby girl, Cameron Kozuch, into the world on Sept. 6. Life has been a balancing act for Kozuch in the month or so since.

“The soccer stuff has still been the same. It’s just a little bit more tiring. I had to run home and squeeze in an hour nap because we’re dealing with some sicknesses in the house,” Kozuch said after beating Greene Central last week. “But it’s been awesome.”

He got to take time off from his teaching duties to spend time at home with his wife and newborn. Of course, he continued his coaching duties. Kozuch and his wife, Katelyn, have since eased into a tougher schedule now that he’s returned to school.

“All the praise in the world goes to my wife,” he said. “Now that I’m back to school, a normal night is I take the first shift of crying. That’s about 1:30 in the morning. The second shift, my wife takes over.

“It’s not so bad. I break up my night and still get six or seven hours of sleep. All praise. I’ve never had more respect for a woman in my life like I do right now.”

His daughter is only weeks old. That hasn’t stopped Kozuch, a former collegiate soccer player himself, from dreaming of his little girl on a soccer field.

“I think about what position she’s going to play on the soccer field already, as crazy as that sounds,” he said. “These are the crazy things I think about.”

Actually, the brand-new father isn’t just fantasizing about getting his little girl on the field. He’s actively working toward it. Of course, Cameron has to be able to stand and walk before she can kick a ball.

But how young is too young?

“It’s never too young,” he said. “I’m working on her balance right now. We were looking it up before to see if it would be bad for her to be walking by seven months. I’m strengthening her hips right now. We’re working on head and neck motion.”

Kozuch and the Pam Pack have four games left on the season, starting Wednesday at Ayden-Grifton. They’ll then get eight days off before returning home to host South Lenoir on Oct. 19.