Cherry brings experience to women’s soccer


Jason Howell

Eastern head coach Jason Cherry gives a pregame pep talk to his players.

Elias Albert, Staff Reporter

In his third year as coach, fourth at Eastern overall, Jason Cherry is looking forward to many great games ahead of him and his team.

But, Cherry also has reason to look back on a solid and memorable career.

Cherry grew up in South Bend, Ind. where he had the opportunity to train with members of the Notre Dame men’s soccer team.

“I learned a lot from people there,” Cherry said. “I got to see how they run a program, which was generally always very successful.”

Cherry also thinks that tradition of winning is something that he carries with him, and he hopes to influence onto his team.

“Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve been able to win,” Cherry said. “I just hope to bring that here at Eastern. I just feel like we’re so close to doing it consistently too.”

Cherry has spent his coaching career at East Carolina University, as a goalkeeper’s coach, at Western Illinois University, as an assistant coach, and at Bethel College, as an associate coach.

Through his career at those three schools, Cherry posted winning records with each team.

He also saw his own share of action on the field, mainly by way of the goalkeeper position.

“When I was young, I sort of just fell in love with the position,” Cherry said.

He had a reason to. He was coached by ba man who actually saw time for the Argentinian National team at one point.

Cherry told a story about this coach, mentioning that they’d train on the beach, followed by the very same training on the ground to help develop his skills.

“He really challenged me,” Cherry said. “Getting that mentality at such a high level was so beneficial to me.”

Cherry spent his collegiate career at Goshen College in Indiana during the mid-90s.

Following his time in school, Cherry could not give up on the game he loves as he joined a pick-up men’s team.

Interestingly enough, the team was comprised of all African players, besides Cherry of course. The team traveled all throughout the country to compete.

“It was so fun to be able to travel as much as I did,” Cherry said. “I’ve been to every state in the lower -48.”

Cherry also mentioned his trip the Europe, where he had the opportunity to train with the Chelsea Football Club.

During his time shadowing the team he met Didier Drogba, a highly-regarded Premiere-League player for years, who currently plays in the MLS.

Also during his time there, he also spent time with the Ipswich Town Football Club, a team based in Suffolk, England.

There, Cherry was able to spend time with members of the club and coaching staff.

“They emphasized how I was a goalkeeper’s coach from America,” Cherry said. “They were excited to have me there and actually wanted me to come to their training sessions and even help them out a bit.”

It was there that Cherry gave pointers to current Stoke City goalkeeper Shay Given, as well as other prospects.

“The managers asked me what I thought of their keepers,” Cherry said, “I told them what I thought and they asked me to go give some coaching and assistance.”

Despite the time spent with the English teams, Cherry’s passion is toward a German club.

“It was really cool to work with Chelsea,” Cherry said. “But it didn’t make me a sudden fan of theirs. Not in England and not overall. That title goes to Bayern Munich of the Bundesliga”

With this impressive resume of experiences and such a high knowledge and love of the game, Cherry still remains humble and always open to learn.

“I don’t really brag about this,” Cherry said. “I think it’s definitely a neat and fortunate experience, but it doesn’t really change the way I want my peers to see me. I’m the head coach here now.”

Cherry also feels, that with his experience, he can both help and learn more from his team.

He called his team a respectful bunch that seems to appreciate their coaches and the game itself.

“They enjoy being a part of this team,” Cherry said. “We’ve got a strong mutual respect and it’s really beginning to come together.”

He also mentioned his appreciation for assistant coaches Raymundo Gonzalez and Sarah Wright.

“They both have a lot of experience with the game,” Cherry said. “They help my team and myself on a daily basis.”

Cherry feels that as time passes, he and his team will reach heights of success.

He’s accustomed to success and consistency and thinks that his team is more than capable of becoming used to it as well.

There is still a lot of soccer left to be played both this year, and in Cherry’s career.

If things go the way they have in the past for Cherry, the future is more than bright.


Elias Albert can reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]