Carlos Saenz Named Men’s Head Soccer Coach

December 14, 2017

YANKTON – Mount Marty College (MMC) in Yankton, South Dakota, recently announced that Carlos Saenz will take on the role of head coach for the Lancer men’s soccer team.

Carlos Saenz

It’s a homecoming of sorts for Carlos, a 2012 MMC Alumnus who played on the Lancer soccer team while getting his bachelor’s in exercise science.  Originally from a devout Catholic family in Lima, Peru, Saenz grew up playing soccer on the international stage and came to the United States at the age of 17 to pursue higher education. While Saenz was at MMC, the athletic trainer saw coaching potential in Saenz and encouraged him to pursue certification. Saenz received his first certification during his senior year of college and, after graduation, went on to serve as assistant coach for the Lancers.

Coaching came naturally to Saenz, and in 2014, he became the head coach of the Siouxland Diablos, a youth soccer club based in South Sioux City. In just two years, the Diablos competed in five title games, claimed a state title, and competed in the world’s largest youth cup, the Gothia Cup Soccer Tournament in Gothenburg, Sweden. Carlos was also selected to coach in the Olympic Development Program and was awarded the Nebraska State Boys Competitive Soccer Coach of the Year in 2016.

Carlos says he hopes to use his international experiences to set the Lancers apart from the rest of the GPAC.

“Competing in different countries as a player and now as a coach has allowed me to learn different styles and philosophies of coaching,” said Saenz. “The hardest part of coaching is to identify a philosophy of the game that differentiates us from everybody else and that is what I hope to bring to Mount Marty.”

He is also excited to coach in an environment that will allow him to focus on his player’s personal and academic development, as well as their growth as athletes.

“I've worked in places where it's all about winning games and how well you do in the tournament, but at Mount Marty, it goes beyond that. Yes, we plan to win games, but sportsmanship is key here. The education of the players and their growth is equally important,” he said. “Mount Marty is special because the people make it special. Everyone cares about you as an individual, and everyone is excited about your improvement and to see you succeed.”

The new appointment also marks a change in the structure of the MMC soccer program. Coach Peter Shepherd, who has been leading both teams for the last several seasons, will now focus solely on the women’s soccer program. Shepard, who attended MMC and played with Saenz, is looking forward to having him join the athletic department for several reasons.

“Carlos and I played together on MMC’s soccer team,” said Shepard. “He is very driven, almost restless. He has such a passion for soccer; there's no sacrifice he wouldn't make to see the Men's soccer program be successful.” 

Chris Kassin, MMC Athletic Director, said he could not be more excited about the future of MMC’s soccer programs.

“Carlos brings unmatched enthusiasm and passion. He is a proven coach, graduate of MMC and exemplifies the mission of the College. He is the perfect person to take this program to the next level,” Kassin said. “We are also thrilled to follow the success of the women’s team under the direction of Peter. He will now be able to focus all his time and efforts ensuring a first-class experience for just one sport.”

In addition to a laser-focused coaching staff, Mount Marty College recently announced an official partnership with the Yankton School District. MMC will contribute $200,000 toward renovations and improvements to Crane-Youngworth Field, and in return, the field will serve as the new game site for MMC’s men’s and women’s soccer teams. The project, which includes the replacement of the current grass field with synthetic turf, will become the Lancer’s home field beginning in fall 2018.

With a reenergized coaching staff and new facilities, Kassin says everything is falling into place for Lancer soccer.

“It should be a great first year at Crane-Youngworth Field,” said Kassin.

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