For most high school teams, the bond between player and coach is formed once the athletes graduate eighth grade. For many of the players in recent years, that bond and connection with their coach was formed at a young age and has grown throughout the years.
As many of the players grew up to develop their soccer skills, or transition to other sports, this year marks the first year that coach Dale Reuter doesn't have any high school players that he helped coach at a younger age for the competitive soccer team in northwest Missouri, the Twisters. The transition from coaching the boys at a young age to eventually applying for the head coaching position at Maryville High School was an easy and familiar transition for Reuter.
“I’ve been around the Twisters organization and kind of kept my teeth in that and been coaching soccer for some time,” Reuter said. “When Stuart Collins resigned from the position, the school actually came to me and asked me if I would take over for the boys. They seemed like a good fit and I told them I would — and the rest is history.”
Despite Reuter showing his passion for soccer throughout his involvement in the sport, he has never actually played. Growing up, Rreuter was involved in a variety of athletics. Baseball and football were his specialties.
Reuter’s talent in football eventually led him to play at the collegiate level, but his passion for soccer came later on as he saw the complexity and competitiveness involved in it.
“I like soccer and I like the idea of what you can do in soccer,” Reuter said. “There’s 11 players out there and every one of those 11 players is very important to it. It’s not like you have a backup quarterback or you put your worst fielder in right field. You really have to have solid ballplayers across the board to be successful.”
While much of Reuter's knowledge of soccer comes from years of coaching in the game, opposed to playing it, he's been all about the betterment of the students that play for him throughout the process.
Reuter not only uses soccer to make the boys better athletes but he uses his guidance and knowledge of persistence and communication to build the players into proper men.
“I’ve known Dale for as long as I can remember,” senior defensive back Jaxon Pettlon. “He’s always been there for me for when I need him. He’s always cared more about what we do outside of the game rather than what we’re doing in it, and I like that about him.”
Even though his coaching time at Maryville High School started in 2014, many of those in the community are grateful for his addition to the program. The inevitable thoughts of the future and what that means for Reuter and the foundation he has built here is always looming.
“I told the people that hired me that I would stay as long as I could and do the best job that I can,” Reuter said. “If that time comes in which I know I can no longer help that program and that I’ve done everything I could … it's time for someone else to come in, new blood, new ideas, new theories. I'm just a guy, and I'm just coaching these games and these kids and doing the best job that I can. Because who knows what tomorrow is going to bring?”