ShareThis Page

New Kiski Area boys soccer coach embraces teaching the game

| Saturday, July 19, 2014, 10:00 p.m.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispa
Kiski Area High School's new boys varsity soccer coach, Sean Arnold, instructs his players during practice at the Kiski Area High School on Wednesday, July 9, 2014.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Kiski Area new boys soccer coach Sean Arnold instructs his players during practice Wednesday, July 9, 2014.

Sean Arnold's abundance of soccer instincts allowed him to earn playing time at every position on the field, including goaltender, during his four-year career at Robert Morris.

Now Arnold, a 1998 Kiski Area graduate, will get to survey a soccer field from another new vantage point: that of coach for the Cavaliers.

An assistant at Kiski Area the past six seasons, Arnold honed his teaching skills as earnestly as he once refined his on-field abilities. The reward for his commitment materialized in mid-June: Arnold was approved by the school board as the team's new coach.

Arnold, 34, succeeds Bob Wright, who stepped down after 14 seasons, during which Kiski Area went 140-92-12 and made the playoffs nine times.

“I just felt that I knew so much when I got out of college that I needed to get that knowledge to the high school players four years earlier than I got it,” Arnold said. “I wanted to give them an opportunity to see and do what I did, if they wanted to go that route.”

What Arnold did at RMU might go down as one of the more unusual careers in the school's history. Recruited as a defender after playing that position for the oft-celebrated Beadling Soccer Club, Arnold saw plenty of time at left back. But injuries and personnel shuffling also allowed to him appear at forward and central midfield, his preferred position. And in one game in his senior season in 2002, Arnold made five saves and allowed four goals in a loss at Duquesne.

He finished his college career with 10 goals and six assists in 52 appearances.

When he became involved with Kiski Area soccer, he marveled at the progress made by the program. During his playing days, few if any other Cavaliers belonged to Cup teams. The Cavaliers lacked depth in general. But as an assistant, he watched dozens of players, including many who played soccer year-round, turn out for practices.

From the start, Arnold wanted to wow the young Cavaliers with his understanding of the game. He just had to figure out how to convey things that were so clear in his head.

“My first year, getting into it, I was cocky,” Arnold said. “I thought I knew everything about soccer, so I knew how to coach. Then I realized there's a learning curve on how to coach. Just because I know the game doesn't mean I can coach it.

“So Bob, that first year, helped me learn how to get to that level where I could actually explain something and coach it rather than just knowing what to do.”

As the years proceeded, Wright gave more day-to-day coaching responsibilities to Arnold.

“He understood playing the game, but it was necessary for a while for him to develop his own style and approach on how to teach the game,” Wright said. “I knew a time was coming when I'd step away from such an active role in the game, and I wanted to be sure Kiski Area soccer was in a position to be able to move on to the next generation.”

While Arnold provides Kiski Area continuity and familiarity, he also brings levels of intensity and discipline that might require the Cavaliers to brace themselves.

“Sean brings a very strong passion in his approach,” Wright said. “He can be more demanding and more critical. Because I had him there, I could be a little more analytical and patient when I was the coach.”

Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.