Chris Johnson, better known to his players as Coach CJ, is a new soccer coach at Prep that joined the staff last year as an assistant JV/varsity coach.
Coach CJ has 3 children, the oldest being Abby, who graduated from Villa, His son Reece is a sophomore at Prep who has a starting position on the varsity soccer team, and his son Max is currently in 7th grade attending J.S. Wilson.
During practices, Coach CJ is normally working with the junior varsity squad alongside junior varsity head coach Vinny Padalino. The addition of Coach CJ has helped the team out greatly. He brings an added element that hasn’t been there in years past with his large amount of soccer knowledge and ability to teach it to high school kids. Coaching takes a lot of time and can be very stressful, especially when being a soccer coach is not your job.
Coach CJ said he mainly coaches because he enjoys it. He also does it for his son Reece, and for Max, who plans to play soccer for Prep when he’s old enough.
“I guess it’s kind of always been in my blood to be a soccer coach,” he said. “I played soccer myself for Mercyhurst in high school and Gannon in college, [so] you could say it’s a family thing.”
Coach CJ said he “loves his position with the Prep soccer organization and wouldn’t want to coach for any other high school.” When the varsity squad is playing a game, he will normally sit at the opposite end of the bench of the other coaches and will talk to the players that come off the field to go over what they did right and what they did wrong.
“When I get called off the field I look forward to talking to CJ on the bench because he’ll be straight up with me and set me straight if needed,” senior Noah Rupp said. Rupp will be attending John Carroll University for soccer.
All in all, the Prep soccer organization gained a major asset when they decided to hire coach Chris Johnson. When asked what his favorite part about being a soccer coach is, he focused on the players and their development.
“Getting to see the kids that I’ve known throughout most of their soccer career finally compete at a high school level,” he said, “and just seeing how much they’ve changed not only as players, but as men as well.”