Story by Mark McFarland, Sports Editor
The women’s soccer team has been led by Head Coach Jeremy Groves since the 2014-15 season.
But Groves doesn’t just want to be known as the head coach at Murray State, he wants to be known as a selfless person.
“I’m a laid back kind of guy,” he said. “Not everything is about me. I would probably want to be known as someone who is selfless. I don’t like praise very much, I would rather deflect it onto other people. If there is a criticism of any of my girls, players or people I’d rather take all that on my shoulders instead of having it on them.”
Groves is from South Milfred, England, and is in his third season of coaching at Murray State. Groves has bounced around a little bit as he has coached at Morehead State, University of Kentucky and a school in England. As a player he signed with a professional club at the age of 10. He spent his first two years of school in England and then moved to the United States to finish off his playing career. Groves spent his first year in the U.S. playing for a small school, Virginia Intermont, before transferring to Kentucky.
In 2003 and 2004 Groves helped Kentucky win back-to-back MAC Championships. He would later graduate and coach for two years on the women’s side and four years on the men’s side. Groves would then become the assistant at Morehead and contributed to many players’ receiving OVC accolades. Groves then applied for the Murray State job and began his career with the Racers.
Playing soccer in England and the U.S. has helped Groves see the differences between the culture of the sport in the two countries.
“Over here everyone is die hard on football and basketball, they get the big crowds and stuff,” Groves said. “I think it [soccer] is definitely growing over here, the college game especially.”
Coming from England he knows first-hand at how big soccer is across the Atlantic Ocean.
“You know, over there everybody plays in the street,” he said. “Everybody watches it, it’s the main kind of thing that goes on. The whole media surrounds it, over here every now and again you’ll see a top 10, this or that, or they’ll mention something, but it’s just kind of a way of life over there.”
Before Murray State, Groves learned the difference between coaching men’s and women’s soccer. He said he learned that college age men think they know everything and don’t really listen to their coach, this is why he said he wanted to continue to coach women’s soccer.
“There’s not a lot of egos involved, there is some, but I think it’s a little bit easier to manage,” Groves said.
Not only has it been easier to manage the egos of the women’s players, but it has been easier for Groves to make sure the women go to class and not have to chase them down.
In his free time Groves loves to watch soccer, and has said many times his wife will ask him if he gets tired of the sport. His favorite club is Everton, a club in England where many top notch U.S. players have played. He said they are hoping for a good season in the British Premier League.
“Sometimes it’s very frustrating,” Groves said. “They did just get a new owner who has pumped in a bunch of money and they did just get a new coach this year so I think, just like every fan, we are always optimistic that something is going to change, but we will see.”
Groves said he has had a lot of fun coaching at Murray State, but winning the OVC Championship last season wasn’t the most fun he’s had.
“When I first took over the program and we kind of changed things pretty quickly and immediately and we got back on the winning side of things,” he said. “It’s just the kids telling me how much fun they had and they wish they had more years to be involved. I think that’s the best thing, the environment we try and create is good and a positive one and they enjoy themselves.”
Although Groves does like to have fun with the team, he said there is still work to do to accomplish what they want this season.
“If we are not in the mix to win the OVC the I’m going to be very disappointed,” Groves said. “I think the conference will be stronger this year, but with that being said, I’ve always said this and I back my players, we have good players.”