Frank Baumholtz III has coached more than a few high school girls soccer games in his 28 years at the helm of the Pearl City Chargers.
He had a lot to say about what the job is like in a candid interview after Pearl City’s 3-0 victory over Hilo in the state tournament quarterfinals Thursday at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium.
Here is what he had to say (by the way, “candid” and “Frank” are synonyms):
>> On his team’s current situation —
“We just had the worst two weeks of practice ever. They kind of went into casual mode. When game time came around (Wednesday), one of the really good players said, ‘I’m scared,’ and I heard her say it so I waited a couple of minutes and I went over to her and said, ‘It’s OK to be scared. That’s what a big game is. You gotta want to play in a big game. That’s when the real true soccer player/athlete comes out.’ And she got a number of goals (in a 4-1 win over Kapolei).
“Today a couple of other players were saying, ‘Oh gee, I’m really worried.’ I just told them, ‘Hey it’s just a game. We’re not supposed to win. We’re not seeded. They (the Vikings) are seeded, so let’s take it to them.’ And I think we did that very efficiently. After that, we relaxed. That got me mad. They went casual. We’re winning 2-0 and 2-0 is a horrible score. They (the Vikings) get one and all of a sudden it’s 2-1 and you’re in trouble.”
>> On coaching teenagers —
“You try and critique them and they don’t understand you’re critiquing the play and not really them. We try to explain that: ‘You know I’m not mad at you, I’m mad at the soccer player who doesn’t listen. If you listen, we win because you’re vital, you’re so vital to the team, but it’s a matter of hearing that criticism, and at 15-16 years old, they’re thinking, ‘How can I be wrong?’ ”
>> On his intensity —
“I’ve seen every single thing. During games, I’m so intense. The good thing is I have a wife that checks my temper, and my assistant coaches both played for me when they were like sixth, seventh grade, so when I get to the point where they know I’m going to lose it, they kind of calm me down. I do the same thing with them.”
>> On being calmer than he used to be —
“I am (calmer). My grandkids are playing now. My granddaughter asked me, ‘How come you’re so tough on me,’ and I said, ‘Well, you’re talented. Your mother was talented and I want you to be as good a person as she is because she is so good that she’s guiding you in soccer. You can quit if you’re not having fun. … That’s why before every game the last thing I say to them (the Chargers) when they do their prayer and everything and give their cheer, I say, ‘Let’s go out and have fun because if you have fun, then when the game’s over I have fun.
>> On the perks of coaching —
“(Wednesday), I called a play and the defense on the other team turned their backs. One of our girls who knows the code word for it, she signaled, ‘Got it.’ She went and put the ball down, turned and gave it to (freshman) Sunshine (Fontes) and Sunshine hit it. That was the go-ahead goal. Those are the things that really make it fun for me. You see something coming and they make it happen. That’s cool. I get premonitions sometimes and say later, ‘Oh my God, they see it all of a sudden and it’s beautiful. That’s what the game is all about. So beautiful.”
>> On playing against Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion ‘Iolani tonight in the semifinals —
“We started the season with ‘Iolani and they soundly beat us 6-2. So we’re not supposed to win; so we just gotta come out and play together. For this group to be fourth, it’s incredible — third, second, first, any of that is special.”
>> On sophomore midfielder Brittny Ihara and Fontes, a freshman striker —
“Brittny is a machine and she makes things go for us with her intensity and her ability to get turned quick and get rid of the ball. They (Ihara and Fontes) don’t mesh completely yet, but it’s exciting what their future could be if they keep playing.”
>> On coaching players coming from different clubs (which is the case with Ihara and Fontes, who come from rival clubs) —
“When they (all of the players) come together, first thing we do is get rid of the insignias, no wearing your colors. We ask, ‘Who do you play for?’ Someone says, ‘Well, I play for Rush.’ We say, ‘No. Go run sprints.’ We ask another, ‘Who do you play for? … ‘I play for the Bulls.’ … ‘Run!’ Next time, it’s ‘I play for Pearl City.’ OK, now we’re together. You’ve got to get their brains functioning back on that level.”