After nearly 20 years, the Trigg County boys soccer program will have a new head coach.
Josh Nichols got his perfect opportunity to walk away from the program after his son Keller closed out his career as a Wildcat and it was no surprise to Nichols as to who got the call to take his place.
One of Nichols’ former players will take over the Wildcat program as he passed the keys to the program over to Kyle Bleidt.
Nichols knows the right person took the job but said it is odd to see someone he coached not too long ago take over for him.
“I’m extremely proud of Kyle — I’ve been proud of him for going on a decade now,” Nichols said. “As a player, he improved every year, he soaked up coaching and he was a joy to coach. I think that’ll come out in his coaching.
“It’s a strange feeling. It started when I was seeing referees that I had coached or coached against and it has progressed to the point to where I’m passing the program down to someone I’ve coached.”
For Bleidt, to take over after his former coach is something that he will always hold as special.
“He’s done a lot for me — I wouldn’t be where I’m at if it weren’t for him,” Bleidt said. “It’s exciting because I know how much it meant to him and one of the big things is I don’t want to let him down. I want to have the same success he’s had and hopefully more.”
Bleidt was a 2017 graduate of Trigg County High School and now just four short years later, following a collegiate stop at Brescia and a tenure with the Dakota Fusion in the NPSL, he finds himself back on the ground at Cadiz, leading the program he played for.
“What a lot of people don’t know is I was a pre-law history major but when this opportunity came up — I’ve always wanted to come back home,” he said. “I think coach Josh’s plan was always to be done when Keller was done. When the job opened it was one I couldn’t pass up.”
Now back in the halls and on the pitch at Trigg County, Bleidt will lean on his experience as a player to help get the Wildcats’ program where he believes it should be.
“I had some great coaches in my career,” Bleidt said. “Walking into Brescia my freshman year we didn’t have a whole lot. By my senior year we were winning a lot of games against a lot of good teams. The improvement I made is something hopefully these kids can take on. I’ve got a style and a vision for how I want us to play and I think the coaching from the college and semi-professional level will be able to help me get the kids where I want them to be. If the kids buy-in — and I think they will — I think we’re going to have some success.”
Nichols is a believer in Bleidt and knows the experience he brings back to Cadiz will be massive for the Wildcats in the future.
“I think as far as Trigg County goes, they could not ask for a better coach and teacher,” Nichols said. “You got a guy in the building who bleeds Trigg County. He’s excelled at every level he’s played at. He wasn’t a great player because of physical gifts but he’s a guy that brought every bit of what he had and willed himself to be a good player and I think those are the people that become great coaches.”
The Wildcats are just a couple of years removed from a 14-win season and while Bleidt knows it will take some time to get the program back to that, he believes he has the formula to get a good team together and get Trigg back to where he believes it should be.
“Coach Josh has shown where this program can be,” Bleidt said. “Competing for regional championships is obviously the goal.
“I’d really like to be a possession-based team. That’s going to take some time. Defense is always going to come first. If you can hold a shutout, you can win a game.”