By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
The “Getting to Know” series was created to learn more about the coaches and administrators that are guiding today’s Portage County student-athletes to be tomorrow’s leaders.
Today, we get to know Field High School girls soccer coach Jason Schindler, who is in his third year leading the Falcons’ program.
A: Suffield, Ohio.
Q: High school?
A: Field High School (Class of 1994). Played soccer and track and field and archery.
A: University of Akron. Played soccer during freshman year. Transferred to Kent State University, where I graduated in 2000 with a degree in Finance, with a portfolio-management concentration and a minor in Computer Information Systems.
Q: Current occupation?
A: Owner of Schindler’s Custom Woodworking, Ltd.
Q: What inspired you to become a coach?
A: Everything I have learned and accomplished so far in my life can be either tied back to what I learned while playing soccer or from church/God. When I look at how I can make a difference in today’s world, it’s through the conduit soccer has provided me. I am a firm believer that relationships and lessons learned through sports is so much more impactful than anything else and soccer/coaching allows me to share those characteristics learned throughout my life with the hope of helping others.
Q: What makes being a coach at Field special to you?
A: It is home. It is where my foundation for life was built and it’s where I fell in love with the game of soccer.
Q: Who has been your biggest influence or mentor?
A: Rick Holland and Otto Orf, who are with Heart and Sole Futsal Academy. They both gave me a chance to prove myself as a coach and they continue to provide me with opportunities to better myself.
Q: Funny story nobody would believe from your playing days?
A: I was the trainer’s worst nightmare, because I would refuse to listen to her when I suffered an injury. I would leverage my brother-in-law’s authority, who happened to be our coach, for my own benefit. I remember dislocating my right thumb just before halftime, which Was wearing my brand new Tony Meola goalkeeper gloves. As I walked off the field, I called (coach) Jim over to show him my thumb, which was pointed back toward my wrist. Jim calmly called the trainer over, and she said, “We have to cut off the glove and…” Well, I didn’t hear anything she said past the cutting of the glove, and I know my refusal response to her was rather colorful. You have to understand, these gloves cost me $150. They were, by far, the most expensive gloves I ever owned. They had the three-quarter wrapped fingers with the super soft and tacky latex foam, which made catching the ball SO much easier, and I absolutely loved them! There was no way anyone was coming near my gloves with any scissors.
Seeing I refused the cutting of the glove, the trainer refused any further actions be taken without doctor’s or parental approval. Unfortunately, neither of my parents attended the game, but my parents did list (coach) Jim as my emergency contact, so I used Jim as my “parental approval.” The trainer still refused any action to be taken and left to go get another authority figure. While she was away, Jim slowly started to take my glove off, which caused my thumb to snap back into place. Jim taped up the thumb and as I was walking back onto the field, the trainer instructed me to come off because I had a dislocated thumb. I remember holding up my hand, wiggling my thumb, saying, “It’s not dislocated,” and I headed toward my goal.
I am thankful that we didn’t have to cut off the glove.
Q: Funny story nobody would believe from your coaching career?
A: My current employer initially questioned whether I was qualified to coach high-school soccer.
Q: Favorite TV show?
A: Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Shop.
Q: Favorite movie?
A: Real Genius and Top Gun.
Q: Favorite musical artist?
A: Def Leppard, Van Halen, Sammy Hagar and Matchbox Twenty.
Q: Favorite food?
A: Look at me! It is easier for me to list what I don’t like. I’m a foodie and simply love food.
Q: Best vacation?
A: Our annual family vacations to Outer Banks.
Q: Shoutout to former teammates?
A: Eric Kandell, Craig Waller, Derek Losh, John Rorabaugh, Dennis Klingensmith, Brian Mclhinney, Bill Hall, Jay Chapman, Paul Armburster, Aaron Waller, Mike Stingley, Darin Fisher, Jason Fisher, Brian Miller, Dan Mars and Sara (Laney) Slania.
Q: Favorite motto?
A: I have two: It’s hard to beat someone/team that never quits; and time doesn’t stop for anyone so keep moving forward.
Q: Describe your coaching philosophy?
A: I’m a fan of Johan Cruyff (Dutch player/coach), who pioneered the Tiki-taka style of play, and I also love the sport of Futsal. Therefore, I’ve combined some of the Tiki-taka and futsal methodologies, which has forced players to be more fundamental and passing-centric. This methodology has fared well for our program thus far and allowed us to compete with programs that may be faster or more athletically gifted than we are.
Q: Favorite restaurant?
A: Back in the day, it was East Side Marios. Today, it’s La Terraza in Brimfield.
Q: Favorite teacher from high school?
A: Mrs. Petroff.
Q: Advice you would give the younger version of yourself?
A: Don’t take the advice from the older version of yourself, because you wouldn’t be who you are today if you did.
Q: Favorite coach from your playing days?
A: Jim Lipocky.
Q: Favorite sports team?
A: Manchester United.
Q: Favorite athlete then?
A: Tony Meola and Kai Haaskivi.
Q: Favorite athlete now?
A: My entire high-school team.
Q: First job as a teenager?
A: My first job ever was as a paper boy for the Record-Courier (8 years old), but as a teen, it was as a cart boy at Paradise Lake (13 years old).
Q: Family member that always gave you the best advice?
A: My father.
Q: Favorite video games?
A: It used to be all the EA Sports games. Now it is FIFA.
Q: Can you play any instruments?
A: I used to play percussion, but nothing now.
Q: Favorite candy?
A: Sprees and Blow Pop suckers.
Q: First car?
A: Brand new, navy blue 1993 Ford Ranger XL. It was below basic equipment. Manual shift. No power anything, including steering. No AC, no carpet, vinyl bench seat, with a sliding back window. It cost $6,900, and I drove it until we had our first child.
Q: Best friends?
A: My wife, Jason Cottrell (42 years) and Mike Shaffer (40 years).