By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
Crestwood High School announced the hiring of Eric Sway as the new head coach for the Red Devils’ varsity girls soccer program.
Sway, who is also the head coach of Crestwood’s boys soccer team, will also remain in that role.
Sway will serve as the head coach for both programs.
“This unconventional outlook — one head coach for two programs — is unique, but coach Sway’s confidence in leading both programs to create one family program was vibrant,” Troy Spiker said in his announcement.
Brock Kertoy once coached both the boys and girls programs for Ravenna during the 2005 season. Outside of soccer, Sonny Tilden coached both the boys and girls basketball programs at Ravenna for four seasons from 2016-17 through 2019-20.
As the boys soccer coach for Crestwood, Sway guided the Red Devils to a successful season in 2022, winning a sectional championship.
Spiker announced that Sway immediately applied for the girls-soccer position.
“When brought in for an interview, (Sway) did not sell himself as a coach, but rather how he has a plan to guide both programs with the same vision, foundational skills and expectations in efforts to turn two programs into one family,” Spiker included in his announcement. “He is committed to developing coaches and relationships with the middle school and youth programs under his leadership in efforts for future success as one soccer program.”
For Sway, the vision for what the future of Crestwood soccer could look like began last summer when he began his summer training. During those sessions, it was common for Sway to only get four players and a good day had six players.
At the official start of the season on Aug. 1, Sway did not have enough players to even field a team.
He reached out to girls head coach Tait Taylor about practicing together to simply help have enough numbers to run effective drills.
“From day one with the girls at our boys practices, I was really impressed,” Sway said. “I thought to myself that they really have a lot of ability and at the age that they are, I thought to myself that they could be a championship-level program by their junior and senior years. The core group is fantastic.”
Sway left those sessions focused on building his boys numbers, which eventually lifted to 12 to make a season happen, but with constant roster fragility with endurance and injuries always lurking, but also with the mindset that he wanted to help out the girls’ program as much as possible.
He was at every game and offered help wherever Taylor needed.
“The girls listened well and they took instruction well. You could tell they cared and they all wanted to work,” Sway said. “Just like the boys, that hard work allowed them to see the improvement and it motivated them. It opened my eyes to the idea, that at some point down the road and I was not ever thinking as soon as this year, but that it would be a perfect scenario to create a program of one soccer family moving forward together.”
Numbers for 2023 already look promising for both boys and girls programs at Crestwood. For the boys, Sway is anticipating at least 15 players, while the girls program is trending closer to 18.