Independence High School announced this week its hiring of Eric Bossman to take over the boys soccer program.
Bossman is stepping up from his four-year assistant coaching position with the team. During his time with head coach Josh Philips, the two amassed a record of 35-20-9, including back-to-back postseason runs ending in the District 12-AAA semifinals, the last in overtime to Ravenwood last month.
“The thing I look forward to the most is just getting back on the field and working with the kids,” Bossman said. “They’re high school kids, they want to have fun, be competitive and play for their school. I’m just glad that I can help guide them along the way.
“Coach Philips did an incredible job with his 15-plus years here building the program and it’s been successful these last four years that I’ve been mentored by him. I hope to continue this success.”
Philips, who has been the head coach for all 15 of the soccer program’s existence, is headed to Brentwood Middle School to become the assistant principle. He said he’s happy to be going to a middle school, so he can always root for Independence as his high school team.
Before coming to Independence, Bossman had a nine-year professional soccer career playing in the USL for the Charleston Battery. From there, he spent two years running training camps for MLS teams all across the country. He has spent the past 11 years coaching club teams across Middle Tennessee.
“I’ve been playing or coaching soccer since I was 12, so it’s something I love doing and I’m passionate about,” Bossman said.
Phillips expressed his confidence in Bossman’s ability to lead the Eagles.
“Eric is truly a quality guy, a man of integrity; his ability to understand the game, coach and just connect with the guys is top notch,” he said.
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Bossman is faced with a young team after graduating nine seniors this past season. He said his strategy with a younger group is going to be centered around conditioning and effort.
According to Bossman, it’s easy to over-condition younger players, so it’s going to be about working smarter in an effort to not burn anyone out.
“We play in an incredibly difficult conference,” he said. “We can’t control that, but one thing we can control is our effort. I believe if you put in the work, eventually that ball is going to bounce your way. Hopefully it can be on the night of a semifinal or final game.”
Bossman’s ultimate goal is to advance past the district semifinal round, but he understands it could be more of a rebuilding year. However, he believes the Eagles will still be competitive in the district.
Tryouts will display a quick and early change. Bossman pushed the dates up an extra week to avoid interference with club seasons.
He also wants to change the way his team impacts the community by giving back more.
“Kids now a days are so geared toward school, sports and social stuff,” Bossman said. “I think that giving back to the community is something these kids need to do more of.”