Hussam Mohammed excited for opportunity to coach Free State soccer

photo by: Contributed photo

Hussam Mohammed will be the head coach for both boys and girls soccer at Free State High School.

Hussam Mohammed wasn’t sure what to expect when he applied to be the new Free State soccer coach.

Mohammed, who has been playing the sport for as long as he can remember, has been coaching since graduating from Wichita State with a mechanical engineering degree three years ago. He’s served on the Sporting Kaw Valley staff and was turned down for an assistant position at Lawrence High last year.

But Mohammed was determined to be a soccer coach, so he threw his name in the mix when the FSHS position opened up. One week after a successful interview, Mohammed was offered the position to be the head coach for both boys and girls soccer for the Firebirds.

“I’m so happy to get the job, I didn’t expect to get it that quick,” Mohammed said. “I can’t wait to see where we can go with the team.”

Mohammed, 27, hosted his first optional kick-around session Tuesday night at the Firebirds Soccer Field. Free State will have nine more kick-around sessions this summer, which is open to boys and girls at the high school level.

For Mohammed, it is an opportunity to start meeting his players to see what he has to work with.

“What I’m focusing on is to get to know my players and their ability,” Mohammed said. “Once I have that figured out, I will see what we need to work on as a team.”

Mohammed and has been playing soccer since he was 4-years-old. He played for his elementary, middle school and high school teams in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He eventually played right winger at both Emporia State and Wichita State.

The transition to coaching was a seamless one. He coached U8 to middle school-aged kids — both boys and girls — for Sporting Kaw Valley. Mohammed’s mindset remains the same, and his teams tend to dictate the tempo. Under Mohammed, the Firebirds should be aggressive on both ends of the field.

“My philosophy as a coach is to attack,” Mohammed said. “The best way to win a game is by attacking. The best way to defend is also attacking. I’m a firm believer in that.”

Both Free State soccer teams finished below .500 and were eliminated during regionals this past year under Kelly Barah.

In the fall, Free State’s boys soccer team posted a 7-9-1 overall record. FSHS was ultimately eliminated by Derby on penalty kicks. In the spring, the girls soccer team posted a 3-13-2 clip and was eliminated by Washburn Rural in the postseason.

Mohammed hopes to improve both records, though he knows that will take a collective effort.

“As a coach, you are a member of the team,” Mohammed said. “If we win something, it is not just the coach. It is the assistant coaches and it is the players. I’m going to lead the team, but I’m also a member of the team.”

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