Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

August 26, 2013

New Challenges in 2013 Boys Soccer Season

Torgrimson, Kemper, Hammond share bond

ASHLAND — Far from northeastern Kentucky, as young boys they began to develop a passion for soccer — one in Peru, another in Germany, the third in Missouri.

Now, Marty Torgrimson, Billy Kemper and Max Hammond are new head coaches of respected boys high school programs at Russell, East Carter and Rowan County, respectively.

Torgrimson, 53, needs no introduction to anyone remotely familiar with soccer in the area.

He’s one of the remaining diehards from a group that has enjoyed competing in pick-up games in Central Park for more than 30 years.

“I’ve played soccer my entire life. As soon as I learned how to walk I was kicking the ball,” said Torgrimson, who was born in Peru, went to boarding school in Ecuador and became a four-year college starter at Mt. Vernon Nazarene in Ohio.

He also has coaching experience at the high school and college levels as well as being active officiating the sport since the early 1990s, including working in several state tournaments.

Torgrimson officiated the girls state final in 2005, when a daughter of former Cincinnati Bengals receiver Cris Collinsworth played for Highlands.

“Since I was the head ref, I got a game ball,” Torgrimson said. “I’m one of few people to have a professional football player signing a soccer ball.”

At the same time, Torgrimson likes staying in the background.

He said Russell’s Joe Grizzle approached him two or three years ago about helping coach the boys team, with the idea being that Torgrimson might succeed him before long. Grizzle was also coaching the girls squad at the time and did both for a couple of more years before stepping down as boys coach after last season.

Torgrimson already had a connection to the school — a son and daughter having played soccer there.

“Russell does have a solid tradition around here of being one of the better teams,” Torgrimson said. “I’m a little apprehensive with that. I do want to keep that history going.”

As returning Red Devil players can test, Torgrimson believes strongly in physical conditioning. That means plenty of running.

“For some of the freshmen that I had not been around, it was something of a shock,” the coach said.

Kemper, meanwhile, is implementing his own system at East Carter after being hired as the successor to Ben Fritz, now an assistant principal at ECHS.

“I’ve got a tactical plan of how we’re going to play,” Kemper said. “I’m a defensive-minded coach. Defense wins championships. We’ve got to stay compact. The main thing is getting back in transition, staying tight.”

The 41-year-old learned that style in Germany, where he was born and raised.

In all, Kemper spent 25 years competing in club soccer. He played 11 years professionally there “with some big clubs.”

 Kemper moved into the area seven years ago and has been coaching Eastern Kentucky Futbol Club age-group teams for three years.

“All the kids, everybody knows me from EKFC,” he said.

High school soccer is a new challenge for Kemper and he’s happy with how East Carter players are adapting to his way of thinking.     

“They really believe in me and themselves,” Kemper said. “They believe in our philosophy.”

That, of course, begins with defense.

“If we get in a tactical position, it will be hard to score against us,” he said. “It might not be attractive to fans, but it works. We’re going to take the fun from a lot of these teams we play.”

Torgrimson and Kemper have played soccer together many times.

“I highly respect and admire him,” Torgrimson said. “We have a lot of similar philosophies on how it should be played. You’ve got to build from the defense and move forward. We see things similar there.”

East Carter opens its season tonight at Greenup County — last year’s surprise 16th Region champion.

“It’s going to take us five, six, seven games to get comfortable with everything,” Kemper said.

At Rowan County, Hammond takes over for Alan Evans and is eager to help add to the Vikings’ rich history.

“(Evans) just always ran a top-notch program,” Hammond said. “He’s well respected. He brought it to every game, and that’s something I hope to continue.”

Hammond, 27, makes the transition after starting the West Carter boys team and building it to a 12-8-2 record in the third varsity season. The Comets won the 16th Region All “A” title.

 “It was hard to leave, but things have gone really well here,” Hammond said of the transition.

Rowan County graduated a large group of seniors, including several starers from a 14-6-4 team. But Hammond said returning players are well-conditioned after training in the weight room since February. A soccer-specific physical education class at the school is another plus.

“These kids do a very good job moving the ball around,” Hammond said. “Several can play midfield. There’s decent speed and quickness.”

Hammond’s own soccer-playing days trace back to when he was a 4-year-old in Missouri. He ended up moving to Grayson and played both high school soccer and football at East Carter.

Then came a college football career at Wyoming and Morehead State as a kicker and punter.

Now he’s back in Morehead, optimistic about his new team.

“I definitely think we can contend for the region this year,” Hammond said. “It doesn’t matter so much about the regular season, it’s the postseason. Greenup County is a perfect example of that.”

It’s a new situation for Musketeers coach Andy Zabrieszack.

“We lost 11 seniors, a few soccer players and a ton of athletes,” he said. “However, with such a great season last year we find our numbers have increased. Greenup County soccer has had a taste of the big show and we want to go back.”

Boyd County, last year’s region runner-up, will be trying to make another big push behind All-Area Player of the Year Jonah Black.

Ashland is primed to make a run at the top of the region with 17 returners, including several proven players.

“We should be a strong team,” Tomcats coach Kenny Wheeler said. “We have experience, speed, size and quickness. We need to find our chemistry. If we do, we will be a very dangerous team.”     

Overall, the area has five new boys head coaches.

Jerry Campbell has taken Hammonds’ place at West Carter, while Mark Nordin moved up at Paintsville after five years as assistant coach with the 15th Regiuon team.

ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at rstanley@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2671.



Text Only
Local Sports
  • ZACK KLEMME: Punchless Reds wasting solid pitching

    The last nine days have been an exercise in understanding just how slim the margin for error is for baseball teams — even good ones — that can’t score.

    July 27, 2014

  • 0726fbPrac0079.jpg Practice rolls on as kickoff approaches in less than 5 weeks

    As high school football teams strap on helmets and prepare for Friday nights next month, the theme of the first couple of weeks of practice for most is simple.
    You gotta work. Hard.
    And if you don’t, it’ll be exposed come Aug. 22.
    “Everybody looks good in helmets,” Ashland coach Tony Love said with a grin. “We’re all undefeated. There’s a lot of work to get done.
    “Our coaches and kids, we all know it, and that’s why they’re here and we’re here, and we’re gonna push hard every day.”

    July 25, 2014 4 Photos

  • kenzie-breaststroke.jpg Pennington makes push for Nationals

    Swimmer Kenzie Pennington had one last chance to make the cut for this year’s YMCA Long Course National Championships.
    The 15-year-old from Ashland didn’t disappoint.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Salyers shoots 75 for title at Lakeside

    Baylee Salyers of Flatwoods shot a 3-over par 75 at Lakeside Golf Course on Thursday to win the Girls Open division of the Walmart Kentucky PGA Junior Tour event.

    July 24, 2014

  • 0724putnamwebshot.JPG Laying the foundation Workers are finishing the foundation for the locker room on the home side of Putnam Stadium on Tuesday. The Ashland Tomcats open the football season on Aug. 22 against Newport Catholic.

    July 23, 2014

  • Genuine throwback

    Todd Eastham is disproving the old cliche, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

    July 23, 2014

  • MARK MAYNARD: Looking for those who inspire

    Inspirtation, they say, comes from within. It is defined as an inspiring or animating action or influence.

    July 22, 2014

  • 0722KYPGA_152.jpg Jones tops Gillum in playoff at Eagle Trace

    Ashland senior golfer Logan Jones didn't shoot his average Monday.
    He didn't mind.
    His three-over par 75 and one-hole playoff win over Elliott County junior Ryan Gillum gave him the Boys Open division title in the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour stop at Morehead State University's Eagle Trace Golf Course.

    July 21, 2014 6 Photos

  • 102213_329a.jpg Raceland tabs Clark as new girls basketball coach

    Jason Clark has a reputation of being — to use his word — “passionate” on the Raceland volleyball sideline.
    He plans to bring that same approach as the Lady Rams’ new basketball coach.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0305region2_389.jpg Pass the Mayo: East sophomore PG, Lady Raiders preparing for winter run

    East Carter sophomore point guard Kristen Mayo has played basketball for as long as she can remember.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos