SULLIVAN TWP. — Just two months ago, Andrew Bertram was graduating from Heidelberg University.
In a little over a week, the 24-year-old will be leading Black River’s girls soccer team through its first official days of practice.
Bertram becomes the school’s first official coach, taking over a Pirates squad that has spent the last four seasons as a club sport.
“It’s very exciting,” he said. “It will be a learning experience for me and the girls. I’ve always been interesting in coaching and I found out from a family friend that the job was open. It’s a fairly new program, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to get my coaching career started.”
The Pirates, who will be entering their third year as a member of the Patriot Athletic Conference, are coming off a 5-10, 3-7 season and have made strides each year since the club’s inception.
Bertram, a 2008 Cloverleaf graduate, was a four-year defender for the Colts before heading to Heidelberg, where he played outside midfield.
Bertram was a member of the school’s first Ohio Athletic Conference regular-season title in 2010 and spent this past year as a student assistant coach while finishing his degree in sports management.
“It opened my eyes to what it takes to coach, rather than thinking like a player,” he said. “It was fun.”
The Pirates have 15 girls on the preliminary roster and Bertram is hoping to add a couple more before the first official practice on Aug. 1.
“It’s a challenge to keep the practices interesting for the ones with the experience and the ones that don’t have as much,” he said. “That’s how it will be this year, because I’m new. If we work on it, though, it will work out in the end.”
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