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Assistant coaches selected for CCC soccer team

July 28, 2018

New Central Community College-Columbus men’s soccer coach Hawken Hanna has already found his assistant coaches.

Luis Pulido, who is also the head coach of the Columbus High School girls soccer team, is coming back to help coach at CCC-Columbus.

Pulido graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education from York College in 2014, and also brings with him an extensive resume in the sport. In 2017, Pulido created Mind’s Eye Soccer Academy, which provides players of all levels an opportunity to be given soccer instruction at an affordable price. He currently holds a USSF D License, Goalkeeping Level II Certificate, and a diploma from the NSCAA.

Hanna had nothing but positive things to say about Pulido.

“He was the assistant coach here last year, and people recommended (we) have him back,” Hanna said. “Luis works with goalkeepers, goalkeeper coaching is his strength, and we’ll be lucky to have someone who knows a lot about goalkeeping.”

The other assistant coach on the team will be Jamie Bennett, who is coming back to the CCC soccer program after a few years away. Bennett has been involved in the soccer community of Columbus for years. He once served as the vice president and tournament director of the Columbus Soccer Club.

Bennett, who served as an assistant coach for the team a few years ago, said he felt it was the right time to return.

“Well, the opportunity was right after (a former head coach) left and the new coach came in, it just wasn’t the right opportunity. But when Hawken came in, it seemed like a great fit,” Bennett said. “We share the same philosophy and ideas on a lot of things when it comes to soccer.”

Hanna said he heard about Bennett through the community, adding he thought his assistant would be a good fit after meeting with him.

“I got some recommendations from the local community, and then when I sat down with him, I liked what he said and where he thought the program could go,” Hanna said.

Hanna mentioned part of the reason he chose Bennett was his positivity regarding soccer in the Columbus community.

“He’s just really positive about the strengths and growth of soccer in Nebraska, and specifically Columbus,” Hanna said. “He also has a lot of connections in the area. He had good things to say about the support we’ll receive here and the talent that comes from here.”

Bennett did seem really positive about the upcoming season, despite the struggles that CCC had last year in soccer.

“Well, we want to get to the regional finals,” Bennett said. “I know last year they struggled and only won three games. We want to install a really good work rate. We have a lot of talent coming back and an infusion of freshman.”

Hanna specifically highlighted Bennett’s defensive approach when it comes to the sport.

“He has a good defensive mindset when it comes to looking at the game, he knows how to coach defense which will be a big help this year,” Hannah said.

Bennett said he’s looking forward to the upcoming season and is eager about the opportunity.

“I’m just excited to be back up there and work with these young men,” Bennett said. “I’m definitely excited about it.”

CCC’s first game is on Aug 23 against Midland JV on the road.

Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at peter.huguenin@lee.net

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